NEWS from the Elder Justice Coalition
NEWS: Federal Funding Bill Contains Good News for Elder Justice
The funding levels from the pending FY 2016 Omnibus Appropriations bill contain good news for elder justice programs. The bill is due for a vote in the House and Senate tomorrow. Indications are it will be a very close vote.
The Elder Justice Coalition is pleased to note that funding for the Elder Justice Initiative will double from $4 million to $8 million. This money will continue to fund the federal unified APS database initiative as well as research.
Funding for the following programs was held level at FY 2015 levels:
  • Social Services Block Grant at $1.7 billion
  • Long Term Care Ombudsman Program at $20.6 million
  • OAA Title VII Elder Rights Support Activities at $3.8 million
Funding for these programs increased:
  • National Family Caregiver Support Program increased by $5 million
  •  Native American Caregiver Support increased by $1.5 million
The omnibus will increase the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Crime Victims Fund cap for FY 2016 by almost $700 million to $3 billion, and after allowing for a transfer of some of these funds, it will leave funding of $2.65 billion for VOCA, which is an increase of $302 million for state VOCA assistance programs. The Elder Justice Coalition co-signed a letter to the Senate and House appropriators authored by a coalition of victim organizations opposing a proposed cut of $1.5 billion in VOCA that was contained in the budget agreement.
Related to this positive development will be the release of new guidelines called for by White House at the 2015 White House Conference on Aging on greater use of VOCA funds for underserved victims of crime, including victims of elder abuse, neglect and exploitation.  The Elder Justice Coalition has been actively involved in advocating for this change in the guidelines. These guidelines are expected in the new year.
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