Legislators Reauthorize Older Americans Act

A bill that would re-authorize federal support for Meals-on-Wheels and other community programs that serve older adults has been approved by lawmakers and forwarded to President Obama.

The Senate approved re-authorization of the Older Americans Act (OAA) on April 7 with bipartisan support, according to a joint release from the Senate Health Committee.


“This bipartisan legislation will continue services for … programs like Meals on Wheels, or on programs that provide rides to their doctors’ appointments or the grocery store,” said Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn).

The OAA provides services for nearly 12 million older Americans, but hadn’t been re-authorized since 2011. The Senate approval was hailed as a step in the right direction by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (N4A) CEO Sandy Markwood.

“We’re delighted that this vital legislation is heading to the president’s desk,” said Markwood. “The primary goal of OAA is to support older adults living independently in their homes and communities for as long as possible, and this reauthorization ensures that this critical, cost-effective work will continue with Congress’ support for another three years.”

Originally enacted in 1965, the OAA supports a wide variety of programs, including in-home supports, caregiver supports, health/wellness programs, elder abuse prevention, and information programs that help older adults navigate the benefit application process.