The United States has announced a significant reorganization of disability and aging administration under Health and Human Services. The new Administration for Community Living with a mission of “enhancing and improving the broad range of supports that individuals with disabilities and seniors may need to live with respect and dignity as full members of their communities.” This new agency combines three former organizational units: the Administration on Aging, the Office on Disability, and the Administration on Developmental Disabilities.
As the name suggests, there will be a focus on providing community based services. There are potentially good aspects to this reorganization. There may be some greater efficiencies in a single agency. Bringing together these agencies may also reduce some of the problems faced by people with lifelong disabilities as they age and have to deal with a new agency and new requirements and bureaucracy. The potential downside is that reorganization during a time of fiscal restraint often leads to cuts in funding and services beyond any potential efficiencies gained. Another concern is the question of whether the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities will be overpowered by a larger focus on aging in the new organization. Will that happen here? Only time will tell.