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Administration on Aging (AoA)

Nutrition Services (OAA Title IIIC)

Authorizing Legislation: Sections 311, 330, 331, 336, and 339 of the Older Americans Act (OAA) of 1965, as amended

The Purpose of the Program and How it Works

The purpose of the OAA Nutrition Program (OAA Section 330) is to:

  • Reduce hunger and food insecurity
  • Promote socialization of older individuals
  • Promote the health and well-being of older individuals and delay adverse health conditions through access to nutrition and other disease prevention and health promotion services.

Congregate Nutrition Services, established in 1972 and Home-Delivered Nutrition Services, established in 1978, provide meals and related nutrition services to older individuals in a variety of settings including congregate facilities such as senior centers; or by home-delivery to older individuals who are homebound due to illness, disability, or geographic isolation. Services are targeted to those in greatest social and economic need with particular attention to low income individuals, minority individuals, those in rural communities, those with limited English proficiency and those at risk of institutional care. Nutrition Services Programs help older individuals to remain independent and in their communities.

The OAA authorizes and provides appropriations to the Administration on Aging (AoA) for three different nutrition programs under Title III:

  • Congregate Nutrition Services (Title III C1)
  • Home-Delivered Nutrition Services (Title III C2)
  • Nutrition Services Incentive Program (NSIP).

Grants for Congregate Nutrition Services and Home-Delivered Nutrition Services are allocated to States and Territories by a formula based on their share of the population aged 60 and over.

Nutrition Services Incentive Program grants are an allocation to States, Territories, and eligible Indian Tribal Organizations. These grants are in addition to C1 and C2 and may only be used for food. These grants are based on the proportional share of the total number of meals served by all States, Territories and Indian Tribal Organizations in the prior Federal fiscal year (FY).

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Nutrition Quality Standards (OAA Section 339)

OAA Section 339 states the same nutrition quality standards for meals funded by all three programs. Because the OAA is a state administered program, the implementation requirements for the nutrition quality standards may vary by state. The 2006 Reauthorization Frequently Asked Questions about Nutrition provides further guidance.

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Congregate Nutrition Services (Title III C1, OAA Section 331)

Title III C1 (OAA Section 331) authorizes meal provision and related nutrition services in congregate settings, which help to keep older Americans healthy and prevent the need for more costly medical interventions. Besides meals, services include nutrition screening and education and nutrition assessment and counseling as appropriate. The program also presents opportunities for social engagement and meaningful volunteer roles, which contribute to overall health and well-being. In Fiscal Year 2010, about 40 percent of total meals (96,426,593 congregate meals) were served in Congregate Nutrition Services to about 67 percent of total participants (1,733,176 congregate participants)in the OAA Nutrition Program. Meals are the primary service provided.

Services are available to individuals who are age 60 or over and the spouse of an older individual regardless of age. Services may be available to a limited number of individuals who are under age 60 if they are: individuals with disabilities who reside with older individuals, volunteers who provide services during meal hours, individuals with disabilities who reside in housing facilities primarily occupied by older individuals at which congregate nutrition services are provided.

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Home-Delivered Nutrition Services (Title III C2, OAA Section 336)

Title III C2 (OAA Section 336) authorizes meal provision and related nutrition services to older individuals that are homebound. Home-delivered meals are often the first in-home service that an older adult receives, and the program is a primary access point for the other home and community-based services. Besides meals, services include nutrition screening and education and nutrition assessment and counseling as appropriate. Home-delivered meals also represent an essential service for many caregivers, by helping them to maintain their own health and well-being. In Fiscal Year 2010, about 60 percent of total meals (145,454,444 home delivered meals) were served in Home-Delivered Services to about 33 percent of total participants (868,076 home delivered participants) in the OAA Nutrition Program. Meals are the primary service provided.

Services are available to individuals who are age 60 or over and homebound and the spouse of an older individual regardless of age. Services may be available individuals who are under age 60 with disabilities if they reside with the homebound older individual.

