Other Free Encyclopedias » Medicine Encyclopedia » Aging Healthy - Part 3 » Older Americans Act - Development Of The Older Americans Act, Issues Under The Older Americans Act, Mission And Benefits

Older Americans Act - Intergovernmental And Administrative Issues

aging oaa federal funding grants

In the formal terms of federalism, the OAA is a federal-state grant-in-aid (GIA) program whereby the federal government makes funds available to the states and requires that they follow certain guidelines and contribute monies of their own on a matching basis. Most of the grants initiated in the 1960s—such as the OAA—tended to be "categorical," that is they contained quite rigid federal requirements in order for states to receive federal funding. Because states were simultaneously administering many grants, they often found coordinating different federal requirements very cumbersome. As a result, more recent GIAs are "block grants," giving states much more flexibility in grant administration (Holt). This trend has held in the case of the OAA, where today states enjoy much greater choice in services to be delivered (e.g., home or congregate meals) and around agreements to be struck with other state-level agencies (e.g., the state Medicaid agency).

This trend in federalism, new pressures being brought on state governments by increasing numbers of frail elders living in their states, and twenty years of nearly level federal funding for the OAA have combined to make the states increasingly important in aging-related policymaking. Unlike the early years of the OAA, when the states were heavily dependent on both OAA dollars and AoA (Administration on Aging) approvals, the situation today finds the states in the lead in the design and funding of new programs with both the OAA and AoA playing a secondary role. Problematic as this might seem, ironically, it is in keeping with what OAA's founders actually had in mind in 1965. Their hope was that the OAA would stimulate initiative and innovation in state governments and that, having served as a catalyst, the OAA itself might become a less central player (Hudson, 1995).

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