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Older Americans Act: 3 Options for Revising the Statutory Funding Formula

by Published On: Dec 11, 2012Updated On: Apr 14, 2014

In its latest report, Older Americans Act: Options to Better Target Need and Improve Equity, the Government Accountability Office states that the current statutory funding formula could better meet generally accepted equity standards in targeting greatest economic and social need for services by addressing differences among states with respect to the: 

  1. Needs of the elderly population.
  2. Cost of services to address those needs.
  3. Capacity of individual states to finance needed services.

The GAO offered 3 options for revising the current statutory funding formula using generally accepted equity standards to illustrate a range of possibilities: 

  1. The partial beneficiary equity option, distributes funds based on the state's population in need of services by measuring older adults with limitations in their ability to maintain an independent lifestyle.
  2. The full beneficiary equity option, accounts for differences in the costs of key inputs for providing services, such as wages, food, and office space.
  3. The taxpayer equity option, further accounts for state resource capacity.

The GAO also recommended that modifying the formula under a partial beneficiary option using activities of daily living (ADL) limitations as a need measure could result in a number of states seeing changes in their allotments. Various methods of transitioning states to use a partial beneficiary option were discussed.

In fiscal year 2010, these funds were used to serve nearly 11 million older Americans and their caregivers. 

The report was presented by Charles Jeszeck, David Lehrer and Amber Yancey-Carroll of the GAO at a hearing for the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging Minority Staff on Dec. 11, 2012. 

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) presided over the public briefing that reviewed the findings of the report. 


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