October 17, 2018

Udall, Heinrich, Klobuchar Introduce Care Corps Demonstration Act

Would build and strengthen America’s caregiving workforce, empower seniors and people with disabilities to live independently

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N. M.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) introduced the Care Corps Demonstration Act to build and strengthen America’s caregiving workforce, and help meet the growing demand for caregivers working with seniors and people living with disabilities.  Companion legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.).

By 2030, older Americans are expected to make up nearly 20 percent of the population and over the next ten years, the United States is expected to require at least one million more direct care workers. The Care Corps Demonstration Act will address the country’s growing caregiving needs by placing volunteers in communities where they will provide vital assistance to help seniors and people with disabilities who need extra support to live independently. Volunteers will receive health insurance and other benefits throughout the length of their service, along with an educational award that can be used to pay future education costs or loans.

“As our population ages, the number of people in need of care in New Mexico and across the country has skyrocketed but our health care system has failed to keep pace,” said Udall. “Each year, over 400,000 New Mexicans provide support and care to their family members or loved ones – care that often goes unnoticed and unpaid. This legislation will help value and honor the critical work of caregivers, while increasing the country’s caregiving capacity to help meet soaring demand. Just as importantly, it will help foster intergenerational relationships and empower those who need extra care to live independently. As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, I’m excited to continue working on bold, innovative solutions like Care Corps to ensure that communities across New Mexico and the nation have access to the care and support they need to live with dignity.”

“As the first AmeriCorps alum in Congress, I know first-hand that there is no venture more rewarding than working to improve the lives of those around us,” said Heinrich. “We need to fill the gaps that will only grow as an aging population creates more demand for care. I am proud to support this legislation to give young adults and others a similar opportunity to address this need, while also helping the thousands of Americans who are already providing essential care for their family members. I applaud Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham’s leadership in creating the innovative idea of a Care Corps program. I will continue to support our nation’s caregivers and work to ensure all Americans, including seniors and individuals with disabilities, have the health care they deserve.” 

“Within the next few decades both the number of Americans age 85 and older and long-term care costs are projected to double,” said Klobuchar. “The Care Corps Demonstration Act will help address the growing care needs of Minnesota’s aging population and work to provide caregivers with the tools they need to advance their education and training.”

"When I first came to Congress, I envisioned a creative solution to support seniors, individuals with disabilities, and caregivers in New Mexico and across the country. After securing $5 million in funding for Care Corps grants in the Labor-HHS appropriations bill, I am pleased that my colleagues in the Senate are continuing to advance this important program,” said Lujan Grisham. "As a caregiver myself, I know how tough it can be to care for a loved one, and how little support is available to those doing this critical work. The Care Corps program will address the critical shortage of caregivers and high cost of care for seniors, veterans, and people living with disabilities that too often results in the lack of access to these important services, especially for middle class families." 

Several organizations have endorsed the legislation, including AARP, UsAgainstAlzheimer’s, National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, New Mexico Caregivers Coalition, Caregiver Action Network, ANCOR, National Hispanic Medical Association, National Alliance for Caregiving, Easterseals, Alzheimer’s Impact Movement, PHI, and the Arc of the United States.

Udall, Heinrich and U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va) previously introduced an amendment to this year’s Defense-Labor, Health and Human Services appropriations bill that dedicated an additional $5 million in grants to fund the Care Corps program. The final appropriations bill that was signed into law in September included the $5 million with instructions to create a Care Corps pilot.