Title III, Older Americans Act:

Administration on Aging Funding Method Underfunds High-Elderly-Growth States

HEHS-00-107: Published: Jun 30, 2000. Publicly Released: Jul 31, 2000.

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Kathryn G. Allen
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Administration on Aging's (AOA) method for distributing Older Americans Act title III grants, focusing on the: (1) extent to which AOA's distribution of funding differs from the distribution that would take place if funds were allocated according to the statute; and (2) effect of AOA's funding distribution method on states with more rapidly growing elderly populations.

GAO noted that: (1) the AOA procedure for distributing title III funds results in unequal funding per elderly person across states to a much greater degree than would be the result using the statutory formula; (2) for example, using AOA's approach, Arizona's fiscal year (FY) 2000 funding per elderly person is 33 percent less than Iowa's, while strict adherence to the statute would result in a 5-percent difference; (3) moreover, under the AOA procedure, most states with above-average growth in number of elderly residents received less funding than called for by the statute; (4) for example, for FY 2000, Florida received $6.8 million less, California, $3.8 million less, Texas, $3.7 million less, and Arizona, $3.2 million less; (5) in total, using the statutory rather than the AOA method would redirect $27 million of Older Americans Act title III FY 2000 state allotment funds (3.3 percent) to states that have experienced above-average growth in their elderly populations; and (6) when GAO first reported on this issue in 1994, the amount that would have been redirected using the statutory method in FY 1993 would have been $17 million (2.2 percent of that year's title III allotments).

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Congress enacted GAO's suggestion to modify the funding process in P.L. 106-501 on November 13, 2000.

    Matter: If Congress wants to ensure that current population data on elderly populations are the primary factor used in determining how grant funds under title III of the Older Americans Act are to be distributed among states, it should consider stipulating this by amending the statute. Such an amendment could specify that title III allotments be computed first on the basis of states' current shares of the elderly population. Then, any state allotments that do not meet the hold-harmless or small-state minimum percentage share would be increased, while allotments of all other states would be proportionally reduced as necessary to fund the statutory minimums.


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