1996 OPEN FORUM Abstracts
Community Services: What They Are and How to Access Them
Marta L. Tingdale, BCA, RRT Wednesday, November 6, 1996
Agencies that provide services to the older persons can be divided into several Categories: Federal, State, County, City, and even International. Forty-two states and Puerto Rico have Area Agencies on Aging designated by their State Agencies to administer the Older Americans Act funds. All of these agencies try to provide for the needs of the older person and their desires. They may not always meet those needs and desires. Eldercare is costly and that cost is continuing to grow as the "baby boomers" age. A large component of the cost of caring for older citizens is provided through government monies, Federal and State.
Distribution of Federal and State money is directed by legislation. During the 1995 budget approval process, the House of Representatives approved the Labor-Health and Human Services Education Appropriation Act (H.R, 2127), which reduced funding for the Older Americans Act by $100 million. This year already several legislative items have impacted the older citizen. On February 1, H.R. 2924 was passed that ensured the timely payment of Social Security Benefits in March 1996. March 29th, H.R. 3136 was signed into law raising the amount of money a person receiving Social Security could earn in a year before they would suffer a decrease in benefits. H.R. 2202 the "Immigration Control and Financial Responsibility Act of 1996" was passed in the Senate. This impacts who will receive Social Security benefits in relationship to their immigration status.
As the elder population increases, the money it takes to care for them increases. We will see more and more legislation that effects who will receive benefits, at what point in their life cycle will they receive these benefits, and to what extent will these benefits satisfy the basic necessities of life.