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NC Coalition On Aging Priorities

The Coalition develops legislative priorities to address pressing needs facing older North Carolinians. Issues are studied and debated by Coalition members at membership meetings and each year, prior to the convening of the state legislative session, a legislative agenda is established. The Coalition typically has a Legislative Advocacy Day in the spring to meet with state legislators to share our priority issues.

CONTACT INFO

NC Coalition on Aging
P.O. Box 12762
Raleigh, NC 27605

General Inquiries
info@nccoalitiononaging.org

Coalition Executive Director - Mary Bethel
executivedirector@nccoalitiononaging.org

2019 Legislative Priorities ...

  • Invest state dollars in adult protective services (APS), mandated core services provided by county departments of social services to our state’s most vulnerable adults.
    • In recent years, there has been a major increase in the need for APS services. In 2009, there were 17,073 reported cases of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of adults. In SFY 17-18, this number increased to 30,128 reported cases of which 15,563 were “screened-in” by county departments of social services to determine if the adults reported were in needs of APS. Abuse, neglect or exploitation was found for 6,066 cases, and many of these cases were very complex.
    • In SFY 17-18, $26.2 million was expended on APS. Funding was 0.01% state, 82% county, and 18% federal Social Service Block Grant.
    • There are growing challenges as the number of APS cases increase and many counties, particularly low wealth counties, are struggling to find the money to provide needed services and to adequately carry out mandated responsibilities.
  • Close the health insurance coverage gap in the state.
    • There are an estimated 400,000+ low-income people in the state who have no affordable health insurance options available to them. Many of these fall into the category of those 55+ who are most likely to have pre-existing conditions that if not treated will result in bigger problems as they age.
    • Closing the coverage gap will provide access to preventive care for this population and result in an influx of additional funding to the state that can support our health care delivery system.
  • Increase the recurring state funding for the Home and Community Care Block Grant (HCCBG) by $7 million.
    • The Block Grant is the primary funding source for services, including high demand services such as home delivered meals and in-home aides, for older adults not eligible for Medicaid. Most recipients of services are frail and have low to moderate income and many live along. The Block Grant helps them to remain independent and living in the community. It combines federal and state dollars along with local matching funds.
    • The state is losing ground in its efforts to help at-risk older adults in the community through the Block Grant with waiting lists growing and fewer individuals being served each year. In January of 2019, there were 10,600 seniors on waiting lists for services.
    • An appropriation of $7 million would make a huge impact: The waiting list could be reduced by approximately one-third.
  • Increase funding for the Housing Trust Fund and increase the Homestead Property Tax Exemption to help ensure older adults and persons with disabilities have safe and affordable housing.
    • The state has a shortage of safe and affordable housing and the recent hurricane has increased the lack of adequate housing for older and disabled adults, populations who were hit hard by the storm.
    • Housing has been identified as a key social determinant of health, and the lack of adequate housing can be a factor in vulnerable adults no longer being able to remain independent in the community.
    • The Housing Trust Fund has been a valuable resource for rehabbing and providing modifications to homes and for developing affordable housing for seniors and persons with disabilities. The current funding for the Trust Fund, $7.66 million, is not adequate to address the growing housing crisis.
    • Paying the property taxes on their home is a burden for many seniors and persons with disabilities. The Homestead Property Tax Exemption provides low-income persons 65 and older and those who are permanently disabled some property tax relief. In 2018, the total income for eligibility for a homeowner and their spouse could not exceed $30,200, and the amount excluded from taxation was the first $25,000 or 50% (whichever is greater) of assessed value of the permanent residence. The General Assembly has not examined property tax relief for older and disabled adults for ten years.
  • Conduct a comprehensive study about how the state can better support family care-givers, particularly caregivers who are in the workforce so they can continue to work.
    • There are over 1.28 million family caregivers in the state providing care to an adult with limitations in daily activities.
    • Families provide at least 80% of all care services needed to help older relatives live in their homes. They are the backbone of our long-term care system.
    • More than 60% of family caregivers work, and of this number approximately 60% report making work accommodations because of caregiving. Approximately 10% say they have to give up work entirely in order to care for their relative. When caregivers cut back on hours or leave the workforce, they often loose benefits, including health insurance, and their retirement income, including Social Security, may be less.

To download a handout on the priorities, CLICK HERE.

