|Table of Contents|
Older Americans act and action
Revenue sharing and veterans
Consumer protection and removal of architectural barriers
L 5a /3 / L7
IN 94TH CON
PREPARED BY THE
Printed for the use of the Special Committee on Aging
U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON : 1976
For sale by the Superintendent of Documents. U.S. Goveriiment Printing Office
Washington, D.C. 20402 Price 40 cents
Stock Number 052-070-03777-6
There is a minimum charge of $1.00 for each mail order
A GIN G
SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON AGING
FRANK CHURCH, Idaho, Chairman
HARRISON A. WILLIAMS, JR., New Jersey HIRAM L. FONG, Hawaii
JENNINGS RANDOLPH, West Virginia CLIFFORD P. HANSEN, Wyoming
EDMUND S. MUSKIE, Maine EDWARD W. BROOKE, Massachusetts
FRANK E. MOSS, Utah CHARLES H. PERCY, Illinois
EDWARD M. KENNEDY, Massachusetts ROBERT T. STAFFORD, Vermont
WALTER F. MONDALE. Minnesota J. GLENN BEALL, JR., Maryland
VANCE HARTKE, Indiana PETE V. DOMENICI, New Mexico
CLAIBORNE PELL, Rhode Island BILL BROCK, Tennessee
THOMAS F. EAGLETON, Missouri DEWEY F. BARTLETT, Oklahoma
JOHN V. TUNNEY, California
LAWTON CHILES, Florida
DICK CLARK, Iowa
JOHN A. DURKIN, New Hampshire
WILLIAM E. ORIOL, Staff Director
DAVID A. AFFELDT, Chief Counsel
VAL J. HALAMANDARIS, Associate Counsel
JOHN GUY MILLER, Minority Staff Director
PATRICIA G. ORIOL, Chief Clerk
EUGENE R. CUMMINGS, Printing Assistant
ACTION ON AGING LEGISLATION IN THE
The administration and the Congress clashed often during the 94th
Congress (1975-76). H owever, on several maor matters relating to
older Americanis, considerable progress was made. paIt icularly in the
areas of employment for older workers,- housing for the elderly, the
Older Americans Act, and funding for senior citizen programs.
The U.S. Senate Committee on Aging presents a staff report
summarizing these actions for the elderly, practitioners in the field of
aging, policymakers, and others.
OLDER AMERICANS ACT AND ACTION
OLDER AMERICANS A-MENDIENTS OF 1975
(Enacted November 28, 1975)
Congress gave overwhelming approval to the Older Americans
Amendments of 1975. Public Law 94-135 continues and expands
programs (with a total authorization exceeding $1.7 billion) under the
Older Americans Act, the Older American Community Service Ein-
ployment Act, the Domestic Volunteer Service Act, and other legisla-
tion affecting the elderly. In addition, the act includes several innova-
tions. Among the major provisions:
Three-Year Extension of Older Americans Act.-Prorams und er the
Older Americans Act (including area planning and social services,
model projects, training, research, multidisciplinary centers of geron-
tology, multipurpose senior centers, and nutrition) are continued
through fiscal 1978 with nearly $1.1 billion in new authorized funding.
The National Information and Resource Clearing House for the Aging
is also extended through fiscal 1978.
Priority Services.-Four priority services-including transportation,
legal counseling, residential repair, and in-home services-,are ear-
marked for funding under the title III State and community programs
on aging. Beginning in fiscal 1977, States must commit at least 50
percent of the increase in their allotment for planning and social serv-
ices (the difference between their allotment in fiscal 1977 compared
with fiscal 1975) for the four enumerated services, but in no event can
this be less than 20 percent of the title III State planning and '-ocial
services funding. States assuring AoA that they would use one-third
of their title III allotment to provide some or all of the four priority
services are exempt from either the 50-percent or 20-percent require-
'The staff report summarizes only legislation which was actually enacted into law
during 1975 and 197f. A brief description. however. i, provid&d of the 1'975 141d ;7;
social security cst-of-hiviig adjustuients. which heca' i effect ive ider I rhrviso1* .-in ()t
legislation enacted in prior CoT. i, staff rtjport ,i) t include bill, in itri, ilc.,1.
measures passed only by the IHouse or Senate. or vetoed proposals sustained by the
Expansion of Section 308 Model Projects.-The listing of priority
services for funding under the section 308 model projects program is
expanded to include (a) ombudsman services for nursing home resi-
dents; (b) improving the delivery of services for low-income, minority,
Indian and limited English-speaking individuals, and the rural elderly;
and (c) assisting in the establishment and operation of senior ambula-
tory day care centers.
Direct Funding of Indian Tribes.-Direct funding of Indian tribes is
authorized under title III, provided that the Commissioner on Aging
determines that (a) Indian tribe members are not receiving benefits
equivalent to other older persons in the State, and (b) they would be
better served through direct funding.
State Administrative Costs.-The floor for administrative costs is
increased from $160,000 to $200,000 for States and from $50,000 to
$62,500 for outlying territories and possessions. States which desire to
receive amounts in addition to their allotments may make an applica-
tion with the AoA Commissioner. The Commissioner may approve the
application upon the determination that (a) the State will be unable to
carry out programs effectively unless additional amounts are available,
(b) the State is making full and effective use of its allotment and per-
sonnel, and (c) the State agency and area agencies on aging are carry-
ing out, on a full-time basis, programs and activities in furtherance of
the act. However, the amount a State receives may not exceed three-
fourths of 1 percent of the sums allotted under the title III area plan-
ning and social service programs and the title VII nutrition program.
