Collins’ Alzheimer’s bill signed into law as part of Supporting Older Americans Act

Bipartisan legislation to fight Alzheimer’s disease sponsored by U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) became law on March 25 as part of a larger, sweeping bill to improve services for America’s elderly population.

Sen. Collins in March 2019 introduced the Younger Onset Alzheimer’s Disease Act, S. 901, with original cosponsors U.S. Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) to support American citizens under the age of 60 who experience the early onset of the disease by ensuring the availability of and access to certain programs and services.

Her measure became part of the Supporting Older Americans Act (OAA) of 2020, H.R. 4334, which will establish, reauthorize and revise several programs administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Labor related to care for the elderly. President Donald Trump signed H.R. 4334 into law on Wednesday.

The bipartisan bill will reauthorize the Older Americans Act for five years and includes a 7 percent increase in the initial year, and 6 percent increase annually for the remainder of the authorization.

“As chairman of the Senate Aging Committee, it was one of my highest priorities to get this bill across the finish line to strengthen the OAA’s programs while providing more flexibility for states to meet local needs,” said Sen. Collins.

Among numerous provisions, H.R. 4334 ensures that those living with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease are included in key OAA services, according to a bill summary provided by Sen. Collins’ office.

“For more than half a century, the Older Americans Act has served as a lifeline for millions of seniors by enriching their lives and improving their overall health,” Sen. Collins said. “This bipartisan legislation will help ensure that the OAA continues to match the goals we set to permit seniors to age with dignity, respect, and community.”

Administered by the U.S. Administration for Community Living, the OAA authorizes an array of services through a network of 56 State Units on Aging and more than 600 Area Agencies on Aging across the country.