NASW Heralds White House Student Loan Forgiveness Updates
NASW applauds the Biden administration for making systemic and substantial improvements to the failing Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program. In a statement, NASW said these long overdue reforms will relieve public service professionals, including social workers, from staggering student loan debt loads.
The U.S. Department of Education earlier this year announced it is overhauling PSLF. The program was created in 2007 to provide financial relief in the form of student loan forgiveness to public service workers in exchange for 10 years of service to their communities or the nation, often in low-paying positions.
Since its inception, the program has been mishandled and undermined by the federal government and the student loan industry. “Social workers participating in PSLF are essential public service professionals, providing invaluable services to clients and communities,” said NASW Public Policy Director Sarah Butts, MSW. “PSLF changes have potential to transform the lives of social workers across the country, renewing hope and providing significant financial relief from the substantial student debt burden that our workforce carries. The reformed PSLF is also crucial in recruiting and retaining social workers who continue to serve on the front lines in numerous settings.”
NASW Continues National Elder Abuse Center Service
The Administration for Community Living (ACL) has awarded a new cooperative agreement to the University of Southern California to operate ACL’s National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA). NCEA improves the national response to elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation by gathering, housing, disseminating, and stimulating innovative, validated information in the realms of education, policy, practice, and research.
The new award marks the start of USC’s third consecutive term as NCEA’s home, with the first term having begun in 2014. NASW member Georgia Anetzberger (Ohio Chapter) and NASW Senior Practice Associate Chris Herman will continue to serve on the NCEA advisory board. Visit ncea.acl.gov to access NCEA resources.
NASW Aids in Policy Principles for Aging Community
The Leadership Council of Aging Organizations (LCAO), in which NASW participates, recently released two sets of policy principles to communicate with policymakers and guide future advocacy. As co-chair of the LCAO Health Committee, NASW Senior Practice Associate Chris Herman helped facilitate revision of the coalition’s principles for long-term services and supports.
Additional principles, newly created by LCAO, address paid leave for family caregivers of older adults. LCAO sent these principles to Congress in September as part of its advocacy for the Build Back Better package. Read the principles and the letter to Congress.
Action Alert Urges Support for Mental Health Bill
NASW issued an action alert that urges members to call their federal lawmakers in support of the Improving Access to Mental Health Act(S. 870/H.R. 2035). Sens. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif.-13, reintroduced the act in the 117th Congress.
The legislation seeks to increase Medicare reimbursement rates for clinical social workers; increase access to mental health services for residents of skilled nursing facilities; and increase supports for Medicare beneficiaries coping with physical health conditions.