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"Federal Elder Abuse Prevention Bill Introduced in Congress"

The Elder Justice Reauthorization and Modernization Act of 2021 would add significant muscle to state programs to investigate elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation, according to the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI).

The much-needed increase in federal assistance under the legislation recently introduced in Congress dedicates funding to vital programs to address vulnerable seniors’ needs. The measure is one of several priority items advocated by IRI, which called for the passage of this legislation in its 2021 Federal Retirement Security Blueprint.

“In addition to advocating for expanded retirement savings opportunities and lifetime income options for workers and retirees, IRI supports increased protection to safeguard our elderly population from fraud, abuse, and exploitation,” Paul Richman, IRI Chief Government and Political Affairs Officer, said in a statement. “IRI commends and strongly supports the work and leadership of the House and Senate bill sponsors, Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Ore., and Sen. Robert Casey, Jr., D-Penn.

According to the advocacy organization, the bill would ensure that the services and programs authorized under the Elder Justice Act (EJA) can continue to protect older and vulnerable Americans by authorizing $4 billion, including $1.4 billion to support state and local Adult Protective Services (APS) agencies.

Strengthening resources

Financial firms and professionals, law enforcement officials, policymakers, and others are also beefing up resources to help retirees avoid the devastating loss of retirement income as a result of scams or exploitation, especially by caregivers or family members. An IRI survey found that about 60 percent of financial professionals saw a confirmed case of financial abuse of elderly investors at least once over three years.

“Financial abuse can erase a lifetime of savings and leave older workers and retirees in financial ruin,” Richman added. “With the population of older Americans expected to double in size to nearly 84 million citizens by 2050, there needs to be a concerted effort to combat financial exploitation.”

Date: August 11, 2021

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