Administration for Community Living FY 2016 Budget Request to Congress
Monday, February 15, 2015
On February 2, 2015, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) submitted its $2.10 billion budget authority request for Fiscal Year 2016 to Congress. ACL was formed in April 2012 to help people with disabilities and older adults live independently and participate fully in their communities. This budget reflects ACL’s rapid growth: over the past three years, recognizing the synergies resulting from a cross-aging-and-disability focus on community living, Congress transferred additional programs to ACL including the Paralysis Resource Center and the Limb Loss Resource Center; the State Health Insurance Assistance Program; and most recently the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research; the Independent Living Program; and the Assistive Technology Programs from the Department of Education.
Amidst these changes, ACL’s FY 2016 focus remains on sustaining the core ACL programs that assist older adults and people of all ages with disabilities to remain independent and in their communities. To this end, ACL is requesting an additional $105.9 million to support investments in home and community based services (including nutrition programs) for older adults, Independent Living programs for those with disabilities, and programs that support caregivers and families.
ACL is requesting $43.5 million in new funding to strengthen home and community-based services (HCBS), including $38.5 million for programs for older adults and $5 million for Centers for Independent Living (CILs). In combination with state and local funding, these increases will provide over 28 million hours of support to older adults needing assistance with daily activities; more than 23 million rides for critical activities such as visiting the doctor, pharmacy, or grocery stores; and nearly 8 million hours of adult day services. CILs provide people with disabilities a variety of resources, including information and referral, independent living skills training, peer counseling, transition assistance, and individual and systems advocacy, and this additional funding will enable CILs to begin to address the new requirements added by the Workforce Investment and Opportunities Act (WIOA).
ACL is also requesting an additional $42.8 million for its senior nutrition programs. Nutrition services are a vital support for older Americans nationwide who desire to remain independent and living in their own homes for as long as possible. This increase in funding, leveraged further by state and local funding, will give states and tribes the resources to provide more than 213 million meals to over 2 million older adults nationwide, helping to halt recent declines in services.
ACL also proposes to devote $20 million to modernize its older adult nutrition programs. These funds would support competitive grants to translate research into evidence-based models states can use to implement more efficient and effective home-delivered and congregate nutrition programs.
ACL plans to invest an additional $5.8 million in State and Native American caregiver support for older adults. Increased support for caregivers is critical, as it is often caregivers’ availability that makes the difference in an older adult remaining in his or her home.
ACL’s budget request also emphasizes modernizing and strengthening programs by building and more effectively making use of evidence-based practices. Throughout ACL’s request are proposals to expand and promote the adoption of proven models and best practices across the aging and disability networks in order to address the evolving needs of the populations ACL serves and target resources to where they are most needed.
ACL’s new $15 million Family Support Initiative would encourage the use of community assets to help families who are supporting a family member with a disability or an older adult reduce stress, improve emotional well-being, develop support skills, and plan for the future.
Additionally, the budget would increase funding for the Lifespan Respite program by $2.6 million, to $5 million, funding grants to improve the quality and access to respite for family caregivers of individuals with support needs.
ACL is also requesting an increase of $21 million to continue its development of a national Adult Protective Services data system, including grants to states to test and develop infrastructure, and to provide funding for key research. People with disabilities are four to ten times more likely to be abused than peers without disabilities, and data suggest that more 5 million, or 10 percent of elders are abused, neglected, and/or exploited annually and that this level is rising. ACL’s commitment to combatting abuse and exploitation is long-standing, and financial investment in this effort is critical.
ACL’s budget requests an additional $13.9 million, for a total of $20 million, for the Aging and Disability Resource Center program, which has a proven track record of success in supporting state efforts to develop more efficient, cost-effective, and consumer-responsive systems of access to long-term services and supports. The budget also includes $1 million for the National Clearinghouse for Long-Term Care Information, which increases awareness of and resources focused on the need to plan ahead for consumers long-term care needs.
The Budget provides $5 million in new funding as part of a broader HHS effort to help young Americans with disabilities in the midst of difficult transitions and provides them with the tools and supports they need to transition successfully from adolescence and the supportive environment of school into adulthood. In addition, $1.588 million in new funding is requested to expand the efforts of ACL’s Projects of National Significance and University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities.
The request also includes an additional $4 million to bring the budget for the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research to $108 million. NIDILRR generates knowledge and promotes its use to assist people with disabilities in performing activities of their choice in the community, while also seeking to expand society’s capacity to provide full opportunities and accommodations for people with disabilities.
Finally, the request also includes an increase of +$2.4 million for Program Administration, including $1.4 million to ensure that ACL can effectively support the three programs transferred from the Department of Education by WIOA without compromising support for other ACL programs. This increase is needed to bring direct and administrative support staff for WIOA programs to 53 FTE and to provide the full level of administrative support these three new programs require. The remaining funding will address costs related to ACL’s central office relocation and pay raise needs.
The three years since ACL’s creation have been a time of growth, learning, and a rededication of our efforts to ensure that all Americans, regardless of age or disability, can live and thrive in their communities. This budget will provide ACL with the resources needed to continue its valuable work on behalf of our populations and position us to meet new challenges with ever-greater success.