The Senior Alliance's Monthly Advocacy Update
August 31, 2021
Volume 2.8
Welcome to The Senior Alliance's advocacy newsletter, COLLOQUY!
This monthly e-mail is a look at issues, legislation and policies impacting aging.
25% Increase in SNAP Benefits Announced
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit will be increased by 25% over pre-pandemic levels. The increase results from a review of the program by the USDA that was authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill. This increase will continue to aid those utilizing SNAP, including older adults. On average, qualified recipients will receive $157 per person on a monthly basis. The new benefit level will take affect in October.

As this review of SNAP was authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill, no new congressional action is needed.
Infrastructure Package Includes Funding for Broadband
On August 10th the U.S. Senate amended and passed H.R. 3684, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This $944 billion bipartisan bill includes increases funding for several infrastructure projects such as bridge, highway, and broadband infrastructure upgrades and repairs.

The bill includes $65 billion in broadband infrastructure investments and initiatives. These funds are proposed to be expended through formula-based grants to the states, which will then distribute them on a competitive basis.

The bill now returns to the U.S. House, which is expected to vote on this package by the end of September.
Federal Bill Introduced to Assist Nutrition Program Vehicle Fleets
The Helping our Most Elderly (HOME) Secure Meals ActS. 2584 and H.R. 4933, has been introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Joe Machin (D-WV) and the U.S. House by Congressmember Filemon Vela (D-TX). This bill seeks to provide grants for purchasing and repairing vehicles used by older adult nutritional programs. 

Both bills were referred to committee and have not seen any further action.
Fiscal Year 2022 State Budget Poised for Action in September
Debate on the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (MDHHS) budget will resume in September. The 2022 fiscal year begins on October 1, 2021.

A State House of Representative's version of the MDHHS FY 2022 budget would add an additional $1 million of currently unspecified federal funds to the Aging & Adult Services Agency's (AASA) Community Services line item. The Nutrition Services line item would receive get a $3.5 million increase, again from federal dollars.

In a step forward for community-based long-term services and supports, 1,000 new slots for the MI Choice Waiver program are anticipated to be included in budget documents when debate continues.

The Senior Alliance continues to support the Silver Key Coalition's advocacy position that a $6.375 million increase in state funding to the community services line item of AASA's budget is needed to address the existing statewide program waitlist over the long-term. We will also advocate in support of the additional 1,000 slots for the MI Choice Waiver program and additional funding for the nutrition program as the fiscal year 2022 appropriations process continues.

The Senior Alliance will also continue to advocate for a permanent Direct Care Worker wage increase in the FY 2022 state budget to support workers who are providing critical services to older adults and adults living with a disability in the community.
"Inside The Senior Alliance" Podcast
Our new podcast series, "Inside The Senior Alliance," provides to-the-point information about our programs and services. Just search for "The Senior Alliance" to find it on Spotify, Amazon, Apple, Stitcher, Google and other podcast platforms. Most episodes are less than 15 minutes long.

Our newest episode covers our Nutrition Programs.

Our first episode answers the question, "What is The Senior Alliance?" Other installments provide overviews of the MI Choice Waiver program, the Medicare Medicaid Assistance Program (MMAP), our Supports Coordination function, our Information & Assistance service, Housing Coordination, the Long Term Care Ombudsman, the Michigan Senior Advocates Council and our Advisory Council.

Click the button below to listen via our website.
Advocacy Questions: Please contact Jason Maciejewski, Chief Advocacy & Planning Officer, with any advocacy or public policy questions via e-mail at advocacy@thesenioralliance.org.
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The Senior Alliance, Area Agency on Aging 1C
5454 Venoy Road, Wayne, MI 48184
800-815-1112