Surplus Commodities.-The Secretary of Agriculture is required by
law to donate surplus commodities to title VII nutrition projects.
Public Law 94-135 directs the Secretary of Agriculture to maintain an
annually programed level of assistance of 15 cents per meal in fiscal
1976 (compared with 10 cents per meal in 1975) and 25 cents per meal
in fiscal 1977. In addition, the act requires the Secretary to purchase
meats and other high protein foods for the title VII nutrition program.
Training Expanded.-The title IV training program is broadened to
include lawyers and paraprofessionals to (a) provide legal counseling
or (b) monitor the administration of programs for older Americans.
Training is also authorized for purposes of identifying legal problems
affecting older persons and developing solutions for their needs.
Older American Community Service Employment Act Extended.-The
Title IX Older American Community Service Employment Act is
continued through fiscal 1978 with $487.5 million in new funding
Maintenance of Effort for National Contractors.-The 1975 amend-
ments direct the Secretary of Labor to reserve a sufficient sum under
each year's appropriation for the title IX program to continue older
worker employment programs conducted by national contractors at
least at their fiscal 1975 jobs level. The remaining appropriations may
be distributed to the States by a formula, taking into account the
55-plus population and a State's relative per capita income.
ACTION's Older Americans Programs.-RSVP (retired senior
volunteer program), foster grandparents, and senior companions are
extended through fiscal 1978 with $146.75 million in new authorized
funding. The act requires the Director of ACTION to coordinate
ACTION's older persons programs with the title III and title VII
programs under the Older Americans Act.
Foster Graitdpar(t t-! it tally Retarded (Gb d Ieatdu.4 '+. The
conference report also responds to a major problem confront iI' the
foster grandparent program-the termination of the fos ter Lran(pI prent
relationship when a mentally retarded child reache.,., 1 ,-. A( 'T(N
had issued regulations to modify this provision, allowing fo-ter rrand-
parents, in exceptional cases, to serve chil(lren through ae 20. The
conference report makes three important points: (1) Foster Lgrand-
parent supportive services should be continued through ae 21, iiot iS,
as initially provided by ACTION's regulations; (2) the foster i.rand-
parent relationship should be permitted to end only when ACTION is
certain that an alternative arrangement can be made, sati-fact orv to
the needs of the foster grandparent, the child's family, and the
sponsoring agency; and (3) the foster grandparent relationship must be
continued if suitable alternative arrangements cannot be made.
Age Discrimination Act.-The Civil Rights Commission is directed
to undertake a study concerning age discrimination in programs and
activities receiving Federal financial assistance. Within 1 year after
the Civil Rights Commission's report (or 212 years after enactment of
the Age Discrimination Act if the report is not submitted), the Secre-
tary of Health, Education, and Welfare must issue regulations to pro-
hibit discrimination on the basis of age in programs or activities
receiving Federal financial assistance.
AUTHORIZATIONS FOR OLDER AMERICANS AMENDMENTS (H.R. 3922)
[In millions of dollars]
Fiscal year quarter, July 1 Fiscal year Fiscal year
1976 to Sept. 30 1977 1978
Title Ill-Area Planning and Social Services ---------- 180 57.75 231 287.2
Title Vll-Nutr'tion ------------------------------- () 62.50 (2) 275.0
Title IX-Community Employment ------------------ 100 37.50 150 200.0
Domestic Volunteer Service Act:
RSVP ------------------------------------- () 6.00 22 22.0
Foster Grandparents --------------------------- (4) 8. 75 35 35.0
Senior Companions ---------------------------- (5) 2.00 8 8.0
Tota ----------------------------------- 280 174.50 446 827.2
'Authorized at $200,000,000 under Public Law 93-351.
2 Authorized at $250,000,000 under Public Law 93-351.
3 Authorized at $20,000,000 under Public Law 93-113.
4 Authorized at $32,000,000 under Public Law 93-113.
$ Authorized at $8,000,000 under Public Law 93-113.
Open-ended (such sums as may be necessary) for all other programs under Public Law 94-135.
DOMESTIC VOLUNTEER SERVICE ACT AMENDMENTS OF 1976
(Enacted May 27, 1976)
Public Law 94-293, extending the international and (lomeztic
programs of ACTION through September 30, 1978, colitain a pro-
vision to allow foster grandparents to continue their relationship with
a mentally retarded child beyond the age of 21, as long as the child is
enrolled in the program before reaching that age.
TAx REDUCTION ACT OF 1975
(Enacted March 29, 1975)
Public Law 94-12 was enacted to stimulate the economy in 1975. It
included a number of provisions of direct benefit to aged and aging
Refund of 1974 Individual Income Taxes.-A refund equal to 10 per-
cent of 1974 tax liability, with a $200 ceiling ($100 for married tax-
payers filing separately), provided nearly $8.1 billion in relief for
individuals in 1975. Each taxpayer received a refund of at least $100
($50 if married and filing separately) or the full amount of his or her
actual tax liability if it was less than $100. The refund was phased
down as the taxpayer's adjusted gross income (gross income less trade
and business deductions) rose from $20,000 to $30,000.
Increase in Standard Deduction and Low-Income Allowance.-The
standard deduction increased in 1975 from 15 percent of adjusted gross
income with a $2,000 maximum allowance to 16 percent with a $2,300
ceiling for single persons and $2,600 for married couples filing joint
returns. The low-income allowance was also raised from $1,300 to
$1,600 for single persons and $1,900 for married couples filing jointly.
Tax Credit in Addition to $750 Personal Exemption Deduction.-A
$30 tax credit in addition to the $750 personal exemption was pro-
vided in 1975 for each taxpayer, spouse, and dependent.
