President Biden’s 2022 budget request would boost funding for aging and disability programs by 33%.
The proposal would preserve and extend caregiver support, nutrition assistance, and home and community-based services.
Congress will debate the proposed budget over the summer and into the fall.
The Biden Administration has released its full budget request for fiscal year 2022 with a historic 33% increase (nearly $751 million) for the Administration for Community Living.
The budget proposal preserves, extends, and boosts several programs that older adults have depended on during the pandemic—including nutrition, caregiver support, and home and community-based services.
The budget reflects the administration’s priorities outlined in the American Rescue Plan that passed Congress earlier this year, as well as the president’s American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan, which are still being debated by lawmakers. It also adds details to the administration’s discretionary budget request released in April.
Right now, the budget is only a proposal for funding. Congress must pass legislation to make the funding a reality. Annual discretionary funding is provided through 12 appropriations bills or through a continuing resolution if the bills are not enacted before the new fiscal year begins on October 1.
Here are some highlights of what is proposed in Biden’s budget.
The budget invests in core services, nutrition, and caregiving programs under the Older Americans Act that have been essential to ensuring older adults had food and support over the past year. The most significant proposed increases include:
- $390 million for Nutrition Programs
- $158 million for Supportive Services
- $61 million for the National Family Caregiver Support Program
- $35 million for Native American Nutrition and Supportive Services
- $11 million for the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program
- $7 million for the Lifespan Respite Program
The request also includes extra funding to support new approaches to services, including the use of technology. These increases include:
- $7 million for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program
- $3 million for OAA Aging Network Support
- $3 million for the Medicare State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP)
- $1.5 million for OAA Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
- $1 million for Elder Justice (in addition to the $188 million in supplemental funding already provided)
Several programs that were targeted for elimination or cuts under the previous administration are preserved at current funding levels, including:
- OAA Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP)
- OAA Falls Prevention grants
- OAA Chronic Disease Self-Management Education grants
- Centers for Disease Control elder falls activities
See more details on Aging Services funding in our updated Aging Program Funding Table.
The budget proposal reiterates the president’s pledge to invest $400 billion in Medicaid home and community-based services to support low-income older adults and people with disabilities and create new and better jobs for home care workers.
In states that have not taken advantage of Affordable Care Act (ACA) opportunities to expand Medicaid, the budget proposes providing premium-free, Medicaid-like coverage through a federal public option, along with incentives for states to maintain their existing expansions.
The budget proposes to lower the cost of prescription drugs by letting Medicare negotiate payment for certain high-cost drugs and requiring manufacturers to pay rebates when drug prices rise faster than inflation. The proposal states that these reforms could produce savings, which could help pay for coverage expansions, including “improving access to dental, hearing, and vision coverage in Medicare.” However, there are no additional details on this idea.
In addition, the budget states that reforms to reduce Medicare overpayments and strengthen value-based care could extend the life of the Medicare Trust Fund, lower beneficiary premiums and reduce federal costs, and provides general support for allowing individuals aged 60 and older to enroll in Medicare. However, there are no additional details on these ideas.
ACA Health Insurance
The budget would extend the expanded ACA health insurance tax credits included in the American Rescue Plan, which would lower premiums for 9 million current enrollees by an average of $50 per person per month and enable an estimated 4 million uninsured people to gain coverage.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
The proposal calls for continuing the 15% increase in SNAP benefits currently available through September that was included in the American Rescue Plan. The administration will also continue work to expand benefits through improved calculations of needs, and help more beneficiaries purchase food online by encouraging additional retailers to participates in the SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
The budget includes a $75 million increase for the Social Security Administration to expand outreach to the most vulnerable individuals eligible for SSI benefits.
The House is expected to start moving its appropriations bills through committee in June and through the full House in July. The Senate may begin committee deliberations in July, but the work is expected to continue into September. It is expected that Congress will need to pass a continuing resolution to fund the first few weeks or months of FY22.
In addition to appropriations, Congress is expected to advance one or more large legislative packages to support economic recovery and assist struggling Americans. Individual bills have been introduced on issues like strengthening SNAP, expanding employment and training, supporting caregivers, increasing home and community-based services, improving Medicare low-income assistance programs, and reducing prescription drug prices. These are likely to be folded into larger packages. Debate on these proposals could begin in July, but it will take several months for Congress to reach agreement.
You can make your voice heard by emailing your members of Congress through our Action Center. There are alerts focused on age discrimination, older worker job training and placement, Medicare, falls prevention, and healthy aging.