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Senior Companion Program

Program Descriptions

Program Number



Senior Companion Program


Federal Agency




Domestic Volunteer Service Act of 1973, as amended, Title II, Part C, Section 213, Public Law 93-113, 42 U.S.C. 5013; National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993, Public Law 103-82.






The Senior Companion Program provides grants to qualified agencies and organizations for the dual purpose of engaging persons 60 and older, particularly those with limited incomes, in volunteer service to meet critical community needs; and to provide a high quality experience that will enrich the lives of the volunteers. Program funds are used to support Senior Companions in providing supportive, individualized services to help adults with special needs maintain their dignity and independence.


Types of Assistance

Project Grants.


Uses and Use Restrictions

The grants may be used for: Senior Companion stipends, transportation, physical examinations, insurance, and meals; staff salaries and fringe benefits, staff travel, equipment, space costs, etc. An amount equal to 80 percent of the Corporation for National and Community Service Federal share must be used for Senior Companion direct benefits. Assignment of Senior Companions to adults may occur in residential and non-residential facilities and in their own homes. Volunteers do not supplant hiring or displace employed workers, or impair existing contracts for service. No agency supervising volunteers shall request or receive compensation for services of the volunteers. Volunteers are not to be involved in and funds are not to be used for religious activities, labor or anti-labor organization, lobbying, or partisan or non-partisan political activities. In addition, eligible agencies or organizations may, under a Notice of Grant Award from the Corporation for National and Community Service, receive technical assistance and materials to aid in establishing and operating non-Corporation for National and Community Service funded SCP projects using state, local and private funds.


Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Grants are made only to State and local government agencies and private nonprofit organizations.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Senior Companions must be: 60 years of age or older, with an income within limits determined by the CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service (based on the Department of Health and Human Services Poverty Guidelines); interested in serving special-needs adults, especially the frail elderly, and must be physically, mentally, emotionally capable, and willing to serve on a person-to- person basis. However, non-income eligible individuals may serve as non-stipended volunteers under certain conditions.) Adults served are age 21 and over with limitations in one or more activities of daily living which place them at-risk of an inappropriate placement in an institutional setting.


The applicant must furnish evidence of: availability of income eligible older persons, eligible volunteer stations, ability to provide sufficient matching nonfederal funds. Non- profit organizations must furnish: proof of nonprofit status, articles of incorporation, and certification of accounting capability. Costs will be determined in accordance with OMB Circulars No. A-21 for educational institutions, No. A-87 for State and local governments, and No. A-122 for non-profit organizations.


Application and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Organizations interested in exploring the possibility of developing a local SCP project should contact the appropriate Corporation for National Service State Program Office. The Corporation for National and Community Service issues application forms to applicants who have established their eligibility. The application forms (modified by the Corporation for National and Community Service with OMB approval), as furnished by the Corporation for National and Community Service and required by OMB Circular No. A-102 must be used for this Program. This Program is eligible for coverage under E.O. 12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the Program for review.

Application Procedure

Applications are submitted to the Corporation for National and Community Service State Program Office. This Program is subject to the provisions of OMB Circular Nos. A-110 for nonprofit organizations, and A-102 for State and local governments.

Award Procedure

Grants are awarded by the Corporation for National and Community Service. States will be notified of awards through the Federal Assistance Awards Data System (FAADS).


Contact the Corporation for National and Community Service State Office for application deadlines.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

120 days after receipt of application by the Corporation for National and Community Service.


No formal appeals for denial of initial grant application, but regulations provide for hearings on terminations and suspensions, and opportunity to show cause in cases of denial of refunding.



Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

This Program has no statutory formula. Generally, at least 10 percent of the total approved budget must be met by the applicant. In exceptional cases, the CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service may make grants in excess of 90 percent of total project budget costs.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Grant budget periods are generally three years, with annual budget periods. Grant payments are made through the DHHS Payment Management System.