Extension of Period for Replacing Old Residence for Nonrecognition of
Gain.-The period for a taxpayer to purchase a replacement residence
to defer the gain on the sale of the old residence was extended from
1 year to 18 months (either before or after the sale). Similarly, the
period in which a taxpayer may construct a subsequent residence
was extended from 18 months to 24 months (if construction begins
within 18 months after the sale of the former residence). This provision
applies to the sale of residences on or after January 1, 1975.
TAx CUT EXTENSION ACT
(Enacted December 23, 1975)
The Tax Cut Extension Act (Public Law 94-164) provided $6.1
billion in tax relief for taxpayers. Major provisions include: The 1975
individual income tax reduction was extended for 6 months (through
June 30, 1976) at a level to insure that withholding rates did not rise
on January 1, 1976. The low-income allowance w%-as increased from
$1,600 to $1,700 for single persons and from $1,900 to $2,100 for
married persons filing joint returns. The 16-percent (of adjusted gross
income) standard deduction was boosted from $2,300 to $2,400 for
individuals and from $2,600 to $2,800 for couples. Individuals were
given the option of claiming a credit equal to 2 percent of the first
$9,000 of taxable income (up to a maximum credit of $180) or $35 for
the taxpayer, spouse, and each dependent-whichever is greater.
TAx REFORM ACT OF 1976
(Enacted October 4, 1976/
The Tax Reform Act of 1976 (Public ILaw 94-455 inakes wiinerou.i
changes in the Internal Revene ( Code. inCim I in- .everal WitIi J)Oten-
tially important iinl)lications for the elderly. Aioinu t lie key p)rovisioii>
for older Americans"
Ceeral Tax ( lrd#.-A cre(lit equal to the greater of .,) per 1)er e i l
exeml)tion or 2 percent of the first s9,000 of taxn|hle ii icowle i- effective,
in 1976. No adltitional credit i- availalle for age orli 1(1 e-C'.
Stand~ar I)((IUfob .-Ihe 1975 i111re8-es in the (t 11(1ard (Iedtietion
(from 15 percent to 16 percent of a8(jll4ted gros- incotie xwith i 8hoo-
in the overall ceiling front 82,00) to 2.400 for .ingle 1ieron- and
2.,800 for couples filiiig jointly) Ini-I the liniitim i -Itaiiar (1( (le(iRcti(ll-)
(from 81,300 to 81.700 for individual and $2.100 for (ol1&t)le-) xwill
become permanent in 1976.
Excludabl( Gai From ,Sae4 Ptf Ft Pr,olI h /!cl.-Piblic Law
94-455 allow- taxpayer 65 or older who sell their reidence- to exchlde
the entire gain. irovi(le( the adju-ted -.ale )rice i" $2,000 or le- .
begining In1 1977. Now the entire gain can )e excluled ()rovie(l
certain conditions. are met if the adjuwtet aled price is. $20,000 or
below. A pro rata amount i-s excludable if the adjusted -ale-; i)ric('
exceeds these amounts.
Rer;.;r) if Ptret Itcorne l'pd;t.-The retirement income credit
is restructured to include earned income, a;z xvell as retirement ii(omie.
The maximum amounts for applying this 15-1)erceInt credit are
boosted from 81.524 to 82,500 for single aged persons and1 from S2.2S6
to $3,750 for elderly couples (both 65 or older) filing joint return-.
These maximum amounts, however, are reduced by S1 for each $2 of
adju ted gross income in exce of 87.500 for a single iIer-on and
$10,000 for a married elderly couple filing a joint return. Ilhv, the
credit is no longer available for a -inole per-son with adjusted gross
income of 812.500 and an elderly couple with 817.500.
C(hab yes in Sick Pay Exclasioll.-The existing sick pay exclusion is
generally repealed and replaced with a maximum annual exclu ion up
to $5,200 for individuals under 65 who have retired on disabilitv and
are permanently and totally disabled (unable to engage in any -,ib-
stantial gainful activity becau-e of a phvical or mental inpairment
which is expected to last for at least 12 monthsR or result in death.
After age 65, these retiree will be eligible for the revised elderly
credit. The maximum amount excludable must be reduced on a dollar-
for-dollar basis by an individual'- adjusted groz- income inclidin
disabilitv income) in excess of $1 5.000 tthis amount applies to in-
dividual and joint return).
Credit for Dpead ('are Erpmr.es.-'The exis.ting itemized deduc-
tion for dependent care expenses i replaced with a tax crelit eq(al to
20 percent of employment-related exj)enses (lp to 82.000 for one
dependent and 84.000 for twxo or more depend(et.) for the (flare of a
child under 15 or an incapacitated" e dependent or pou.e ill OIr(ler to
enable the taxpayer to work. Thluz, t lwi maximum credit in 1976 iu
$400 for one dependent and 8800 for two or more dependent,.
Deduction for Cost of Removing Architectural Barriers.-Beginning in
1977, taxpayers can claim a current deduction, up to $25,000 a year,
for the removal of architectural or transportational barriers for handi-
capped and elderly persons in business facilities and public vehicles.
Unified Estate and Gift Tax Rates.-A new single unified rate
schedule for estate and gift taxes will replace the existing rates for
estate and gift taxes in 1977 (the gift tax rate is now 75 percent of the
estate tax rate). For 1977 and 1978, the lowest rate (after taking into
account the unified credit equivalent to an exemption of $120,667)
is 30 percent. The existing estate tax exemption is $60,000.
The present lifetime gift tax exemption for a donor is $30,000. After
1980, the lowest rate (taking into account the fully phased-in unified
credit equivalent to an exemption of $175,625) will be 32 percent.
