New Federal Department to Help Seniors and Disabled

On April 16, the federal government announced the formation of the Administration for Community Living (ACL), a new agency dedicated to helping seniors and persons with disabilities gain access to supports in their communities.

“All Americans – including people with disabilities and seniors – should be able to live at home with the supports they need, participating in communities that value their contributions – rather than in nursing homes or other institutions,” said Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, in announcing the change.

The Administration for Community Living will focus on the special needs of specific groups of people, such as seniors who have dementia and children who have developmental disabilities.  The agency’s goal is to provide access to the supports needed for seniors and the disabled to live with dignity as full participants in their communities.  This includes not only ensuring access to health care services, but also helping with access to employment, education, and housing.  Beyond those basic needs, the agency will also assist the people it serves in making and maintaining the community relationships and social connections necessary for full participation in community life.

The change consolidates the Administration on Aging, the Administration on Developmental Disabilities and the Office on Disability into one entity, which Sebelius said would be stronger and more focused.  Sebelius said “the ACL will pursue improved opportunities for older Americans and people with disabilities to enjoy the fullest inclusion in the life of our nation.”

To learn more about the new agency, visit

For assistance with questions regarding your child’s special needs visit our website at To learn more about New York elder law or New York estate planning, visit

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