As Partial Shutdown Drags On, Older Adults Could Be Affected
The partial government shutdown will enter its third week on Saturday. The shutdown affects seven federal agencies, or 25 percent of all federal discretionary spending. The agencies that are primarily responsible for administering aging services across the board—such as Health and Human Services, Administration on Aging and CMS—are not affected by the impasse. However, as other critical government programs face weeks without funding, we expect that there could be implications for some older adults.
For example, the Department of Agriculture has indicated that the SNAP program, which provides nutrition subsidies to more than one million low-income older adults, will run out of funding at the end of February if an agreement isn't reached by then. Also, key community block grant programs that supplement services for older adults, such as the Community Development Block Grant, along with housing and transportation programs for older adults, are at risk.
Furthermore, because a short-term extension for the Money Follows the Person (MFP) program was attached to the rejected federal funding bill, lawmakers were unable to keep MFP funding flowing after December 31, 2018. However, in a bright legislative spot, the House this week passed another three-month extension of MFP that is not linked to the spending bills.
n4a will continue to monitor these situations and release details on specific advocacy actions that aging advocates can take in the coming days and weeks if the federal funding stalemate continues.