NCOA Lauds Sen. Bernie Sanders for Introducing Older Americans Act Reauthorization Legislation

Jan 26, 2012, 13:29 ET from National Council on Aging

Legislation Will Strengthen Critical Services and Supports for Vulnerable Seniors

WASHINGTON, Jan. 26, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is pleased to support the Older Americans Act Amendments of 2012, a bill introduced today by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Sen. Sanders is chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging, which is charged with reauthorization of the Older Americans Act (OAA).


The OAA supports a vast network of state and local aging services that empower older adults to stay healthy and independent in their own homes and communities.

Sen. Sanders' legislation to reauthorize and update the OAA recognizes that the legislation has not lived up to its full potential—largely due to inadequate resources. The bill calls for significant investments in four key areas, and also addresses key NCOA priorities for reauthorization, including:

  • Defining what economic security means for seniors and establishing it as one of the primary goals of the OAA.
  • Setting the standard for implementing evidence-based health promotion and disease prevention programs and services for older adults.
  • Promoting modernization of the nation's senior centers.
  • Strengthening the Senior Community Services Employment Program (SCSEP), the only job training and placement program for older adults.

"The OAA is the primary law that helps millions of seniors every day through community services that provide meals, health promotion, caregiver support, job training and placement, access to benefits, and funding for senior centers," said Jim Firman, president and CEO of NCOA. "Without these services, older adults, especially those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged, would lose even the most basic help at a time when they can least afford it."

Recently, NCOA launched One Away, an innovative, national advocacy campaign, to highlight the struggles of older adults and call for the economic security proposals reflected in Sen. Sanders' legislation. One Away, funded by The Atlantic Philanthropies, uses video to allow older adults to tell their own stories, in their own words. One Away videos and stories are available at  

One Away reflects the fact that more than 13 million older adults are economically insecure, living on just $21,780 a year or less. Every day, these seniors, and millions of Boomers, have to choose whether to pay for food, housing, utilities, or medicine. They live one bad break, one accident, or one layoff away from economic disaster.

"With almost 10,000 older adults retiring every day, we need this kind of forward-thinking legislation introduced by Sen. Sanders to prevent more older adults from losing their independence and facing devastating economic insecurity," said NCOA's Firman.

For more information on the Older Americans Act and NCOA's reauthorization priorities, please visit

About NCOA  
The National Council on Aging is a nonprofit service and advocacy organization headquartered in Washington, DC. NCOA is a national voice for millions of older adults—especially those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged—and the community organizations that serve them. It brings together nonprofit organizations, businesses, and government to develop creative solutions that improve the lives of all older adults. NCOA works with thousands of organizations across the country to help seniors find jobs and benefits, improve their health, live independently, and remain active in their communities. For more information, please visit: | |

SOURCE National Council on Aging