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STATEMENT OF HOWARD E. STONE
Good morning. My name is Howard Stone and I am Co-Chairman the Council of Organizational Representatives (COR) which is a coalition of national and regional organizations dedicated to improving, the quality of life for deaf and hard of hearing people. COR provides both a forum and a coordination whereby information is shared, plans made, and collaborative and mutually supportive efforts.
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I lost most of my hearing at age 19. At age 49 I became profoundly deaf. I know what it is to struggle with severe to profound hearing loss to: get an education, succeed in a highly competitive workplace; to raise a family of four children; and to have any energy left over. Believe me, the price is high for the entire family.
COR supports the following programs in the amounts indicated for Fiscal Year 1992;
National Institute of Deafness and other
In 1989, there were 254 applications for research projects in the NIDCD. By 1991 the number was up to 472. We expect 562 applications for 1992. No other institute at the National Institutes of Health is having that kind of surge. COR Supports 201 million for NIDCD in FY 1992, which would permit an increase in non competing grants as well as new competing grants. Appropriations in this amount would provide for an additional $11 million for centers, including: ten clinical centers; ten Research and Training Centerss, five Exploratory Research Awards and five core centers. It would increase training personnel and permit a small intramural program to expand ongoing activities. Finally, NIDCD would suggest a public education campaign to prevent noise-induced hearing loss. This COR recommendation is necessary if NIDCD is to carry out its mission of research and training for the large and growing population of Americans with deafness and other communication disorders.
Individuals with Disabilities Education
COR recommends $103.25 million for Special Education Personnel Development in FY 1992. Unless a major campaign to recruit, prepare and retain special education, early intervention, and related services personnel, the future capability of a nation to educate children with disabilities, including hearing impairment, is seriously threatened. While the federal government cannot be expected to assume responsibility for the solution, it can be a meaningful partner. COR recommends an appropriation of the full authorization level for FY 1992 of 21.17 million for grants to the Historically Black Colleges and universities and other institutions of higher education having a minority student enrollment of at least 25 percent. Support for this authority can assist significantly in achieving a critically-needed improvement in the representation of persons of culturally and linguistically diverse heritage among special educators.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.,
State and Local Grant Program: PL 94-142: 3,996.90 billion; PL 89-313: 170 million
George Bush has declared his intention to be remembered as the "Education President." Yet for the federal program of educational support for the Nation's four and one-half million children in special education, the President requests a meager $121.9 million increase for a program that requires a dramatic
The original fiscal promise of P.L. 94-142 is determined by the funding formula, which at 40 percent of the national average per pupil expenditure (NAPPE) times the number of children being served, would now be generating approximately $7.99 billion in authorization for Actual appropriations have never provided more than 12 percent Congress' FY 1991 (school year 1991-1992) appropriation, placing this program at approximately 9 percent of NAPPE.
COR believes that this $3.996 billion.
program should have an appropriation of an appropriation for FY 1992 would mean a realization of 20 percent of the NAPPE times the number of children projected to be served in school year 1992-93. Because the federal share has diminished, the burden has shifted to state and local governments at a time when school budgets are already under stress from the rapidly increasing special education costs. With limited funds, states and local communities continue to face many challenges, including children affected with illegal drugs, alcohol, and the Aids virus. We are concerned that the escalating costs of special education have severely limited the capacity to provide exceptional children with appropriate programs and services.
Rehabilitation Services: a. Vocational
Rehabilitation State Grants: 2,500.00 million;
a. COR_supports an appropriation of 2.500.0 million for section 110, amd $70 million for Basic State Grants in FY 1992. Due to scarce resources, State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies are only able to serve approximately one out of every 20 eligible individuals with disabilities. The benefits accrued from the provision of rehabilitation services may be as intangible as a heightened sense of personal worth or as a return on the taxpayer's investment. The Rehabilitation Program increases revenues for all levels of government, and decreases the burden on income maintenance programs. Due to the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a tremendous resource strain on State Rehabilitation Agencies will occur over the next three to four years, as implementation of that Act progresses.
b. COR recommends 1992.
50 million for Rehabilitation Training in FY This amount is needed 1992 to help end rehabilitation personnel shortages and to meet the added demand for "qualified" personnel to work with emerging and underserved persons with specific disabilities. To meet Congressional expectations and to enhance the provision of rehabilitation services for persons with disabilities, it is imperative that Congress provide full support for this program.
