November 01, 2014

Washington News Brief: Elder Justice

The ABA urged the Senate Appropriations Committee to support at least $10 million in fiscal year 2015 funding for the Elder Justice Initiative as approved in June by the committee’s Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies. The Elder Justice Initiative was created under the Affordable Care Act and contains programs and provisions for combating elder fraud and abuse. While the initiative has been in place since 2010, most of the provisions have not received any federal funding. In a Nov. 12 letter to the committee and subcommittee leadership, ABA Governmental Affairs Director Thomas M. Susman emphasized that elder abuse is a significant and growing problem, citing that one in 10 persons over the age of 60 will be a victim of elder abuse. Elder financial fraud, he added, amounts to a total of $3 billion per year. He pointed out that President Obama recommended $25 million for the initiative in his fiscal year 2015 budget to “build a national infrastructure for Adult Protective Services and to improve our research to include evidence-based screening for elder abuse.” The $10 million approved by the subcommittee is “the minimum needed to get the program off the ground,” Susman said. He also encouraged the appropriators to continue the current funding level of $1.7 billion for the Social Services Block Grant, the only source of federal funding for adult protective services. “Funding for the Social Service Block Grant… is essential to address elder abuse in America; it is an investment in protecting our most vulnerable citizens from the ravages of elder abuse,” he explained. He also offered the assistance of the ABA, which he said has worked over the past decade with the Elder Justice Coalition, members of Congress and other interested parties on a bipartisan basis on this critical issue.

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