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Nutrition Services Incentive Program (NSIP, OAA Section 311)

The NSIP was established by the OAA (Section 311) (Section 311) in 1974 as the Nutrition Program for the Elderly in United States Department of Agriculture [USDA (for commodities only, and in 1977 for commodities or cash)]. The NSIP appropriation was transferred to Administration on Aging in 2003. NSIP provides additional funding to States, Territories and eligible Tribal organizations that is used exclusively to purchase food, not meal preparation and may not be used to pay for other nutrition-related services such as nutrition education or for state or local administrative costs. States may choose to receive the grant as cash, commodities or a combination of cash and commodities.

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Data Highlight Extensive Services Provided to Older individuals

Fiscal Year 2010 output data for Nutrition Services highlights the number of meals provided by these programs and the number of older individuals served:

  • Home-Delivered Nutrition Services provided 145.4 million meals to about 868,076 individuals.
  • Congregate Nutrition Services provided 96.4 million meals to more than 1.7 million older individuals in a variety of community settings.

For more information on OAA service data see the Aging Network's State Program Reports.

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Federal Appropriations For Congregate and Home Delivered Nutrition Services

Congregate Nutrition Services Appropriations (Title III C-1), 2008 to 2012, are as follows

Federal Fiscal YearCongregate Nutrition Services Appropriation
FY 2008$410,716,000
FY 2009$434,269,000
FY 2010$440,783,000
FY 2011$439,901,000
FY 2012$439,070,000

Home-Delivered Nutrition Services Appropriations (Title III C-2), 2008 to 2012, are as follows:

Federal Fiscal YearHome Delivered Nutrition Services Appropriation
FY 2008$193,858,000
FY 2009$214,459,000
FY 2010$217,676,000
FY 2011$217,241,000
FY 2012$216,831,000

Nutrition Services Incentive Program (NSIP) Appropriations, 2008 to 2012, are as follows:

Federal Fiscal YearNSIP Appropriation
FY 2008$153,429,000
FY 2009$161,015,000
FY 2010$161,015,000
FY 2011$160,693,000
FY 2012$160,389,000

Total Title III Nutrition Services Federal Appropriations, 2008 to 2012, are as follows:

Federal Fiscal YearTotal Appropriation
FY 2008$758,003,000
FY 2009$809,743,000
FY 2010$819,474,000
FY 2011$817,835,000
FY 2012$816,290,000

Funding Allocations to States and Tribal Organizations

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Total Nutrition Service Expenditures

The OAA Nutrition Program is funded by multiple sources in addition to federal appropriations. State Units on Aging, Area Agencies on Aging, and local nutrition service providers leverage other resources (monetary and in-kind) such as public funds (i.e. state, city, and county) as well as private funds (i.e. participant contributions and fund raising). In-kind contributions include such items as donation of facilities, including space and utilities as well as volunteers. Total expenditures for congregate and home delivered nutrition services as reported by State Units on Aging in the annual State Program Report are listed below, including the percentage of total expenditures from Title III OAA funds.

Total Congregate Meals Expenditures for 2008 to 2010 are as follows:

Federal FYTitle III ExpendituresTotal ExpendituresTitle III as Percentage of Total
2008$265,468,813$636,239,82341.72
2009$263,999,420$643,914,61541.00
2010$278,662,972$639,881,57443.60

Total Home-Delivered Meals Expenditures for 2008 to 2010 are as follows:

Federal FYTitle III ExpendituresTotal ExpendituresTitle III as Percentage of Total
2008$228,141,695$755,144,25530.21
2009$224,389,216$790,488,57028.40
2010$243,784,239$776,792,25631.38

Total Meals Expenditures for 2008 to 2010 are as follows:

Federal FYTitle III ExpendituresTotal ExpendituresTitle III as Percentage of Total
2008$493,610,508$1,391,384,07835.48
2009$488,388,636$1,434,403,18534.05
2010$522,447,211$1,416,673,83036.88

Nutrition Service Expenditure data national averages and by state may be found in Aging Network State Program Reports.

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Resources and Useful Links

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Last Modified: 12/31/1600