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.
2020 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 18-19, this number increased to 30,533 reported cases of which 17,031 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 7,103 cases, and many of these cases were very complex.
- $893,041 in additional federal Social Services Block Grant (SSGB) funding was approved for APS last year and has been allocated to county departments of social services. Though greatly needed, this increase does little to address the critical need for additional funding due to the growing number of APS cases. In SFY 17-18, $26.2 million was expended on APS. Funding was 0.01% state, 82% county, and 18% federal SSBG. (SSGB) funding was approved for APS last year and has been allocated to county departments of social services. Though greatly needed, this increase does little to address the critical need for additional funding due to the growing number of APS cases. $893,041 in additional federal Social Services Block Grant (SSGB) funding was approved for APS last year and has been allocated to county departments of social services. Though greatly needed, this increase does little to address the critical need for additional funding due to the growing number of APS cases. In SFY 18-19, $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 2019, the total income for eligibility for a homeowner and their spouse could not exceed $31,000, 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.
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.
- 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.
- State of the Coalition on Aging – September 2019 …review document
- Comments on Social Services Block Grant Plan – June, 17, 2019 …review comments
- Comments Pertaining to CAP/DA Waiver Application – February 1, 2019 …review comments
- Summary of the “State of the Coalition on Aging – September 2018 …review summary
- Letter to NC DHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen on August 14, 2018 on Food Insecurity Among Older Adults in North Carolina …read letter
- August 28, 2018 Response from Dr. Cohen to Letter. …read response
- Emergency Preparedness for Seniors Resources:
- NC Emergency Management … more info
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention …more info
- 2018 Budget Bill (SB 99) Provisions of Particular Interest to Aging Advocates …review budget
- Notes for Talking Points for Aging Policy Listening Sessions – May/June 2018 …read notes