Sequestration’s Impact on Alameda County Senior Services

Sequestration’s Impact on Alameda County Senior Services 
What We Know and What We Don’t Know

The automatic cuts known as sequestration took effect on March 1, 2013. Under the requirements of the 2011 Budget Control Act (amended in January) both defense and non-defense programs were automatically cut, reducing total funding by $85.3 billion in the first year. Half the cuts were made to non-defense programs, including a cut to discretionary appropriations of 5%, or $25.8 billion.

Nestled in the discretionary budget category are programs funded through the Older Americans Act – the home and community-based supports that served over 49,000 seniors in Alameda County last year. But that’s where the hard data ends and our frustrating search for information begins.

What will the impact of sequester cuts be on Older American Act-funded programs in Alameda County? With only two months remaining in the current fiscal year and every organization that provides OAA services needing to plan their budgets and programs for next fiscal year, we don’t know. California’s Department of Aging has released only sketchy information to our local Area Agency on Aging. Worse, the CDA has waffled. First, the CDA described an approach to program cuts that would allow the AAA to buffer the current fiscal year impact with annual One-Time-Only funds, but last week the CDA changed its approach but offered no concrete details.

Without knowing the impact, our ability to marshal resources to mitigate the cuts is limited. SSC has begun calling on our colleagues in Sacramento for help in seeking information. We may be coordinating legislative visits in the near future and will ask stakeholders to join us. Stay tuned.

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