2019 Home and Community-Based Services Funding Advances

Legislation | August 28, 2018 | by Barbara Gay

Fiscal 2019 funding for home and community-based services moved closer to enactment on August 23, as the Senate passed H.R. 6157, a combined spending bill covering the Defense Department and the Departments of Labor and of Health and Human Services.

 

The Labor/Health and Human Services measure funds services provided under the Older Americans Act, healthcare workforce programs, low-income home energy assistance, Community Services Block Grants, Lifespan Respite Care, and Social Services Block Grants, all of which are important to older people living in community settings.

The Senate spending measure provides some increases in funding for these aging services programs. Aging and disability services programs under the Administration on Community Living would receive a total increase of $6 million over this year’s funding. Low-income home energy assistance would gain $50 million. Social Services Block Grants, which many states use to provide home and community-based services, would be level funded at $1.7 billion.

While the House Appropriations Committee has approved a fiscal 2019 Labor-Health and Human Services spending bill, the House passed its version of the Defense Department bill separately and still has not taken up the Labor-Health and Human Services measure. The House committee also drew up its appropriations bill using a lower total allotment of funding than the Senate did. These differences remain to be resolved before a 2019 Labor-Health and Human Services spending bill can be signed into law.

The House come back into session after Labor Day. The new fiscal year will begin less than a month later, on October 1.