Post Assistance Requirements


Corporation for National and Community Service Semi-Annual Financial Status Report, Project Progress Report, Federal Cash Transactions Report, Project Profile and Volunteer Activity Survey, National Accomplishment Survey, customer satisfaction survey.


Corporation for National and Community Service grants are subject to audit by Corporation for National and Community Service, the General Accounting Office, other Federal agencies, and contract auditors. In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133, "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations," grantees that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more a year in Federal awards shall have an audit made in accordance with OMB Circular A-133.


All financial records for each budget period, including receipts, disbursements, and vouchers for Federal and non-Federal costs; copies of all contracts; personnel records; and job descriptions must be available for a period of 3 years from date of submission of final Financial Status Report.


Financial Information

Account Identification



FY 07 $46,964,000; FY 08 est not available; and FY 09 est not reported.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

From $0 to $689,000; $237,500.


Program Accomplishments

In fiscal year 2005, over 16,000 SCP volunteers contributed 13.9 million hours of service to nearly 58,000 clients through the 224 organizations that received SCP grants from Corporation and non-Corporation sources.


Regulations, Guidelines and Literature

45 CFR Part 2551; Senior Companion Program flyers.


Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

Corporation for National and Community Service State Program Offices, as listed in Appendix IV of the Catalog under Corporation for National and Community Service.

Headquarters Office

National Senior Service Corps, Senior Companion Program, Corporation for National and Community Service, 1201 New York Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20525. Telephone: (202) 606-5000, ext. 189 and 1-800-424-8867.

Web Site Address


Related Programs

94.011, Foster Grandparent Program
94.002, Retired And Senior Volunteer Program


Examples of Funded Projects

The following exemplifies SCP service: An SCP volunteer provides supportive in-house services to a stroke victim who is confined to a wheelchair, suffers from depression and needs help in daily living. Prior to the arrival of the Senior Companion, the client received no visitors and refused to leave his apartment. Just two months after he arrived, the SCP volunteer convinced his client to venture out of his apartment. Now, the client goes out for meals, exercises and participates in social events at a nearby senior center. Another Senior Companion has provided respite care to the husband of an Alzheimer's patient for over six years. The Senior Companion provides reality orientations, music and games for the client. Senior Companions provide predominantly in-home services to frail adults, often the elderly. The following statistics suggest the scope of their activities. In fiscal year 1997, over 2,400 Senior Companions provided respite to 5,300 Alzheimer's care givers. They served over 5,000 visually impaired, 3,100 hearing impaired, 2,000 terminally ill and 3,000 clients with short-term disabilities. An additional 27,000 frail adults with chronic care disabilities threatening their ability to continue to live at home were served. Senior Companions also served at over 200 adult day care centers; they served at 380 nursing homes and convalescent hospitals.


Criteria for Selecting Proposals

The corporation-wide evaluation criteria: program design: getting things done; well-documented compelling community needs(s); well-designed activities with measurable goals and objectives that meet community needs; well-defined roles for participants that lead to measurable outcomes/impact; effective involvement of target community in planning/implementation; ability to provide or secure effective technical assistance. Strengthening Communities: Strong community partnerships, including well-defined roles for community partners; Potential for sustainability, innovation, and/or replicability of project activities; enhance capacity of organizations and institutions; mobilization of community resources, including volunteers; Bring together people of diverse backgrounds. Participant Development; Effective plan for recruiting, developing, training, supervising, and recognizing participants; Well-designed plan to engage participants in high-quality service-learning as defined by the Corporation; well-designed plan for participants to learn to serve together with people of diverse backgrounds. Organizational Capacity: Ability to provide sound programmatic and fiscal oversight; sound track record in the issue areas(s) to be addressed by the project; well- defined roles for staff and administrators; well-designed plans or systems for self-assessment, evaluation and continuous improvement. Budget/Cost-Effectiveness: Adequate budget to support program design; commitment of applicant organization/host agency to securing resources for program implementation and/or sustainability; cost-effectiveness within program guidance.


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