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February 01, 2015

Older Americans Act

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee unanimously approved ABA-supported legislation Jan. 28 that would reauthorize the OAA through 2018. ABA Governmental Affairs Director Thomas M. Susman expressed the association’s support for the bill, S. 192, in a Jan. 26 letter to committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and noted the ABA’s long history on elder law issues. “For more than 30 years, the American Bar Association has been a strong advocate on issues that help Americans age with dignity, security, and quality of life,” Susman wrote. “The Older Americans Act authorizes and oversees many vital programs and services, and it provides critical legal assistance to protect the rights of vulnerable seniors.” The ABA views reauthorization as an “important opportunity for Congress to reaffirm and refine our country’s commitment to a safe, secure, and dignified life for all older Americans,” he said. Susman applauded the inclusion of provisions to ensure independence and avoidance of conflicts for long-term care ombudsmen, and he stressed the importance of the bill’s focus on elder abuse and the inclusion of legal services under the legislation’s definition of “adult protective services.” He noted, however, that the ABA would have liked the bill to also include measures to develop coordinated legal service delivery systems and strengthen legal service developers.

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