Family Support – Dept. of Labor Clarifies that Siblings May Be Eligible for FMLA

The Department of Labor has clarified when siblings may be eligible to take job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  For the first time, the Department has included siblings among those eligible for FMLA job-protected leave under certain circumstances.  The Arc joined other disability advocates last year in advocating for the eligibility clarification.  The Arc is pleased with this change in interpretation of the law, but will continue to seek a full legislative fix to ensure that siblings are covered under FMLA. See the updated guidance documents:

  • Fact Sheet #28B: FMLA leave for birth, placement, bonding, or to care for a child with a serious health condition on the basis of an “in loco parentis” relationship.
  • FAQ:  Miscellaneous Questions

Family Support – Bills Introduced in Senate and House to Support Caregivers

The bipartisan Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act (S. 1719) was introduced in the Senate on July 8, by Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). A companion bill (H.R. 3099) was introduced in the House the following week by Representatives Gregg Harper (R-MS) and Kathy Castor (D-FL). The Arc supports the RAISE Family Caregivers Act as it would implement the bipartisan recommendation of the federal Commission on Long-Term Care, that Congress require the development of a national strategy to support family caregivers. The bill would create an advisory body to bring together relevant federal agencies and others from the private and public sectors to advise and make recommendations. The advisory body would identify specific actions that government, communities, providers, employers, and others can take to recognize and support family caregivers, and be updated annually

Family Support – Senate Passes Older Americans Act, Expanding Eligibility for National Family Caregiver Support Program

On July 16, the Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act (S. 192) passed the Senate without amendment. S. 192 is sponsored by Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chair Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) and Senators Richard Burr (R-NC), and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT).   Among many other things, the bill includes a fix to the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP) which provides information to caregivers about available services, assistance in accessing services, individual counseling, support groups, caregiver training, respite care, and supplemental services.   S. 192 would extend NFCSP eligibility to older (age 55 and over) caregivers of their adult children (age 19 to 59) with disabilities. The House is expected to take up the measure in the near future.

Family Support – Bills Introduced in Senate and House to Support Caregivers

The bipartisan Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act (S. 1719) was introduced in the Senate on July 8, by Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). A companion bill (H.R. 3099) was introduced in the House the following week by Representatives Gregg Harper (R-MS) and Kathy Castor (D-FL). The Arc supports the RAISE Family Caregivers Act as it would implement the bipartisan recommendation of the federal Commission on Long-Term Care, that Congress require the development of a national strategy to support family caregivers. The bill would create an advisory body to bring together relevant federal agencies and others from the private and public sectors to advise and make recommendations. The advisory body would identify specific actions that government, communities, providers, employers, and others can take to recognize and support family caregivers, and be updated annually

Volunteer Caregiver Bill Introduced

H.R. 2668, the National Care Corps Act of 2015 was introduced on June 4 by Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM). This bill would establish a National Care Corps through which qualified volunteers provide care, companionship, and other services to seniors and individuals with disabilities. The measure was referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce.

Date Set for 2015 White House Conference on Aging

Last week, Secretary Burwell of Health & Human Services (HHS) announced that the 2015 White House Conference on Aging will be held on July 13th, 2015. The conference will bring together government officials, members of the public, caregivers, older Americans, business leaders, and community leaders to discuss a vision for aging in the next decade.  A number of disability-related issues are expected to be addressed during this conference, including aging caregivers, the growing need for family support, and reforms to the long term services and supports system.

If you are interested, please see the 2015 White House Conference on Aging video announcement, visit http://www.whitehouseconferenceonaging.gov.

Congressional Caregiving Caucus Launched

A bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Caucus on Caregiving was launched on March 3 with a news conference on Capitol Hill.   The Assisting Caregivers Today (ACT) Caucus was created to help bring greater attention to the needs of family caregivers who help seniors and people with disabilities to live independently, educate Congress on these issues, and engage legislators to help lead to solutions.  The four Co-Chairs of the Caucus – Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Michael Bennett (D-CO) and Representatives Diane Black (R-TN) and Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM)  – spoke at the event as did caregivers from each of  their states.  This effort has been supported by AARP and more than 20 national organizations, including The Arc.   Advocates are encouraged to ask their Members of Congress to join the caucus.   Watch the webcast of the event at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6N7XL5LzaXo.

Reauthorization of Older Americans Act approved by Senate Committee

The Senate reauthorization of the Older Americans Act (S. 192) advanced another step last week when the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee voted to approve the legislation.  S. 192 is sponsored by HELP Committee Chair Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT).    Among many other things, it includes a fix to the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP)  which provides information to caregivers about available services, assistance in accessing services, individual counseling, support groups, and caregiver training, respite care, and supplemental services.   The Arc supports this legislation as it would extend NFCSP eligibility to older caregivers of their adult children (age 19 to 59) with disabilities.  The next step will be consideration by the full Senate.

Older Americans Act Reauthorization Introduced in Senate; Expands Eligibility for Family Support Services

The Senate reauthorization of the Older Americans Act (S. 192) was introduced on January 20 by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Chair Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Among many other things, it includes a fix to the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP)  which provides information to caregivers about available services, assistance in accessing services, individual counseling, support groups, and caregiver training, respite care, and supplemental services.   The Arc supports this legislation as it would extend NFCSP eligibility to older caregivers of their adult children (age 19 to 59) with disabilities.