State and Federal Budget Issues
Details of the Obama Administration’s FY 2010 Budget Proposal
Mental Illness Research Funding
For FY 2010, the President is requesting $1.475 million for the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), a $24 million increase over the current (FY 2009) appropriation. This is just under a 2% proposed increase – well under the expected 3.5% projected rate of medical research inflation. This request does not include the projected share of funds from the President’s economic recovery and stimulus package (known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) that NIMH is expected to receive this year and next -- $367 million.
It should be noted that the 2% increase proposed for NIMH for FY 2010 is consistent with the requests for most other NIH institutes and centers, with the major exception of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) where the President is requesting a $181 million – up to $5.15 billion – consistent with his campaign promise for major investment in cancer research.
NAMI will continue to press for increases in NIMH funding – given the enormous public health burden associated with serious mental illness and emerging opportunities for scientific advancement.
Additional details on the FY 2010 requests for NIH and NIMH can be found on the NIH website.
Mental Illness Services Funding
The President’s FY 2010 proposes to freeze funding for most programs at the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at their current FY 2009 levels, including the Mental Health Block Grant ($421 million). Two important exceptions are:
- a proposed increases for the PATH program (outreach services for homeless individuals with mental illness – an $8 million boost to $68 million, and
- a proposed $17 million increase for the Children’s Mental Health program, up to $125 million.
Otherwise, all other CMHS programs are proposed for a freeze at current levels, including suicide prevention funding under the Garrett Lee Smith Act ($47 million), Protection and Advocacy ($36 million) and Programs of Regional and National Significance ($336 million).
Additional Details on the FY 2010 SAMHSA budget can be found on the SAMHSA website.
Housing and Homelessness Programs
The President’s budget proposes a $117 million increase for homeless programs under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act – boosting overall funding to $1.794 billion. This would allow a projected $140 million to fund new and additional projects in FY 2010. This is on top of the $1.5 billion made available over the next two years as part of the ARRA for homelessness prevention and “rapid re-housing” activities.
The President’s request also proposes to freeze funding for the HUD Section 811 program at $250 million. This includes $114 million to finance the construction of new
More importantly, the President’s budget proposes long overdue investments in development of affordable rental housing for extremely low-income households, including adults with serious mental illness living on SSI. This includes a commitment to seek $1 billion in new funding for the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund and a $1.8 billion increase for the Section 8 voucher program. This latter proposal is projected to allow local housing agencies to make as many as 100,000 new rental-housing vouchers available in FY 2010.
Additional information on the HUD budget can be found on the HUD website.
The President is requesting a $4.6 billion increase for the Veterans Health Administration – increasing funding from the current FY 2009 level of $42.8 billion, up to $47.4 billion. Within this total, the budget projects $4.564 billion for mental health treatment and outreach in the VA, compared to $4.276 million projected for FY 2009. The VA is also requesting more than a $400 million increase to address the needs of homeless veterans, boosting funding to $3.22 billion.
More information on the VA budget is available on the VA website.
Social Security Programs
Funding for cash benefits under disability programs such as SSDI and SSI are considered "mandatory" funding, meaning they are not subject to an actual appropriation by Congress, or a budget request from the President. However, the President’s budget does include funding for the "Limitation on Administrative Expenses" or LAE that sets forth the discretionary budget for the Social Security Administration (SSA) and determines overall funding for addressing the current backlog in claims and appeals for SSI and SSDI eligibility.
For FY 2010, the President is requesting a $1.1 billion increase for the SSA LAE, up to $11.6 billion. This increase represents continued commitment to addressing the large backlog of claims and appeals for SSI and SSDI benefits. The Obama Administration is also requesting a substantial increase for "Continuing Disability Reviews" (CDRs) and "Redeterminations" for current SSI beneficiaries.
Under what the budget terms "Terminations, Reductions and Savings" it states: "The President’s budget proposes a five-year discretionary allocation adjustment for SSA, which will save approximately $27 billion over the ten-year budget window, with additional savings after ten years." This includes a proposed $485 million for FY 2010 for SSI redeterminations and CDRs for and as much as $4.289 billion over the next five years.
Additional information on these proposals is available on the White House website.