Agency FAQ

What is the Pennsylvania Department of Aging?


The Pennsylvania Department of Aging was created in 1978 by the state legislature and is charged by the Older Americans Act and the Pennsylvania General Assembly with advocating at all levels of government for the interests of older Pennsylvanians.


The Department oversees many services and benefits to older Pennsylvanians - most provided through the 52 Area Agencies on Aging, which were created in the federal Older Americans Act and Pennsylvania's Act 70.


The Department works hand-in-hand with the Governor's Office and the General Assembly on legislation affording older people a better quality of life. We are the focal point of state coordination and planning for elder-focused initiatives in Pennsylvania to include long-term care programs for the frail and chronically ill. 


What is the "mission" of the Department of Aging?


Our mission is to enhance the quality of life for all older Pennsylvanians by empowering diverse communities, the family and the individual.


How is the Department organized?


Click here for the PDA organizational structure outline.


What are Area Agencies on Aging?


Area Agencies on Aging are county or multi-county based agencies which partner with the Department of Aging in serving Pennsylvania's older residents. These agencies receive funding from the Department of Aging and other sources. They identify the needs of the older residents in their assigned county/counties and develop programs to meet those needs. Area Agencies on Aging should be the first point of contact at the county level for services or information.


What services are available from the Area Agencies on Aging?


Area Agencies on Aging should be the initial point of contact at the county level for services to the elderly. They provide a wide range of services such as: assessment of need, care management, in-home services, transportation, protective services, adult daycare, legal services, health care counseling and senior centers. The Area Agencies on Aging also provide information and referral services to other local agencies and/or organizations as appropriate.


Do Area Agencies on Aging ever provide services to people under the age of 60?


Yes. Area Agencies on Aging provide assessments for all nursing facility Medicaid applicants to determine nursing facility clinical eligibility for people ages 18 to 59 applying for enrollment in the Department of Welfare (DPW) Medicaid Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) programs. AAAs also assess consumers under age 60 applying for the State Supplement in personal care and domiciliary care homes. AAAs can provide HCBS to this age group if they are found eligible for DPW HCBS and they are found to be clinically eligible for nursing facility care. Finally, the Older Workers Program if for consumers 55 years of age and older.


Whom should I speak to if I am aware of or suspect that an eldelry resident of Pennsylvania is being neglected or physically abused?


Your local Area Agency on Aging should be contacted if you are aware of or suspect physical abuse. They operate a Protective Service program which is designed to investigate and solve these types of problems.


How can I get information on health insurance, Medicare and/or Medicaid?


Contact your APPRISE counselor at your local Area Agency on Aging.


Where can I go to get help with my drug bills?


Many senior citizens with low incomes are eligible for assistance with payment for their prescribed medications. To find out if you qualify for PACE or PACENET, contact your local Area Agency on Aging for assistance in filing an application. 


Applications for PACE/PACENET can be obtained from AAAs, pharmacies, senior centers and legislator's offices, or by calling PACE at 1-800-225-7223 or (717) 652 9028. You may also download and print the application or apply online.


What does long-term care mean?


Long-term care services in Pennsylvania are directed toward residents of nursing facilities, personal care homes, domiciliary and in-home services for individuals residing in private homes in the community.


I have been told that I need to go to a nursing facility. What if I don't know if this is what I want? If I do want to go to a nursing facility will I be able to afford it?


You need to go to your local Area Agency on Aging. They have caseworkers who will assess your clinical need for nursing facility care and counsel you regarding finances and your most appropriate placement option. If possible, they will also discuss other alternatives with you such as personal care, residential care homes, domiciliary care and other in-home services.


How can I make a complaint about services provided by a long-term care provider, such as nursing facilities, personal care residential homes, domiciliary care homes or community services?


You need to contact the Ombudsman at your local Area Agency on Aging. The Ombudsman will investigate your complaint and take the appropriate steps necessary to resolve the issue.


Where can I get information about selecting a nursing facility?


You should contact the State Ombudsman and request a copy of a publication entitled How to Select Long-term Care in Pennsylvania. Additionally, if you have questions regarding the quality of care in specific nursing facilities, you need to contact the Pennsylvania Department of Health.


Can I get help with my taxes, energy and transportation?


It may be possible for you to get assistance with your taxes, energy and transportation costs. You need to contact your local Area Agency on Aging to determine if you are eligible.