MFarital Deductio.-Public Law 94-455 increases the estate tax
marital deduction for small- and moderate-sized estates passing to a
surviving spouse. The allowable deduction for property passing to a
spouse is the greater of $250,000 or one-half of the decedent's adjusted
gross estate. With the new marital deduction and the revised exemp-
tion, only about 3 to 5 percent of all estates will be subject to Federal
SPECIAL PAYMENT FOR SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFICIARIES
(Enacted March 29, 1975)
The Tax Reduction Act of 1975 (Public Law 94-12) included a
one-time $50 payment ($100 for couples) for social security, railroad
retiree, and supplemental security income beneficiaries. An individual
received only one $50 payment if he was entitled to benefits under
two or more programs. This special payment, which provided an
additional $1.7 billion for 34 million persons, was nontaxable. It was
disregarded in determining eligibility under any State or Federal
public assistance program.
-PERCENT SOCIAL SECURITY COST-OF-LIVING ADJUSTMENT IN 1976
(Effective Under Provisions in Public Laws 92-336 and 93-233)
Nearly 32 million social security beneficiaries received an 8-percent
cost-of-lving adjustment in 1975. The automatic escalator provision
provided social security beneficiaries with an additional $5.5 billion
in fiscal 1976. President Ford had recommended a 5-percent ceiling
in his fiscal 1976 budget message. The Senate, however, adopted (by
a vote of 76 to 13, on May 6, 1975) Senator Church's amendment to
a bill to extend the Council on Wage and Price Stability (S. 409). The
effect of the amendment, was to assure enactment of the 8-percent
adjustment as authorized by law, instead of the 5-percent ceiling pro-
posed by President Ford. The social security 8-percent increase also
had spillover effects for supplemental security income and railroad
retirement beneficiaries. Federal SSI income standards were also in-
creased by 8 percent, since the automatic escalator provision is pegged
to the social security cost-of-living adjustment mechanism. The 1975
adjustment increased the monthly Federal SSI income standards from
$146 to $157.70 for qualifying individuals and from $219 to $236.60
for couples. The social security cost-of-living adjustment was passed
through to most railroad retirement beneficiarie'.s as in in creasec in
their tier oi benefits (tlie portion cailcllate(l oil tlie halsi> (of tlleir
combined social securitv-railroad retirement earniiu-,).
6.4 PERCENT SOCIAL SECURITY COST-OF-LIVING ADJUSTM IENT IN 1976
(Effective Under Provisions in Public Laws 92-336 :il 9.-- 2.
Nearly 32.6 million social securit A, beneficiaries receive(l a 6.4-perceiit
cost-of-living increase on July :3, 1976. Thlis a(Ij11stIlent will provi(le
$4.9 billion in additional payments for fiscal 1977. Average monithlv
benefits increased from $204 to $218 for a retired worker, $348 to $372
for a retired couple, $196 to $208 for all aged widow, $228 to $242 for
a disabled worker. and $447 to $475 for a disable(l worker withi a wife
and one or more chil(iren. The minimmiin monthly benefit (for a worker
retiring at age 65) increased from $101.40 to $107.90 for a retired
worker (from $152.10 to $161.90 for a retired couple). The maim iam
monthly benefit for a male worker retiring in 1976 at age 65 rose from
$364 to $387.30 (from $546 to $581 for a retired couple). Special
age-72 payments increased from $69.60 to $74.10 a month (from
$104.40 to $111.20 for a couple).
In addition, 4.4 million supplemental security income recipients
(2.3 million aged and 2.1 million disabled and blind persons) will
receive an additional $315 million in benefits for fiscal 1977 under the
6.4 percent cost-of-living adjustment. Monthly SSI income standards
increased from $157.70 to $167.80 for qualifying indivi(luals and from
$236.60 to $251.80 for couples.
Most railroad retirement annuitants received a similar increase for
their tier one benefits.
EXPEDITE SOCIAL SECURITY HEARINGS AND APPEALS
(Enacted January 2, 1976)
Public Law 94-202 permits the Social Security Administration to
use existing supplemental security income hearing examiners to lear
social security and medicare cases until the end of 1978. In a((dition,
it makes the provisions governing hearings and judicial review inder
SSI virtually identical to those of the social security and medicare
programs. The time limitation for a person to request a hearing after
the dli.allowance of a claim is 60 days for social security and SSI
cases-an increase from 30 days for SSI claims and a decrease from 6
months for social security claims. It is estimated that this legislation
can help reduce the hearing backlog by 3,000 a month. Public Law
94-202 requires the Secretary of HtEW to give at least 18 months
notice of any proposed changes for payment of social security taxes )V
State and local governments.
SSI, MEDICAID, AND TITLE XX SOCIAL SERVICES
FOOD STAMP CONTINUATION FOR SSI RECIPIENTS
(Enacted June 2,, 1975)
Public Law 94-44 extends for 1 year (through June 30, 1976) food
stamp eligibility for SSI recipients.
CONTINUATION OF FOOD STAMPS THROUGH JUNE 1977 FOR SSI
(Enacted July 14, 1976)
Public Law 94-365 continues food stamp eligibility for SSI recipients
from June 30, 1976, to June 30, 1977.
