NCOA: 7 Top Trends Affecting Benefits Programs for 2013

Many key benefits programs witnessed changes in 2013—both good and bad. Here, we summarize the major developments, and how you can help your clients to maximize their benefits.

1. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) faces uncertain future

SNAP recipients saw a decrease in their monthly benefits beginning in November due to the expiration of stimulus funding. In addition, political wrangling over the Farm Bill has left the future of SNAP uncertain, with draft legislation in Congress proposing to significantly cut funding and limit access to the program.

On the plus side, older adults can still take advantage of several deductions for medical expenses and shelter that can help them maximize their benefit amounts. And NCOA has received a generous grant from the Walmart Foundation to provide grants to organizations and senior centers to help seniors enroll in SNAP. Learn how to apply.

2. Sequester + government shutdown = bad news for benefits

The across-the-board cuts known as the sequester have already cut $1.5 trillion in discretionary programs, including the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Section 202 Housing for the Elderly, and services offered by the Older Americans Act. The 16-day federal government shutdown in October also resulted in employee furloughs and stalled progress on delivery of benefits.

However, progress has been made on several fronts: a new reauthorization proposal for the Older Americans Act has gained bipartisan support in the Senate, and on Dec. 18, Congress passed a bipartisan budget deal that will avert another shutdown, and relieve some sequester cuts.


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