Take Action on AB 138!

From our colleagues at Insight Center for Community Economic Development (formerly NEDLC):

AB 138 is ON the Governor’s desk.  We need all AB 138 letters of support faxed to the Governor’s office ASAP!
Governor Jerry Brown’s Fax Number: 916.558.3177

AB 138 requires the use of an important, 21st century planning tool, the Elder Index, that will
help policymakers and local planners make smarter, data-driven decisions with existing, limited
resources. The Elder Index calculates what it costs older adults to meet their basic daily needs,
without any public supports, in each county.

Why is this bill necessary?

  • The California Association of Area Agencies on Aging, the statewide association of all but one of the Area Agencies on Aging (AAA), is sponsoring this bill, and is asking for this law that requires them to use the Elder Index
  •  The Department of Aging has been non-committal for three years about an administrative fix
  •  Without a law, all Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) will not be using the Elder Index, leading to inefficiencies and inaccurate data statewide and county-by-county
  • Government should not be using inaccurate data and seniors deserve to be accuratelycounted

Currently, the AAAs are required to use the Federal Poverty Guidelines, a 1960s measure of
economic deprivation that includes only the cost of food, to plan for the needs of older adults in
their communities. However, in recognizing the inadequacy of the Federal Poverty Guidelines,
the AAAs must cobble together their federal plan using different tools. The use of these various
tools results in area plans to the state that is similar to comparing “apples” to “oranges”. So,
to save time and money, and to ensure consistent reporting, the state’s planners are calling
for and need a mandate to use the Elder Index when they create their federal forecasts of
California senior needs.

Why sign this bill? If you can’t measure the problem, the old adage goes, you can’t
manage it. With the 65 and over population expected to double by 2020 in California, the
state cannot afford to continue using outdated and inaccurate tools, such as the 1950’s-
based Federal Poverty Guidelines, to make decisions about senior policies. The Elder Index
is a planning tool which allows state and local aging agencies to use limited dollars more

Finally, the bill has been significantly amended over the last three years so that it does not cost the state any General Fund dollars. It does not expand eligibility for any program and it does not change any funding allocations. What it does do is provide CDA and the AAAs a small but powerful planning tool at a time when no cost solutions are hard to find. With aging programs either eliminated (e.g. Linkages, Adult Day Healthcare) or reduced (e.g. SSI-SSP grants), AB 138 is the least that California can do for its seniors. The vast majority of older Californians have played by the rules, worked their entire lives, raised their kids and grandkids, and now they deserve to age with dignity and economic well-being.

The above material was compiled and written by Insight Center for Community Economic Development (formerly NEDLC). Please disseminate the information and urge your organization and their members to fax, visit, or write letters (no emails) to Governor Brown it would make a difference for the future of our seniors. Our visibility is imperative in this fight to better seniors’ quality of life.

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  • LAAAC is managed by St. Barnabas Senior Services; Funded, in part, by Archstone Foundation.
  • St. Barnabas Senior Services

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