PROTECTION FOR SSI DISASTER VICTIMS
(Enacted June 30, 1976)
Senator Church won approval of two amendments to Public Law
94-331 (allowing certain distributions of taxes by life insurance
companies) to assure that supplemental security income recipients
will not lose benefits because of a disaster. The first amendment
allows SSI recipients to receive their full benefits for 6 months if
they are forced to move into another's household because of a Presi-
dentially declared disaster. An SSI beneficiary's basic monthly grant
is ordinarily reduced by one-third ($55.93 for a qualifying individual
and $83.93 for a couple upon moving to another's household). In
addition, the Church amendment exempts from countable income
assistance received because of a disaster. This action was prompted by
the Teton Dam disaster in Idaho. The Church amendments apply to
disasters occurring from June 1, 1976, and before December 31, 1976,
in order to allow ample time to determine the potential cost for future
GROUP ELIGIBILITY FOR TITLE XX SOCIAL SERVICES
(Enacted September 7, 1976)
Public Law 94-401 permits group eligibility for title XX social
services when a State determines that substantially all members of a
group have incomes below 90 percent of the State median income.
The effect is to allow States to substitute group eligibility for individ-
ual means test in the delivery of social services to the elderly.
PREVENTION OF ONE-THIRD REDUCTION IN SSI BENEFITS FOR
(Enacted October 4, 1976)
The Tax Reform Act of 1976 (Public Law 94-455) also includes
Senator Church's amendment to permit SSI beneficiaries to receive
their full grant for 18 months when they move into another person's
household because of a Presidentially declared natural disaster oc-
curring during the last half of 1976. Ordinarily a needy aged, blind, or
disabled person's basic grant is reduced by one-third when he or she
resides in the household of another.
SSI PROVISIONS INCLUDED IN UNEMPLOYMENT
COMPENSATION AM ENI)MENTs
(Enacted October 20, 1976)
Public Law 94-566 makes important chances in the ileInpl)vent
insurance and the supplemental sectirit y incoine pogi'al-. Ai oiig the
major amendments affecting SSI"
Institutionalization olf a Spouse.--The maxilnim Inionthlly Fe(lenln
SSI payment for a couple (now $251.80) is re(uced to $192.80 wlNieii
one spouse is in a medicaid institution ($167.80 to the noniWstitilti()l-
alized spouse and a $25 personal needs allowance to the spoise in tlie
medicaid institution). The total amount payable to tle couple is odeter-
mined on the basis of this joint monthly income standard. Public Law
94-566 determines their income and benefit amount separately in tli-e
Protection of MXledicaid Eligibity.-Persons entitled to mne(licaid
because they receive SSI payments or State supplemental payments are
protected from losing medicaid covei age when there is a social security
cost-of-living adjustment. This provision becomes effective for bene-
fit increases starting June 1977.
SSI Payments to Persons in Institutons.-Under prior law, State
assistance furnished to an SSI recipient on the basis of need woul(
result in the reduction of the Federal benefit unless it was futrni -hed
in the form of a cash State supplementary benefit as defined in the law.
The amendment eliminates any reduction for any State assist amice
based on need. The amendment also modifies a provision reducing SSIJ
benefits if a State used State-funded benefits to provide remedial care
in an institution, rather than providing the care through the medic-
aid program. Under the amendment, this reduction would only occur
if the institution was not approved as meeting the appropriate State
or local standards. The amendment also eliminates a ban on SS pay-
ments to persons in public institutions serving no more than 16 person's
EXEMPT VALUE OF HOME FOR SSI ELIGIBILITY PURPOSES
(Enacted October 20, 1976)
Senator Clark and Representative Ketchum won approval of an
amendment to Public Law 94-569 to exempt the value of the home
for purposes of determining SSI eligibility. An individual SS1 recipi-
ent's countable resources cannot exceed 81,500 ($2,250 for coupless.
Under prior law and regulations, the home was coumited as a resource
to the extent the current fair market value exceeded S25,00fom
individuals living in continental United States and .35,000 fo
residents of Hawaii and Alaska.
HUMPHREY PASs-ALONG AMENDMENT AI)OPTEI)
(Enacted October 21, 1976)
Public Law 94-585 includes Senator Huimphrey's amen meltt to
require States that supplement SSI benefits to pass alcng the Federal
SSI cost-of-living increases. The purpose of this measure is to assure
that a qualifying individual's total income will increase by the amount
of the Federal SSI increase. However, States are allowed, as an alter-
native, to make changes (including reductions) in their State supple-
mentary benefits, provided that they do not reduce their overall
level of funding for the program. This provision becomes effective
in July 1977.
SSI COST-OF-LIVING INCREASES
(See discussion under Social Security)
THE HOUSING AUTHORIZATION ACT OF 1976
(Enacted August 3, 1976)
Housing for the elderly was advanced with the enactment of the
Housing Amendments of 1976 (Public Law 94-375). This legislation
did the following:
-Authorized $2.5 billion in loan authority for the section 202
program for fiscal years 1977 through 1979. This program pro-
vides long-term direct loans to nonprofit sponsors for the purpose
of developing housing suitably designed for elderly and handi-
capped persons. This level of funding should make possible the
development of approximately 30,000 units of housing annually.
-Revised the computation of the interest rate charged by the
Government to 202 sponsors. By changing the computation formula
to reflect the average interest rate on all interest-bearing obliga-
tions of the United States, the interest rate charged to 202
sponsors should drop from over 8 percent to about 6.5 percent.
The ultimate savings will go to the tenant in the form of lower
-Directed HUD to use actual development cost (rather than the
average cost of all comparable buildings, old or new, in the area,
as was the case) in determining the section 8 contract rents for
202 projects. This will allow 202 to avoid the problems prevalent
with the section 8 program, where fair market rents are too low
to allow new construction.
-Provided $100 million in new construction funds for public
housing. Forty percent of the heads of household of existing
public housing units are elderly persons.
-Provided $60 million in modernization funds for public housing,
funds which may be used to provide congregate (lining facilities
for elderly persons in existing public housing.
