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Congresswoman Debbie Dingell

Representing the 12th District of Michigan

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Dingell, Morelle, Fitzpatrick, And McMorris Rodgers Introduce Legislation to Help Aging Americans and Individuals with Disabilities Remain in Their Homes

March 7, 2019
Press Release
Legislation simplifies the process for seniors and individuals with disabilities to access federal home modification resources so they can age safely and live independently

Washington, DC) – Today, Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Joe Morelle (D-NY), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) introduced H.R.1583—the Senior and Disability Home Modification Assistance Initiative Act of 2019. The legislation will make it easier for seniors and individuals with disabilities to navigate the complex web of services and programs available to modernize and stay in their homes as they age.

“The ability to live at home and stay in their community is for many seniors and their families the key to a healthy and happy life. In addition, it saves money,” said Rep. Dingell. “This bipartisan, commonsense bill makes it possible for seniors and people with disabilities to make simple modifications to keep them happy in their home and community. This is a step in the right direction toward fixing the complicated and broken long-term care system in our country.”

“As our loved ones get older, we must ensure they have the resources and support to age in place safely and independently,” said Rep. Morelle. “Simple home modifications can help make this a reality, but for too many Americans, high costs and lack of accessibility keep those updates out of reach. I am proud to sponsor this bipartisan legislation and partner with my colleagues in both the House and Senate to support the changing needs of families of all ages and abilities.”

"We should always be working to keep seniors and those with disabilities safe in their homes and one way to do that is providing assistance for costly home modifications,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick. “This legislation will help seniors and people with disabilities live happier and healthy lives at home by increasing access to federal assistance for home modifications.

“Our goal should always be for seniors and people with disabilities to be able to stay in their homes for as long as possible, but sometimes, that’s only realistic with costly home modifications that are often paid for out-of-pocket,” said Rep. McMorris Rodgers. “This legislation makes it easier for seniors and people with disabilities to access federal assistance to pay for these modifications, enabling them to live independently in their home, close to their loved ones, where they want to be.”

“BPC Action commends the bicameral, bipartisan introduction of Senior and Disability Home Modification Assistance Initiative Act of 2019 by Reps. Morelle (D-NY) and Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Sens. King (I-ME) and Collins (R-ME) and others,” said Michele Stockwell, Executive Director of Bipartisan Policy Center Action. “This legislation creates a cross-cutting initiative by the HHS assistant secretary for aging to coordinate, review, and promote the numerous federal home modification programs and resources that are available to older adults and people with disabilities. Up to 80 percent of home modifications are paid for out of pocket, an increasing burden on America’s growing older adult population. This legislation will lead to a better understanding of the effectiveness of federal programs at enabling older and disabled individuals to live safely and independently at home."

Seniors and individuals with disabilities overwhelmingly wish to stay in their homes as they age—but too often, houses lack accessibility features that make it difficult to age in place. The cost of modernizing homes to add ramps, railings or benches should not prevent those on limited incomes from living safely in their own homes.

This bipartisan, bicameral legislation makes it easier for seniors and individuals with disabilities to access these essential home modification resources. By working in conjunction with the Department of Health and Human Services, it will help coordinate existing programs and make information on modifications and repairs more readily available.

Companion legislation to H.R. 1583, the Senior and Disability Home Modification Assistance Initiative Act, is also being introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators King (I-ME), Collins (R-ME), Casey (D-PA), and Schatz (D-HI).

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