Survival Guide: Navigating COVID-19 Guidance for Those Administering Title IIIC Programs

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Last update:  August 20, 2020 (will be updated periodically)

During this pandemic, ACL has provided information, guidance, technical assistance, and program implementation tips to assist states in meeting the nutritional needs of the seniors. These resources have been published on the ACL COVID website and/or on the website of the National Resource Center on Nutrition and Aging. Please check ACL COVID website for additional up-to-date information.

This Survival Guide is intended to help by linking you to the resources that best address a variety of topics. These are primarily nutrition-focused, but also include OAA Title III- B and E information that helps the user of this guide navigate nutrition matters.

Comparing Authorities

The Older Americans Act (OAA) provides significant flexibility to allow states to meet the unique needs of their older citizens. In addition, states are operating under various disaster authorities that provide additional flexibilities. This COVID Funding and Flexibilities: At A Glance document created by NRCNA explains these authorities.

ACL Fiscal Guidance: Found on ACL’s COVID-19 Page



Topic Highlights

Frequently Asked Questions: Title III-B and Title III-E

April 23

Permissibility of paying for various items such as :

  • Grocery delivery
  • Tablets, computers, cell phones, internet, etc.

To help seniors connect with persons to combat social isolation. 


These purchases could support virtual nutrition education, evidence-based /health promotion programs to:

  • Promote health and well-being,
  • Access to online ordering systems, and/or
  • Enhance socialization via virtual congregate sites

Fiscal FAQ: Fiscal Major Disaster

April 8

When operating under an MDD

  • How funds can be “bucketed”

Match requirements

FISCAL FAQ- COVID-19 Emergency

April 8

When NOT operating under an MDD

  • Funding transfer authorities for C-1 and C-2
  • Match requirements

State and Area Plan Administration



Fiscal FAQ: Fiscal Major Disaster

April 8

How long FFCRA and CARES Act funds are available


Expediting Expenditures at the State Level in Responding to the COVID-19 Emergency

April 6

Statewide Procurement

OAA Disaster Relief Authority

March 16

Information on OAA authority


ACL Program Guidance:



Topic Highlights

FAQs – Groceries and OAA Programs

May 20

FAQs that address common questions about providing groceries through OAA programs.

  • A meal consists of prepared foods that meet the OAA's nutrition quality standards and are served together at one time either in a congregate setting or in a person’s home. Any food distribution that does not meet this definition, including food items for consumer preparation into meals, is defined as groceries.
  • Groceries and meal counts
  • Grocery pickup/delivery
  • “Other services” authorized under Title III-C

Returning to a “New Normal:” Guidelines for a phased approach to resuming senior nutrition program operations

May 5

Suggestions for operating at different levels of social distancing. Approaches can vary, or multiple methods can be used at the same time, in a flexible manner (mix/match) to meet local needs.

FAQs: Based on Call with ACL and SUA Directors on April 22, 2020

April 29

  • Emergency Feeding network
  • Michigan’s Q boxes
  • COVID-19 supplemental funds spending priorities

Additional FAQ: OAA Nutrition Program Implementation During COVID-19 Pandemic-April 17, 2020

April 17

  • Number of meals per person
  • Wellness checks, nutrition education and other requirements
  • Meal rates
  • SUA procurement and grant allocations

FAQs Based on Call with ACL and State Unit on Aging Directors on April 8, 2020


April 14

Personal protective equipment; equipment purchases for the nutrition program; major disaster flexibilities; purchasing freezers

FAQs Based on Call with ACL and State Unit on Aging Directors on April 1, 2020



April 7

Flexibilities in Cares Act, innovations from other states; serving people of any age;  emergency meals; DRIS/DGAs, 1/3 calorie intake; Major Disaster Declarations, and Time Frame Expenditures

Questions and Answer from the Meals on Wheels America Town Hall on March 17, 2020

March 31

Specific nutrition implementation questions

Nutrition Services Incentive Program for the Older Americans Act and States


March 30

Nutrition Services Incentive Program (NSIP)

The Older Americans Act link referenced in this document is now located here

FAQs: Call with State Directors hosted by ADvancing States on March 23, 2020

March 27

States increasing meals served; increasing food to seniors; eliminating waitlists; well-being checks with “drop shipped” meals

FAQ: Nutrition Services- Emergency Management


March 12

Program specific questions around implementation of practices, emergency meals, and how to administer the nutrition program during emergencies


ACL Reporting Requirements

Check this resource Location


Topic Highlights

OAA Title III Program Reporting Guidance Covid Response FAQs

June 4

State Program Report FAQs related to COVID-19 (including reporting on nutrition risk and other demographic information)

Title VI Reporting Guidance For Covid-19 Response Activities

May 4

OAA Title VI Reporting Requirements for Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Recovery Act (CARES) funding

OAA Title-III Program Reporting Guidance

May 4

Guidance regarding programmatic OAA Title III reporting on the FFCRA and CARES Act supplemental grant funds, as well as services provided by states exercising flexibility under a major disaster declaration (MDD)


National Resource Center on Nutrition and Aging (NRCNA)

The Nutrition Resource Center is funded by a Cooperative Agreement with ACL.