HEALTH REVENUE SHARING AND HEALTH SERVICES ACT
(Enacted July 29, 1975)
Public Law 94-66 includes four measures-advanced by Senators
Church, Muskie, and Moss-for older Americans. The Church amend-
ment authorizes an $8 million demonstration program for fiscal 1976
to establish new home health agencies an( to expain(I >ervice, of
existing units. The Mliiskie amlen(llent, creates a IliIle-l1eIller ( ~in-
inittee on Mental tiealth aind Illness of the Elderly to (:tioluet a st ady
and make reconmlenlations concerning (a) the fithire lleeIs for inei tal
health facilities, manpower, research, and tri'aiig; (b) provi(I i,,
appropriate care for elderly persons in mental iiinstiitiohs; amI ( c)
implementing the recommendIations of the White I llove ( onifereiice
on Aging to improve mental health care for the elderly. The first
Moss amendlinent authorizes funds to schools of nursing to provide
in-service training programs for mnrsing home aide- and or(leIlies. The
second Moss amen(Iment authorizes funding to traim nurse prac-
titioners in geriatrics to provide primary care in nursing homines.
MEDICARE DEADLINE AMENDMENTS
(Enacted December 31, 1975)
Public Law 94-182 (the medicare deadline amendments) made
several changes in medicare. Among the key provisions:
(1) Prevailing charges for physician fees in fiscal 1976 would not be
less than in fiscal 1975.
(2) The Secretary of HEW's authority is extended for 3 years to
grant temporary waivers of nurse staff requirements in small hospitals
in rural areas.
(3) A technical eiror in the 1973 Social Security Amendments is
corrected to permit annual changes in the part B pI:emium, beginning
on July 1, 1976. That adjustment could not, however, exceed the
social security cost-of-living percentage increase (8 percent) in ,luly
1975. This enabled the monthly part B premium to rise from $6.70 to
$7.20 in July 1976.
(4) A provision in the 1972 Social Security Amendments is repealed,
requiring the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program to
be rewritten to provide supplementary benefits for persons who have
medicare eligibility. Otherwise, medicare would no longer serve as the
primary payor of benefits. The effect of the change is that medicare
would continue as the primary payor of benefits without requiring
any change in the FEHB program. Federal retirees were also protected
from a major premium increase in January 1976.
(5) The 1967 Life Safety Code requirements applicable to medicare
and medicaid skilled nursing facilities are replaced with the 1973
edition of the (e. However, facilities currently qualified under the
1967 code, or State codes approved by the Secretary of ItEW, would
nct lose their eligibility for participation in medicare and medicaid.
(6) The Secretary of HtEW is directed to conduct a 4-month st udv
of the appropriateness of reimbursement under medicare for diagnostic
services performed by optometrists on patients whose eye lens have
been removed because of cataract surgery.
HEALTH MAINTENANCE ORGANIZATION AMENDMENTS OF 1976
(Enacted October 8, 1976)
The Health Maintenance Organization Amendments of 1976
(Public Law 94-460) provided a 1-year extension of the authority for
home health demonstration projects and the Committee on Mental
Health and Illness of the Elderly, established under Public Law 94-66
(see discussion under Health Revenue Sharing and Health Services
Act). The Church-Kennedy amendment authorizes $10 million for
the development or expansion of home health agencies and $5 million
for the training of professional and paraprofessional personnel to
provide home health services. The Muskie amendment grants the
Committee on Mental Health and Illness of the Elderly an additional
year to submit its report. Additional time is needed because the
administration named the nine committee members less than 2 months
before the deadline date for completing the report.
OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL
(Enacted October 15, 1976)
Public Law 94-505 establishes an Office of Inspector General in the
Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. The President will
appoint the Inspector General with the advice and consent of the
Senate. The Inspector General is responsible for conducting and
supervising audits, investigating program operations, and preventing
fraud and abuse in HEW's programs. Special emphasis will be directed
at eliminating fraud and abuse in the medicare and medicaid programs.
NATIONAL EMPLOY THE OLDER WORKER WEEK
(Enacted April 21, 1976)
Public Law 94-275 authorizes the President to designate the week
beginning March 13, 1977, as "National Employ the Older Worker
EMERGENCY JOBS PROGRAMS EXTENSION ACT
(Enacted October 1, 1976)
Public Law 94-444 provides a 1-year extension (through fiscal 1977)
of the title VI emergency public services jobs program (Comprehensive
Employment and Training Act). In addition, it directs that one-half of
the jobs that become vacant because of attrition must be filled by
individuals who (a) have been unemployed longer than 15 weeks, (b)
have exhausted their unemployment insurance benefits, or (c) are
receiving Aid for Families with Dependent Children. The act also
includes a Senate amendment (sponsored by Senatoms Williams,
Kennedy, Randolph, and Nelson) to direct sponsors of employment
projects to (rive special consideration to alternative working arrange-
ments-includinr flexible hours, shared time, and part-time jobs-
particularly for older persons and parents with young children.
PUBLIC WORKS AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ACT AMENDMENTS
(Enacted October 12, 1976)
Public Law 94-487 continues the programs under the Public Works
and Economic Development Act for 3 years with a $4.9 billion author-
ization. Of special significance for the elderly, the 1976 Amendments
continue the title X job opportunities program. Fliding for title X
would be triggered when the unemployment rate is 7 )er'ent )r greaterr
during the preceding calendar quarter. Nearly 65,00() jobs (l) n ca w
provided under the maximum annual authorization of $325 million.