National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation
COR recommends 70 million for NIDRR, an increase of $10 million, which is about 15 percent over the FY 1991 level. This level would enable the Institute to carry out the new initiatives specified in the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1986.
The recommendation would enable the NIDRR to expand its educational and technical assistance effort regarding the ADA and to provide critically needed increases for the 60 research centers it funds which have had no annual increases in their five year budget.
COR supports all programs designed to impact on improving the quality of life for deaf and hard of hearing people including technological aids for special education and technology related assistance grants. We thank you for your hard work on our behalf and we appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today.
Senator HARKIN. Rocky, thank you very much for your testimony And obviously these are all programs of importance to many disabled Americans, and specifically, the various groups that you represent in the deafness and hard-of-hearing community. So we take your testimony seriously, and obviously we are going to do our best. Mr. STONE. Well, thank you very much. I think the ADA is beginning to really impact on the thinking of an awful lot of people in this country, and you all should be very proud of that.
Senator HARKIN. Thank you very much, Mr. Stone.
STATEMENT OF MARVIN C. WEBB, DIRECTOR, GREAT RIVER BEND AREA AGENCY ON AGING, DAVENPORT, IA
Senator HARKIN. Next is Marvin Webb, director of the Great River Bend Area Agency on Aging from Davenport, IA.
Mr. WEBB. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Because I have submitted previously written testimony, I want to use that as an outline and just highlight some comments that you already have before you.
Each time the Older Americans Act has been reauthorized, Congress has been responsive in focusing services and reaffirming policy direction in support of the Nation's elderly. Congress has also continually asked the network of area agencies on aging to remain accountable while offering the flexibility to tailor services implementation to local situations. These are key principles that I would encourage this subcommittee to keep in mind as it considers the appropriations for Older Americans Act services.
Fiscal year 1991 Older Americans Act appropriations reflected the first substantial funding increase in over a decade. This was a very welcome increase, but it was not enough to meet neither the services mandate of the law nor the increasing numbers of older persons nationwide.
Literally, older persons in rural areas and some urban centers are outliving support structures of their immediate communities. Consolidating funding and funding the Older Americans Act services to the maximum extent possible provides for maintenance and continued development of the continuum of support services to the Nation's senior citizens.
In 1989 Iowa had an estimated 530,000 persons aged 60 years and above, nearly 20 percent of the State's total population. This placed Iowa third behind Florida and Pennsylvania as States having the highest percentage of their population in this age category. Of Iowa's over 60 years population, there were 139 females per 100 males.
Iowa ranked first in the Nation regarding the percent of its population age 85 years and above, or nearly 10 percent of its senior residents and 2 percent of the State's total population. Of this age group, again, there are substantially more females than males.
The good news is that Iowa ranks only second behind Hawaii in life expectancy. The bad news is that the statistics for Iowa bring to mind a scenario of an 85-year-old widow isolated in a small town, on a farm, or in a central city area without access to community services.
From my perspective, and that of my colleagues in Iowa, I would offer the following recommendations regarding fiscal year 1992 appropriations for the Older Americans Act programs.
First and foremost, increase funding. With consideration for inflation, Older Americans Act funded programs have hardly had maintenance funding from year to year during the 1980's. For example, 3(b) supportive services funding has increased only slightly less than 10 percent during that same period.
Although other funded programs have been added, very significant programs such as ombudsman, title 3(d) and 3(g). Nutrition has been increased as well. Title 3(b) provides basic outreach and access services for senior citizens. An increase for fiscal year 1991 comparable to that received in fiscal year 1992 would have a significant impact. The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging will provide additional information to this committee following my testimony.
I would highlight some programs that I would like to see continued funding for, at least at the same level as this past year: the Older Worker Program, a very significant program. We work with people in extreme situations of need. We would like to see you increase funding for the State Ombudsman Program. We would like to see you increase funding for transportation for senior citizens, either through renewal of urban mass transit administration or channeling those funds through area agencies on aging.
The issue of equitable funding, distribution of funding throughout States is also very critical, keeping in mind that we have a mandate to serve low-income rural and low-income minority. Also, outreach and counseling are critical as you can look at consolidated funding under the aging network, for example, outreach for supplemental security income and counseling for health promotion.
