LeadingAge Urges Increased Funding for HCBS Programs in 2019

Legislation | July 10, 2018 | by Barbara Gay

On July 11, the full House Appropriations Committee will begin work on the fiscal 2019 appropriations bill for the Departments of Labor and of Health and Human Services (HHS). This measure includes funding for home- and community-based services programs under the Older Americans Act, as well as for Social Services Block Grants, Low-Income Home Energy Assistance, and other programs that assist elders in the community.

The House Labor/HHS Appropriations Subcommittee drafted the fiscal 2019 bill with an allocation allowing for no increases in total spending on the programs within the subcommittee's jurisdiction over the levels provided for 2018. 

LeadingAge joined other members of the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations in a letter to appropriators pointing out the importance of Older Americans Act and other supportive services programs as a means of enabling thousands of elders to remain in home- and community-based settings. The letter urges Congress to increase funding for these programs in line with the rising population of people in need of services.

In the Senate, the Appropriations Committee already has approved a 2019 spending bill, S. 3158, which provides some increases in funding for 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. The next step for this measure is consideration on the Senate floor.