REVENUE SHARING AMENDMENTS OF 1976
(Enacted October 13, 1976)
Public Law 94-488, extending general reveme sharing through
September 30, 1980, includes three changes which will dlirectly benefit
State and Federal programs for the elderly. The new law (1) repeals a
prohibition on the use of revenue-sharing funds as matchinlr n Of e, for
other Federal programs; (2) strengthens nondiscrimination provisions
of the law by adding a prohibition against discrimination on the basis
of age, effective upon implementation of the Age Discrimination Act of
1975 (Public Law 94-135); and (3) strengthens requirements for
elderly participation in decisions regarding allocation of funds by
directing that State and local governments shall endeavor to include
senior citizen groups with an opportunity to be heard prior to the
final allocation of any funds.
VETERANS' COMPENSATION AND SURVIVOR BENEFIT ACT OF 1975
(Enacted August 5, 1975)
The Veterans' Compensation and Survivor Benefit Act of 1975
provided an increase in benefits for 2.2 million disabled veterans and
390,000 survivors. Public Law 94-71 included the following major
provisions: (1) a 10-percent increase in compensation payments, for
veterans with disabilities rated up to 50 percent and a 12-percent
raise for disabilities of 60 )ercent or greater; (2) a 12-percent increase
in indemnity and compensation payments for widows an(d children:
and (3) a $25 boost in the annual clothing allowance (from $150 to
$175) for disabled veterans who wear or use prosthetic or orthope(tic
appliances (including a wheelchair) which tends to wear out clothing.
The increases were effective August 1, 1975.
VETERANS' AND SURVIVORS' PENSION ADJUSTMENT ACT OF 1975
(Enacted December 23, 1975)
Public Law 94-169 l)rovidled a temporary 8-percent increase in non-
service-connected disability l)ensions for veterans and their widows,
effective from January 1976 (for checks delivered in February)
through September 30, 1976. The Veterans' and Survivors' Pension
Adjustment Act also raised the countable income standards from
$3,000 to $3,300 for qualifying individuals and from $4,200 to $4,500
for veterans or widows with dependents.
VETERANS' AND SURVIVORS' PENSION ADJUSTMENT ACT OF 1976
(Enacted September 30, 1976)
Public Law 94-432 (1) makes permanent an 8-percent pension
increase enacted into law in 1975 (which was scheduled to expire on
October 1, 1976; (2) provides a 7-percent pension hike (for checks
delivered in February 1977); (3) raises the annual countable income
limitations (from $3,300 to $3,540 for veterans and widows without
dependents and from $4,500 to $4,760 for veterans and widows with
dependents) to provide protection against loss of VA pensions because
of the 6.4 percent social security cost-of-living adjustment; (4) provides
a 25-percent added differential in pension rates for veterans 78 or
older; (5) increases the aid and attendance allowance from $69 to $74
a month for widows and dependent parents and from $133 to $155 a
month for veterans; and (6) directs the Veterans' Administration to
submit recommendations to the Congress to assure a level of income
for eligible veterans and widows at or above the minimum standard
VETERANS' DISABILITY COMPENSATION AND SURVIVOR BENEFITS
ACT OF 1976
(Enacted September 30, 1976)
Public Law 94-433 provides an 8-percent increase in compensation
payments for veterans with service-connected disabilities and their
dependents. The act also increases the annual clothing allowance from
$175 to $190 for veterans with a disability that causes clothing to wear
out or tear.
ALLOTMENTS OR ASSIGNMENTS FROM CIVIL SERVICE ANNUITY
(Enacted December 23, 1975)
Public Law 94-166 permits an individual entitled to a civil service
annuity to make allotments or assignments of amounts from his or
her annuity for purposes that the Civil Service Comnision considers
ENROLLMENT BY SURVIVING SPOUSE IN CIVIL SERVICE HEALTH
(Enacted July 6, 1976)
Public Law 94-342 permits a surviving spouse whose civil service
annuity was terminated because of remarriage to enroll in a civil
service health benefits plan upon restoration of the spouse's annuity if
the spouse was covered by a civil service health benefits plan at the
time the annuity was terminated.
ELIMINATION OF 1-PERCENT ADD-ON FOR CIVIL SERVICE ANNUITANTS
(Enacted October 1, 1976)
The Fiscal 1977 Legislative Branch Appropriations Act (Public
Law 94-440) includes a provision to eliminate the 1-l)ercent add-on
for civil service annuitants. The act provides a new method of com-
puting adjustments semiannually on the basis of the actual cost-of-
living increase. The computation will be made each January and 'July.
Annuity checks reflecting the cost-of-living adjustments will be m ailed(I
no later than April (for the January computation) and October (for
the July computation).
CRIME CONTROL ACT OF 1976
(Enacted October 15, 1976)
Public Law 94-503 amends the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe
Streets Act of 1968 to insure that the problem of crimes against the
elderly is addressed by comprehensive planning and adequate funding.
The importance of this new emphasis was underscored by a victim-
ization survey released by the Department of Justice in 1976 which
revealed that, for many categories of "street crime," the rate of victim-
ization was rising at a much higher rate for citizens 65 and older than
for the general population.
The Crime Control Act requires that each State establish a plan-
ning agency which is charged with developing a comprehensive plan
for the improvement of law enforcement and criminal justice, co-
ordinating State activities, and establishing priorities. The plan
developed by this agency must meet certain criteria for the State
to be eligible for Federal anticrime funding. One of those requirements
is that the plan must provide for the development of programs and
projects to prevent crimes against the elderly, unless the State plan-
ning agency makes an affirmative finding that this requirement is
inappropriate. The qualifying language is intended only to prevent a
misallocation of resources where it can be shown that there is no
substantial problem involving crime against the elderly in a State.
