The Older Americans Act Reauthorization is Important for Long-Term Care Consumers

The Older Americans Act (OAA), enacted in 1965, was designed to provide services and funding in every state to support the dignity and welfare of seniors age 60 or older. These services focus on improving the lives of older people in areas of income, housing, health, employment, retirement and community services.

The OAA is required to be reauthorized every four years in order to provide Congress the opportunity to update and improve upon the law’s vital programs and services. However, reauthorization expired in 2011, as Congress failed to act on this requirement, and with every day that passes the future of critical programs that serve seniors is more uncertain.

On a positive note, reauthorization is under way. Recently, bipartisan legislation has passed in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to reauthorize the Older Americans Act in the 113th Congress. This legislation now awaits further consideration by the full Senate. If passed, the reauthorization of the OAA would benefit long-term care consumers greatly by:

  • encouraging the development of a tool to assist consumers in choosing home and community-based services, with a particular focus on how providers protect the health, safety, welfare and rights of consumers.
  • funding a range of home and community-based services for older Americans, including assisted transport services, home-delivered nutrition services, homemaker and chore services and transportation.
  • helping to educate older Americans on their long-term care options and benefits, by authorizing benefits counseling programs in each state that assist older individuals, their family members and/or caregivers in applying for benefits and services, understanding their rights, exercising choice and maintaining their rights in solving disputes.
  • protecting elderly long-term care consumers, by requiring each state to have a long-term care ombudsman program. Ombudsmen work to resolve problems of individual residents and to bring about improvement in resident care and quality of life at the facility, local, state and national levels.
  • combating elder abuse, by providing states with grants to conduct elder justice activities, administering elder abuse prevention programs, and funding the National Center on Elder Abuse.
  • supporting family caregivers, by funding for the National Family Caregiver Support Program. This program assists individuals that serve as unpaid caregivers for persons sixty or older and also grandparents that serve as primary caregivers for grandchildren or other related children living in the grandparent’s home.

With 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 every day, the Older American’s Act is needed now more than ever. According to Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, “Seniors deserve high quality care that keeps them healthy and safe. This important bill contains provisions to protect seniors and reduce the burdens on families who are caring for their loved ones.”

At the Fairfax and Fredericksburg Elder Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C., we are excited that the OAA is in the process of being reauthorized and about all of the new and renewed provisions to help seniors with various aspects of long-term care planning. Long-term care planning should be an important part of your retirement planning. If you have a loved one who is nearing the need for long-term care or already receiving long-term care or if you have not done Long-Term Care Planning, Estate Planning or Incapacity Planning (or had your Planning documents reviewed in the past several years), please call The Fairfax and Fredericksburg Long-Term Care Planning Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C. at 703-691-1888 to make an appointment for a no-cost consultation.

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About Evan H Farr, CELA, CAP

Evan H. Farr is a 4-time Best-Selling author in the field of Elder Law and Estate Planning. In addition to being one of approximately 500 Certified Elder Law Attorneys in the Country, Evan is one of approximately 100 members of the Council of Advanced Practitioners of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is a Charter Member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners.

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