Older Americans Act

Group of seniors

Created in 1965 as part of the Great Society reforms, the Older Americans Act (OAA) provides people 60 and older with services and supports to help maintain their independence and live in the community of their choosing. The OAA defines the important functions that community services, and equitable access to those services, can have on a person’s quality of life. The act also highlights the critical role that governments, partners and stakeholders have in working together to ensure these services are available and accessible. A national network of aging providers was established though the OAA to oversee the delivery and quality of services and programs. This network is comprised of:

  • Administration for Community Living (ACL); Administration on Aging – the federal administrator of the OAA and its rules
  • State Units on Aging – recipient and oversight of state OAA funds, oversees contractual relationships with local aging services providers to ensure reporting and quality, responsible for developing the State Plan on Aging
  • Native American Tribal Units – administers state OAA Title VI funds for states with federally recognized tribes
  • State Long Term Care Ombudsman – oversees state long term care ombudsman with the mission of resolving problems and advocating for the rights of residents of long-term care facilities
  • Area Agencies on Aging – local recipient of state OAA funds and responsible for providing core OAA services (e.g., nutrition services, caregiver supports, benefits counseling)

Regulations (rules that define how to implement act) to the OAA had not been updated in over 35 years. In 2023, the ACL posted to the federal register a Notice of Proposed Rule Making for the OAA. States, communities and stakeholders across the US provided comments and based on feedback, the ACL updated the rules which went into effect on March 15, 2024. States have until October 1, 2025 to be compliant with the final rule. The 2024 OAA Final Rule is available here: (link: 2024-01913.pdf (govinfo.gov) )In 2016, Congress passed a three year authorization of the Older Americans Act, which expires on September 30th, 2019. In August 2018, NASUAD released its OAA reauthorization priorities, which are available here.


Reauthorization (edits and changes to the act itself) of the OAA was last made in 2020 when H.R. 4334, the Supporting Older Americans Act was signed into law. The OAA will expire September 30, 2024, and Congress is currently in holding hearings, sending requests for information (RFI) letters and accepting comments and stakeholder priorities as just a few ways to gather input on the reauthorization.   

Federal reauthorization of the OAA is anticipated by (DATE) and in the mean time more RFI, drafted reauthorization bills and opportunities to provide input and comment can be expected. The following sites are offered as a resource for staying informed of OAA reauthorization activities: In 2019, the House and Senate each hosted hearings to discuss the OAA and to learn more about different policy options for reauthorization. Information about the Senate hearing is available here, and the House hearing is available here.

Appropriations (funding approved to implement legislation) for OAA programs, projects and activities

Discretionary funding for OAA programs, projects and activities is provided annually under the Department of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Educate, and Related Agencies appropriations legislation.