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HHS/ACL RIN: 0985-AA18 Publication ID: Fall 2023 
Title: Adult Protective Services Functions and Grant Programs  

The final rule would create federal regulations for Adult Protective Services (APS) programs as authorized by the Elder Justice Act.  APS programs were originally recognized by federal law in 1975 under title XX of the Social Security Act via the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG).  States have wide discretion whether to allocate any funding to APS via the SSBG program, and there are no regulations pertaining to APS under SSBG.  Since 1975, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and four territories have developed APS programs in accordance with local needs, structures, and laws.  Historic investments through the Coronavirus Relief and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA) and the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) provided the very first funding for APS program formula funding to states as authorized by the Elder Justice Act (EJA).  These regulations would promote an effective APS response across the country so that all older adults and adults with disabilities, regardless of the state or jurisdiction in which they live, have similar protections and service delivery from APS systems. Following release of the NPRM, ACL held a stakeholder call open to all of the public on September 18, 2023, that provided a walkthrough of the proposed rule and background resources and information on how to comment.  ACL also held a separate stakeholder call with Tribal grantees and leadership regarding the same.  ACL has created a specific stakeholder webpage at, which includes a summary of the rule and how to comment.

Agency: Department of Health and Human Services(HHS)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: No 
CFR Citation: Not Yet Determined     (To search for a specific CFR, visit the Code of Federal Regulations.)
Legal Authority: Elder Justice Act (SSA sec. 2042. [42 U.S.C. 1397m-1] (a) Secretarial Responsibilities)   
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need:

The proposed rule would create federal regulations for Adult Protective Services (APS) programs as authorized by the Elder Justice Act (EJA).  These regulations are critical in establish consistent national requirements and standards for EJA APS program formula funding to states.

Summary of the Legal Basis:

Development, promulgation and implementation of this regulation will be carried out consistently with the statute; however, this regulatory action is not required by the statute or a court order.  


ACL considers sub-regulatory guidance, information and education outreach, and voluntary approaches as alternatives to regulatory action.  Prior to the availability of appropriations for formula funding for this program ACL utilized guidance and voluntary approach for the establishment of a national data system and in supporting the establishment and dissemination of program best practices.  However, now that federal funding is available to all states and territories, none of these alternatives are the appropriate option for promulgating and administering the provisions that will be included in the regulations consistent with statute.  Economic incentives and instruments are not an option.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits:

The proposed rule will require the revision of State policies and procedures, require training on new rules for APS staff, require the submission of new State plans, require data sharing agreements between APS systems and other State entities, require APS systems create a feedback loop to provide information to mandatory reporters, require data reporting to ACL, inform potential APS clients of their rights under State law, and require new or updated record retention systems for certain States. The rule will result in improved consistency in implementation of APS systems within and across States, clarity of obligations associated with Federal funding for administrators of APS systems and will result in better and more effective service delivery within and across States with better quality investigations in turn leading to more person-directed outcomes.  The rule is anticipated to cost a total of $3,532,916.99 to fully implement. This cost will be offset by improved investigations and better outcomes for the victims of adult maltreatment. This represents significant value, particularly given the widespread and egregious nature of adult maltreatment in the United States.


These regulations would establish first ever regulations for APS programs consistent with the Elder Justice Act passed in 2010.  Promulgating this NPRM and obtaining public feedback in order to issue a new final rule will result in decreased risk for administering agencies at the federal, state and local level in ensuring the administration of appropriations for APS programs consistent with the statute, and in also supporting the statute’s programmatic purpose of detecting, preventing and reducing the abuse, neglect and exploitation of adults, including older adults.

Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  09/12/2023  88 FR 62503   
NPRM Comment Period End  11/13/2023 
Final Action  05/00/2024 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No  Government Levels Affected: State 
Small Entities Affected: No  Federalism: Yes 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Richard Nicholls
Chief of Staff and Executive Secretary
Department of Health and Human Services
Administration for Community Living
330 C Street SW, Room 1004B,
Washington, DC 20201
Phone:202 795-7415
Fax:202 205-0399