Yesterday, President Obama signed the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act (OAA). The reauthorization of the OAA was one of the top federal priorities for Retired Public Employees Council of Washington because of the critical services it provides to seniors. It funds services that keep older adults healthy and independent, like meals, senior centers, caregiver support, transportation, benefits enrollment, and many others through 2018.
While it is unfortunate that it took four years after the OAA expired for Congress to pass its reauthorization, we hope that the bipartisan passage signals a renewed commitment to older Americans who have seen decrease in retirement security with less access to pensions, increases in the cost of prescription medications, and cuts in programs to assist low income seniors.
The overarching goals of the legislation are to address elder abuse; provide evidence-based care; and better coordinate services at the federal, state, and local levels. Senator Patty Murry, one of the sponsors of the legislation and released the following statement.
“In America, every senior should be able to retire with the health, dignity, and independence they’ve earned through a lifetime of hard work,” said Senator Patty Murray. “With the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act, we reaffirm our obligation to our seniors by enforcing protections to prevent elder abuse and by expanding crucial programs such as the National Family Caregiver Support Program and the Senior Community Service and Employment Program. This bill also sustains investments in vital programs like Meals on Wheels, which supports food security for seniors. Today’s reauthorization is a significant step forward, and I will continue working with all of my colleagues in Congress to live up to our responsibility to our seniors.”