In a series of posts, Myers and Stauffer will highlight parts of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021[1]  that can have tremendous impact on delivery and financing of services by state health and human services programs.

As part of our series on the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021, this next installment focuses on the additional grant funding provided to the Older American’s Act (OAA). The ARPA provided an additional $1.4 billion to the grant that is available until expended. Like the OAA, this funding is segmented into different acts within the grant tasked with provided specific areas of support:

  • Title III which primarily supports nutrition and supportive services programs:
    • $750 million for part C for congregate and home delivered meals.
    • $460 million for part B for supportive services such as case management, senior center services, in-home services, transportation, and information and referral.
    • $44 million for part D for disease prevention services.
    • $145 million for part E for family caregiver support services.
  • $25 million to support title VI for supportive and nutrition services to older Native Americans.
  • $10 million to support long term care ombudsmen program under title VII.

For many states the OAA funding provides a key safety net system for seniors by supporting their nutritional needs as well as other crucial supportive services such as home modifications to prevent falls, disease prevention and management, and caregiver support. Seniors in particular were vulnerable during the recent pandemic which created an increased need for home delivered meals in lieu of congregate meals in senior centers as well as services that prevent social isolation. Additional funding provided to these programs can help to cover known gaps in the existing system and provide opportunities for innovation. 

Unlike other funding in the ARPA that came as a lump sum, the OAA supplemental funding was allocated by title and part in line with how the grant currently operates. The OAA funding is available until expended, which gives states a bit more time to think about how to target this additional funding. States whose nutrition programs have been entirely reliant on OAA grants may be historically underfunded and wish to use the funding to provide supplemental grants to existing programs without making changes. Other programs may wish to consider options such as adding an additional meal for persons who are older or whose health is more fragile, or perhaps supplementing access to additional fresh fruits or vegetables.

States may also use this funding to implement program initiatives that had been on hold due to lack of funding, such as enhancing support for shared living by developing programs through senior centers that help people to find roommates as part of an overall strategy to reduce social isolation. Caregiver support services could include increased access to day programs or respite or counseling services. States may wish to invest in a caregiver support program that teaches evidenced-based behavioral strategies to caregivers who are supporting a family member with dementia. There are many potential ideas to consider and the additional funding from the ARPA provides an opportunity for states to consider a variety of options to provide more support to seniors and the caregivers and organizations who support them.

If you would like more information about the ARPA or about how Myers and Stauffer can help to implement and leverage grant, Medicaid or other health and human services programs please contact us.

Contact the Contributors:

Catherine Sreckovich
Julia Kotchevar, MA
Health Care Senior Manager