2019 Legislation Overview - Senior Care and Caregiver Advocacy Update
This information is provided by the United Way of New Jersey Caregiver's Coalition and is meant for educational and informational purposes and is not necessarily supported by BrightStar Care or the Caregivers Coalition. Readers who would like to support or comment on a bill should contact their Senators and Representatives.
Summaries of bills and their status can be found at: Federal: https://www.congress.gov/ and
https://www.govtrack.us/ New Jersey: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/
ABLE Age Adjustment Act (HR1874/S817)
This bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to increase the age requirement for onset of
disability with respect to eligibility for qualified ABLE programs from prior to age 26 to prior to age 46.
Without a big change, advocates are warning that the ABLE Act, a vehicle to help people with disabilities
save money without risking their government benefits, could be unsustainable. ABLE programs across
the country desperately need an infusion of more account holders, according to a letter sent to
congressional leadership in June 2018 from over 150 disability advocacy groups. Established under a
2014 federal law, ABLE accounts allow people with disabilities to save up to $100,000 without risking
eligibility for Social Security and other government benefits. Medicaid can be retained no matter how
much money is in the accounts. Under the law, however, ABLE accounts are only available to people with
disabilities that onset prior to age 26. Now, advocates are calling on Congress to pass a proposal known
as the ABLE Age Adjustment Act (S-817/HR-1874) that would increase the cutoff age to 46, dramatically
expanding the number of potential account holders. To date, 37 states offer ABLE programs, though
many are open to those with disabilities nationwide, however, at the end of 2017, there were only 17,000
accounts open across the country. Without more accounts, it is anticipated that ABLE programs could fold
leaving less competition and higher fees.
Status: Referred to Senate Committee on Finance on 3/14/19. Introduced in the House on 3/26/19.
Autism CARES (Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education and Support) Act
A bill to amend the Public Health Service Act to enhance activities of the National Institutes of Health with
respect to research on autism spectrum disorder and enhance programs relating to autism, and for other
Status: Passed in the House on 7/24/19. Received in the Senate on 7/25/19.
Disability Integration Act (HR555/S117)
A bill to prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities who need long-term services and
supports, and for other purposes.
Status: Introduced in the House on 1/15/19 and referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.
Referred to House Subcommittee on Health on 1/31/19, and to Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil
Rights, and Civil Liberties on 2/25/19. Introduced in the Senate, read twice and referred to the Committee
on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions on 1/15/19.
Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act (HR1185/S463)
Provides workers with up to 12 weeks of partial income when they take time for their own serious health
condition, including pregnancy and childbirth recovery; the serious health condition of a child, parent,
spouse or domestic partner; the birth or adoption of a child; and/or for military caregiving and leave
purposes. The benefit would be administered through a new Office of Paid Family and Medical Leave
within the Social Security Administration. Payroll contributions would cover both insurance benefits and
Status: Reintroduced in the House and Senate on 2/12/19. Read twice and referred to the Senate
Committee on Finance on 2/12/19. Referred to the House Ways and Means Committee on 2/13/19.
Improving Access to Medicare Coverage Act of 2019 (HR1682/S753)
This bill deems an individual receiving outpatient observation services in a hospital as an inpatient for
purposes of satisfying the three-day inpatient hospital-stay requirement with respect to Medicare
coverage of skilled nursing facility services.
Status: Introduced in the House and referred to the Committee on Ways and Means, the Committee on
Energy and Commerce, and the Subcommittee on Health on 3/12/19. Introduced in Senate and referred
to the Committee on Finance on 3/12/19.
Lifespan Respite Care Reauthorization Act of 2019 (HR2035/S995)
The Lifespan Respite Care programs are coordinated systems of accessible, community-based respite
care services for caregivers of individuals with disabilities across the lifespan. This amendment will
increase funding for the program. Currently, NJ does not have a Lifespan Respite Care grant. It is our
hope that by increasing the funds allocated, NJ will once again be able to apply.
Status: Introduced in the House and Senate on 4/2/19. Passed the House on 7/24/19.
Supporting America’s Caregivers and Families Act (S1017)
A bill that would increase funding, training, and support for family caregivers of adults in America. This bill
would bolster the nation’s network of Area Agencies on Aging (AAA’s) and enhance support for
caregivers through skills building, resources and information, respite care, counseling, and other
Status: Introduced in the Senate, read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor,
and Pensions on 4/3/19.
Establishes New Jersey Caregiver Task Force to evaluate and provide recommendations on
caregiver support services. (A3514/S959)
This bill would establish the “New Jersey Caregiver Task Force” to evaluate caregiver support services in
the State and provide recommendations for the improvement and expansion of such services. “Caregiver
support services” would be defined by the bill to mean any type of support or assistance that is or may be
made available to caregivers in the State, including, but not limited to, financial support or assistance from
any source, and any other types of support or assistance provided by public or private employers,
hospitals, health care providers or organizations, or government agencies. The task force would consist of nine members, including the Commissioner of Human Services, the President of the New Jersey chapter of the American Association of Retired Persons, the Executive
Director of Caregivers of New Jersey, the Executive Director of the Arc of New Jersey, the Executive
Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness New Jersey, and the President of the Alzheimer’s
Empower Care Act (HR1342/S548).This bill would reauthorize the Money Follows the Person Demonstration Project.
Status: Introduced in the House and Senate on 2/25/19. Read twice and referred to the Senate
Committee on Finance on 2/25/19. Referred to House Subcommittee on Health on 2/26/19.
Association Greater New Jersey Chapter, or their designees; and three public members appointed by the
Governor. The public members would include one person who is a caregiver for a person with a disability,
one person who is a caregiver for a person with mental illness, and one person who is a caregiver for an
Status: 12/17/2018 Assembly bill substituted by S959, Passed Both Houses (79-0-0), and signed into
law by Acting Governor Sheila Oliver on 12/28/2018. We are still waiting for announcements as to
who was appointed to the Task Force and how we can provide comment.