Key Facts about Aging in North Carolina

  • Today, 1 in 5 – over 2 million people in the state – are age 60 and over. By 2033, about 1 in 4 will be over 60, and people over 85 will be the fastest growing population group.
  • Effective this year, it is estimated that there are more people in the state over the age of 60 than under the age of 18. Our 65+ population will increase in the next 20 years from 1.6 to 2.6 million.

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2018 Legislative Priorities and Action Taken by the General Assembly (noted in red) below ...

  • Increase the recurring state funding for the Home and Community Care Block Grant (HCCBG) by $7 million. Budgeted $150,000 in additional Social Service Block Grant (SSGB) federal receipts and an additional $16,667 in local match for congregate meals. Increased access to HCCBG community based services and supports by budgeting $850,000 in additional SSBG federal receipts and an additional $94,444 in local match.
  • Increase state funding and support for adult protective services (APS) and public guardianship services and conduct a comprehensive evaluation of these services. Budgeted additional Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) federal receipts of $987,309, along with local match receipts, for local county departments of social services to provide additional adult guardianship services. Budgeted additional SSBG receipts for 1 full time Social Work Planner/Evaluator to support the Adult Protective Services (APS) and Guardianship social work staff in North Carolina's 100 county departments of social services to provide adult guardianship services.
  • In order to better support direct care workers and help reduce worker turnover, invest in the Medicaid Community Alternatives Program for Disabled Adults(CAP-DA) programs by increasing the reimbursement rate from $13.88 per hour to the national average of $18.82. Appropriated $5,500,000 in recurring funds for fiscal year 2018-2019 to be used to increase the rate to no more than $3.90 per 15-minute billing unit for in-home aide services provided under the Community Alternatives Program for Disabled Adults (CAP-DA) waiver pursuant to Clinical Coverage Policy 3K-2 effective January 1, 2019. (Reduced the Medicaid Rebase to fund this).
  • Pass legislation that will support working family caregivers and help to keep them in the workforce. No action taken.

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2017 Legislative Priorities and Action Taken by the General Assembly (noted in red) below ...

  • Increase the recurring state funding for the Home and Community Care Block Grant (HCCBG) by $7 million. $967,549 in non-recurring funding was appropriated for each year of the biennium.
  • Establish a joint legislative committee to examine issues pertaining to the state’s growing older adult population, including health care and financial security, and to make recommendations on how the state can better support North Carolinians to age with dignity. A special provision was included in the budget bill that calls on the co-chairs of the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services to consider appointing a subcommittee on aging to examine the state’s delivery of services for older adults in order to determine their needs and to make recommendations on how to address these needs. The leadership of the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee established a subcommittee on aging in October of 2017. Subcommittee chairs are Rep. Josh Dobson (R - Avery, McDowell, and Mitchell) and Sen. Joyce Krawiec (R - Forsyth and Yadkin).
  • Increase state funding and support for adult protective services (APS) and guardianship services and conduct a comprehensive evaluation of these services.
  • In order to better support direct care workers and help reduce worker turnover, invest in Medicaid Personal Care Services (PCS) and Community Alternatives Program for Disabled Adults(CAP-DA) programs by increasing the reimbursement rate over a two year period from $13.88 per hour to the national average of $18.82. Funding was appropriated to increase the Personal Care Services rate as well as the CAP-Children hourly rate to $15.52 per hour.
  • Pass legislation that will support working family caregivers and help to keep them in the workforce.

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2016 Legislative Priorities ...

  • Increase state funding for the Home and Community Care Block Grant by $2 million to help address the waiting list for services to help older adults stay in their homes.
  • Pass House Bill 816 (Study the Needs of Working Caregivers).
  • Appropriate $2 million in state funding for adult protective services.
  • Pass House Bill 817 (An Act Enacting the Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceeding Jurisdiction Act of 2015).
  • Establish a North Carolina Study Commission on Aging as a vehicle for research and action regarding legislation pertaining to older adults.

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2015 Legislative Priorities ...

  • Restore $969,549 State Appropriation in Home and Community Care Block Grant ... Read More
  • Promote Legislation Supporting Family Caregivers
     ... Read More
  • Preserve Medicaid Eligibility and Services for Older and Disabled Adults ... Read More
  • Restore $2,000,000 state appropriation in Adult Protective Services Fund ... Read More
  • Improve NC's Ability to Address Interstate Guardianship Transfer ... Read More

Status of 2015 Legislative Priorities ...

NC General Assembly Adjourns 2015 Session — More Coalition work to be done in 2016. For status of 2015 Coalition legislative priorities...

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