WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Trump has signed the Supporting Older Americans Act of 2020 into law, which prioritizes the delivery of critical services for Kentucky’s senior citizens. Congressman James Comer was a lead Republican sponsor of the legislation, which reauthorizes the Older Americans Act (OAA).
“Our senior citizens have spent a lifetime supporting our communities and raising future generations, including my own. That is why it is so important to me that we care for them through the services provided in this bill, including the Meals on Wheels program and caregiver support services. As a lead Republican sponsor of this initiative, I was proud to help lead this effort to benefit our nation’s seniors,” Congressman Comer said.
H.R. 4334 promotes seniors’ ability to live independently in their homes by supplying Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) more resources to effectively serve our elderly population and improve their quality of life. The measure reauthorizes comprehensive programs to deliver meals at senior centers, schools and churches. It also includes care to prevent abuse and exploitation of seniors, provides family caregiver support systems, and offers community service employment opportunities.
The bill also eliminates the arbitrary cap on the percentage of funding that Kentucky’s Area Development Districts – which serve as the Area Agencies on Aging for the Commonwealth - can use to provide services to older caregivers raising younger relatives. These provisions will be especially beneficial to Kentucky, where more children are being raised by non-parental relatives than any other state.
Eric Sexton, Executive Director of the Barren River Area Development District, praised Congressman Comer’s efforts to support senior citizens. “Congressman Comer has been instrumental in supporting Kentucky seniors through the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act. The OAA provides critical funding to Kentucky's Area Development Districts for the administration of essential services to our aging population. Congressman Comer's leadership in this reauthorization speaks highly of his support for Kentucky seniors as well as his understanding of the role ADDs play in program delivery."
Charlotte Whitaker, AARP Kentucky Volunteer State President, highlighted the crucial services provided by the Older Americans Act that will be especially helpful as America continues to battle the coronavirus. “I’ve seen the faces of Kentuckians who need the services delivered by the Older Americans Act. AARP is proud to work with Congressman James Comer to ensure that the voices of aging Kentuckians and all older Americans are heard. Many older Americans are struggling, some forced to choose between buying food and paying for prescription drugs. OAA pulls together critical services they need—like home-delivered meals—helping millions of older Americans live as independently as possible, which is especially important for meeting the growing food needs of older adults during the coronavirus pandemic.”
The legislation was drafted and considered by the Education and Labor Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services, which Congressman Comer serves as the lead Republican on.
“We are continuing to closely monitor the coronavirus outbreak, which sadly puts the health of our senior citizens especially at risk. But with passage of the Older Americans Act, we are demonstrating that our commitment to Kentucky and America’s seniors is unwavering,” Comer added.