The grants for elderly crime prevention apply to both permissive and
mandatory sections of the act.
In addition to the above requirement, the act establishes an Office
of Community Anti-Crime Programs within the Law Enforcement
Assistance Administration (LEAA). This Office is charged with
providing: (1) technical assistance to community and citizens groups
to enable them to apply for grants coordinatingg its activities with
other Federal agencies and programss, and (2) information about
successful programs to citizen and community groups. Advocacy
groups representing older citizens should be able to use the Office's
resources to assure that the crime-related problems of the elderly
are adequately addressed within their communities. They should
also be aware that the State planning agency is required by the act
to assure that citizen and community organizations participate at
all levels of the planning process.
LEAA is extended by the act through fiscal year 1979, with $880
million authorized for fiscal 1977 and $800 million for each of the
succeeding 2 years.
EQUAL CREDIT OPPORTUNITY ACT AMENDMENTS
(Enacted March 23, 1976)
Public Law 94-239 prohibits credit discrimination against credit
applicants because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital
status, or age. A creditor is permitted, however, to inquire about an
applicant's age if the purpose is to determine the amount and probable
continuance of income levels. The law also requires creditors to respond
to credit applications within 30 days and entitles any applicant who
is refused credit to a statement of specific reasons for denial.
CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION IMPROVEMENTS ACT
(Enacted May 11, 1976)
Public Law 94-284 includes a provision directing the Consumer
Product Safety Commission to consider the special needs of elderly
and handicapped persons to determine whether they would be ad-
versely affected by the- promulgation of any rule.
REMOVAL OF ARCHITECTURAL BARRIERS
PUBLIC BUILDINGS COOPERATIVE USE ACT OF 1976
(Enacted October 18, 1976)
Title II of the Public Buildings Cooperative Use Act of 1976,
Public Law 94-541, amends the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 to
extend the scope of that law and to strengthen its effective implementa-
tion and enforcement. The 1968 act established as national policy
that Federal buildings be accessible to those 18 million Americans-a
large percentage of whom are elderly-who require special design
features in order to utilize these structures. The 1976 amendments
incorporate the recommendations of a General Accounting Office
study which found that both the letter and spirit of the law were
The Public Buildings Cooperative Use Act imposes a clear statutory
mandate that the Federal agencies named in the act insure accessi-
bility. The law's coverage is extended to include all Government-
leased buildings intended for public use or in which the handicapped
might be employed, all private structures leased by the Federal
Government for public housing, and the U.S. Postal Service. The
act requires that (1) the General Services Administration issue an
annual report on the status of the Architectural Barriers Act activities,
(2) the named Federal agencies establish a system of continuing
surveys to insure compliance, and (3) the Architectural and Tran>-
portation Barriers Compliance Board report to the appropriate
congressional committees during the first week of each January on
its activities and actions to insuie compliance with the prescribed
FUNDING FOR OLDER AMERICANS ACT
lIn millions of dollars]
ter (July I to
Fiscal 1976 Sept. 30, 1976) Fiscal 1977
Older Americans Act:
Social services_ 93 31.25 122
Model projects ------------------------------------ 13.8 2.5 12
Adm inistration ------------------------------------ 17.035 4.25 17
Title IV: 26.5
Training.- .10 4 (1)
Research-------------- 8 2 ()
Gerontology centers --------------------------- 1 1 (1)
Title V: Senior centers ... 0 5 20
Nutrition- -. --- -- 125 31.25 203.525
Operating level -_._.__._ .__.-.--------.............. (187.5) (187.5) (225)
Federal Council on Aging-- ..575 .150 .575
Total-- -------------------------------------268.41 81.4 401.6
Title IX: Senior employment ------------------------- 255.9 () 90.6
I Amounts not specified in the fiscal 1977 Labor-HEW Appropriations Act. However, the Administration on Aging plan
to allocate $14,200,000 for training, $8,500,000 for research, and $3,800,000 for multidisciplinary centers of gerontology
2 Funding is available from July 1, 1976, to June 30, 1977.
3 Funding is available from July 1, 1977, to June 30, 1978.
FUNDING FOR OTHER AGING PROGRAMS
[In millions of dollars]
ter (July I to
Program or act Fiscal 1976 Sept. 30, 1976) Fiscal 1977
National Institute on Aging ------------------------------- 19. 388 4.048 30
Community schools ------------------------------------- 3. 553 0 3.553
Domestic Volunteer Service Act:
RSVP ----------------------------------------------- 17.5 4.708 19
Foster Grandparents ---------------------------------- 28. 347 3.410 34
Senior Companions ---------------------------------- 3.58 1.353 3.8
Community Services Act:
Senior Opportunities and Services ----------------------- 10 2.5 10
Community Food and Nutrition ------------------------- 26.2 6.55 27.5
Age Discrimination in Employment (enforcement) ------------- 2.215 .561 2.289
Service Corps of Retired Executives ------------------------- .485 .158 1.3
FUNDING FOR KEY HUD PROGRAMS AFFECTING ELDERLY
tin millions of dollars]
Fiscal 1976 and
ter (July 1 to
Program Sept. 30, 1976) Fiscal 1977
Sec. 202: Housing for the Elderly --------------- -- 750 750
New construction ---------------------------------------------------- 10 85
Modernization ------------------------------------------------------ 20 35
No contracts were entered into in fiscal year 1976 for new public housing units. However, outlays may have been made
by HUD for previous commitments.
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
1I Ill 1il ll111 11 li11 l1111 UlillB 11iiHiB I l 11I
3 1262 09113 1184