Sustainability Guides – for additional information about senior nutrition program sustainability (e.g., contracting, volunteerism, etc.) please go to the NRCNA website.

New Tip Sheets



Senior Nutrition Program Meal Services Elements for Sustainability: Guide to Establishing a Fee-for-Service Private Pay System

August 10

Outlines key considerations and resources for establishing a fee-for-service private pay senior meals program

Using Groceries And Other Nutritional Services To Meet The Needs Of Senior Nutrition Program Participants

August 10

Providing groceries within the Older Americans Act as an allowable nutrition service including limitations and reporting requirements

Senior Nutrition Program Meal Services Elements for Sustainability: Guide to Prioritizing Clients


August 12

Prioritizing systems and waiting lists in light of increased populations and need for services. Sample prioritizing policies are shared

Tele or Virtual Nutrition Education for Older Adults


August 18

A curated list of resources for implementing and sustaining virtual nutrition education

COVID-19 Implementation Tip Sheets: Tip sheets are developed to provide you with how to guides, best practices, etc. to help you through this crisis. All of the following are found on the NRCNA COVID-19 web page

Tip Sheet



Partnerships with Foodbanks and other United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Programs during Covid-19

July 22

Information on how to partner with the many USDA programs to address food insecurity, hunger, and malnutrition

Nutrition Services Incentive Program (NSIP) of the Older Americans Act and States

June 15

FAQ format. Answers questions about NSIP such as what is NSIP? How is it funded? What are the requirements? NSIP and emergency meals, etc.

Enhancing Socialization through Making Meaningful Volunteer Connections during COVID-19

June 3

Tips for nutrition services volunteers to help older adults feel supported and engaged.

COVID-19 Suggestions for Senior Nutrition Programs offering Home Delivered Meals

June 1

Program policies and practical tips during COVID-19

Options for Contracting Meals During COVID-19

May 14

Options for contracting meals during COVID-19

  • Suggestions for potential meal providers
  • Tools to utilize when reviewing and evaluating potential meal providers


1/3 Calorie Intake Requirements During COVID-19

April 28

  • Importance of adequate nutrition intake
  • Minimum calorie requirements per meal
  • Online calorie calculators and a Food Group calorie chart

Volunteer Engagement and Recruitment Resources

April 21

Resources for recruiting, screening, maintaining and training volunteers

Contracting Tips for Purchasing Meals/Food  

April 20

10 Tips for negotiating with vendors of meals/food

Guide to Working with Restaurants and Grocery Stores for Meals

April 17

Suggestions for working with restaurants and grocery stores as meal vendors

Nutrition Requirements: DRIs/DGAs under Supplement Funding Due to COVID-19 Emergency

April 3

  • Importance of adequate nutrition intake
  • Ways to provide and types of emergency meals
  • Boxes of groceries
  • Eating pattern that meets the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)/Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs)
  • Helpful websites on menu planning during COVID

COVID-19 Suggestions for Senior Nutrition Programs

March 30

  • Suggestions for maintaining congregate and home delivered programs,
  • Increasing meals/food delivery
  • Engaging older adults during social distancing

Frequently Asked Emergency Management Questions for Aging Services Professionals at the State and Local Levels

March 12

Serving meals during an emergency

Other Resources:

Additional resources are available on ACL’s COVID-19 Page. Below are a few highlighted resources that you might find helpful.





Topic Highlights

Teach SD

South Dakota State Extension

August 7

Resource guides for training volunteers on how to teach technology use to older adults:

  • Training Guide
  • Implementation Guide
  • Orientation Guide

Community-Based Organizations(CBOs) during Covid-19


July 17

Information and resources for CBOs including (Equipping CBOs to Return to Work, Supporting Clients and Family Caregiver Networks, Bringing Innovation to CBO Service and Improving the Integration of CBOs)

Contracting Toolkit

Aging and Disability Business Institute

June 9

Multi-part resource to help community-based organizations with health care contracting

Community and Faith Based Organizations



May 4

Information and resources for reopening community and faith based organizations

Shared and Congregate Housing


April 30

Information and resources for reopening shared and congregate housing

Reconstitution During the COVID-19 Pandemic



April 30

Planning considerations for organizations

FEMA Public Assistance Program Guidance: Eligibility of Purchasing and Distributing of Food by Gov’t and Non-Profits


April 21

Requirements for determining eligible work and costs for the purchase/distribution of food

ADvancing States -Social Isolation


April 9

Creative and thoughtful approaches to addressing social isolation/loneliness in older adults. Also includes alternative meal delivery options

NCOA Senior Centers Without Walls




Toolkit for those offering essential services. Provides ideas for promoting social connection to participants.

NCOA “Virtual Platform” Sheet




Overview of popular tools to connect with your audience when outreach and education are taking place at a distance.

NCOA – FAQ Covid-19 and Technology Resources




FAQs related to discounted tablets and electronic devices, learning basic functions of electronic devices, and resources for obtaining internet access.


Last modified on 04/21/2021

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