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August 31, 2017

Senate passes bills to protect the elderly from fraud, abuse

The Senate turned its focus to helping seniors this month with the passage of two bipartisan bills aimed at protecting the elderly from abuse and fraud.

S. 81, the Seniors Fraud Prevention Act of 2017, and S. 178, the Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act, both passed by voice vote on Aug. 2.

S. 81, introduced by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), would help educate seniors about potential scams and improve the response to and monitoring of fraud complaints through establishment of a Bureau of Consumer Protection in the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). 

“This bipartisan legislation will improve efforts to combat fraud targeting seniors so we can help ensure all Americans have safety and dignity in their senior years,” Klobuchar said.

Collins also expressed her pleasure with the Senate’s passage of the bill. “I am pleased that the Senate unanimously supported our legislation, which will enhance fraud monitoring, increase consumer education, and strengthen the complaint tracking system to help prevent seniors from being robbed of their hard-earned savings through threatening and manipulative scams,” she explained.

S. 178, sponsored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), would improve the protection of seniors by:

● increasing data collection and information sharing of abuse and fraud cases;

● increasing training of federal prosecutors and investigators;

● establishing an elder justice coordinator position in both the FTC and the Department of Justice; and

● increasing penalties for criminals who target seniors.

“As the population ages, we can expect more and more victims if we don’t act. The Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act takes meaningful steps to equip law enforcement, seniors and caregivers with additional tools so they can deter these crimes and hold perpetrators accountable,” Grassley explained.

The ABA has a long history as a strong advocate for the nation’s seniors through the work of its Commission on Law and Aging. These efforts, which include numerous projects to prevent elder abuse, seek to strengthen and secure the legal rights, dignity, autonomy, quality of life, and quality of care of aging persons.                                  

Back to the August 2017 Washington Letter