The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (Kathleen Sebelius, at the time) established ACL using her authority on April 18, 2012. This decision brought together the Administration on Aging, the Office on Disability, and the Administration on Developmental Disabilities.
Since its creation, ACL has continued to grow and assume new responsibilities each year. In the FY 2014 annual appropriation, Congress transferred to ACL the State Health Insurance Assistance Program ($52 million) from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services as well as the Paralysis Resource Center ($7 million) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) of 2014 transferred to ACL the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research as well as the Independent Living and Assistive Technology programs (totaling $238 million) from the Department of Education in FY 2015. That same year, the Limb Loss Resource Center ($2 million) was transferred from CDC to ACL. In the FY 2016 annual appropriation, Congress transferred the Traumatic Brain Injury program ($9 million) from the Health Resources and Services Administration to ACL.
On June 2, 2015 the Federal Register published ACL’s updated Statement of Organization, Functions, and Delegations of Authority (PDF). It reflects ACL’s expanded mission and details the organizational structure, roles, and responsibilities of its centers and offices (Refer to Section V, Component Information, for additional information).
ACL's creation was rooted in the fundamental idea that people with disabilities or functional limitations of any type, regardless of age, have a common interest in being able to access home and community-based supports and services. And further, that these supports make the difference in ensuring that they can fully participate in all aspects of society, including the option to live at home. The purpose and funding levels for such programs remained largely the same over time, but the creation of ACL has enhanced the ability of these programs to work collectively to advance their common objective: helping older adults and people with disabilities of all ages to live where and with whom they choose and fully participate in their communities.