With regard to health promotion, I think this committee is considering the issue of what it costs not to do something in the area of health care prevention, rather than the cost of taking some action.
My final comment to the committee would be to use as strong as language as you can in your recommendations encouraging the coordination of funded programs. And I give an example of what we have done in the State of Iowa, for example in the area of longterm care we have one program where we have 42 participating agencies. And I would like to say we also include the city of Bettendorf Police Department in that program serving seniors in that area.
[The statement follows:]
STATEMENT OF MARVIN C. WEBB
Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee, my name is Marvin Webb. I am Director of the Great River Bend Area Agency on Aging, serving Clinton, Scott and Muscatine Counties, Iowa. I am grateful for the Committee's interest in obtaining comments from persons involved in different areas of service to older adults. Each time the Older Americans Act has been reauthorized, Congress has been responsive in focusing services and reaffirming policy direction in support of the nation's elderly. With each reauthorization, Congress has also reaffirmed a network of State Units on Aging and local Area Agencies on Aging. Congress has continually asked this network to remain accountable while offering the flexibility to tailor services implementation to local situations. These are key principles I would encourage Congress to continue as it considers both the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act and the appropriations for its services.
Fiscal Year '91 Older Americans Act appropriations reflected the first substantial funding increase in over a decade. This was a very welcome increase in helping to maintain the continuum of community based support services for older persons. It is just as important for Congress to invest in this services continuum as it is for communities to invest in their infrastructure, maintaining streets, water and other services. Area Agencies on Aging are involved in adding to the social services infrastructures of communities, the less visible services yet those which contribute significantly to the quality of life for the older person and for the caregiver of a dependent adult.
This comparison of services systems is meaningful when we consider the needs of an aging population within both urban and rural areas. The situation, however, is intensified in rural Iowa in communities affected by recent changes in agriculture and related business and industry. Businesses have closed and younger persons have relocated, leaving elders without the necessary economic and social supports. Literally, elders in rural and some urban centers are outliving support structures of their communities. Consolidating and funding the services to the maximum extent possible provides for maintenance of the infrastructure of support services to the nation's senior citizens. In 1989, Iowa had an estimated 553,000 persons age sixty and above. Nearly twenty percent of the state's total population, this placed Iowa third behind Florida and Pennsylvania as states having the highest percentage of their population in this age category. Of Iowa's over sixty population, there were 139 females per 100 males.
Iowa ranked first in the nation regarding the percent of its older population age eightyfive and above, or nearly ten percent of its senior residents and two percent of the state's total population. Of this age grouping, there are 276 females per 100 males.
Despite the fact that Iowa ranks only second behind Hawaii in life expectancy, with an average exceeding seventy five years, the statistics for Iowa bring to mind a scenario of an eighty-five year old widow isolated in a small town, on a farm, or in a central city area without access to community based services. The situation for Iowa is even more critical when this trend is considered: in 1980 Iowa's age sixty population was 1.461% of the nation's older population, but in 1989 it was reduced to 1.321%. The latter is approximately equal to the state's portion of Older Americans Act funding.
From my perspective and that of my colleagues in Iowa, I would offer the following recommendations regarding FY '92 appropriations for and reauthorization of the Older Americans Act programs:
OLDER WORKER PROGRAMS
At least maintain the FY '91 funded level of the Title V older worker program. It is estimated that 8,000 seniors nationally will lose their jobs if the proposed $47 million reduction is accepted. We work hard at placing enrolled older workers in permanent unsubsidized jobs within both the public and private sectors, but without the advocacy support of trained aggressive Older Worker Specialists to help them it can not be assumed that they will find private sector jobs. My own area works cooperatively with Job Service of Iowa and the local Administrative Entity for the Job Training Partnership Act to combine older worker program resources of each under the administration of the Area Agency on Aging. The Department of Labor has reviewed our program and considers it a model for pooling resources.
STRENGTHEN THE STATE OMBUDSMAN PROGRAM
Take steps to strengthen the role of the Ombudsman to specifically include in Sec. 307(12)(A)(i) of the Act mediating between the nursing home administrator and the resident and his/her family. A University of Iowa nursing home consultant