Neal, Wyden, Casey, Bonamici Introduce Legislation to Strengthen Seniors’ Protections from Abuse and Neglect
WASHINGTON, DC—House Ways & Means Committee Ranking Member Richard E. Neal (D-MA), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR), Senate Special Committee on Aging Chairman Bob Casey (D-PA), and Co-Chair of the House Elder Justice Caucus Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) today introduced legislation to protect seniors and people with disabilities from abuse, isolation, and neglect. The Elder Justice Reauthorization and Modernization Act of 2023 reauthorizes the Elder Justice Act and dedicates new funding to programs proven to safeguard older adults and adults with disabilities. This legislation builds on the first-ever authorization of mandatory funding for Adult Protective Services (APS) back in December 2020. As part of the Elder Justice Act reauthorization, the introduced legislation would create three new programs: to address medical-legal needs, respond to social isolation, and strengthen the long-term care workforce.
“Too many seniors and people with disabilities are experiencing abuse ranging from physical to emotional to financial exploitation,” Ranking Member Neal said. “As our population ages, stronger Elder Justice programs will help meet the needs of these vulnerable populations while ensuring they can age and live safely in place. While Republicans are calling for cuts to seniors’ security and health, we are fighting for this life-changing update to better protect their well-being. It’s time for action.”
“It’s unconscionable that one in ten American seniors have experienced some form of elder abuse,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Wyden said. “This legislation will provide crucial, dedicated resources to fund programs that protect seniors and people with disabilities from abuse, isolation and neglect — while also strengthening the long-term care workforce. I’ll fight tooth and nail to get this bill over the finish line and provide much needed medical-legal relief for seniors.”
“Older Americans fought our wars, taught our children, and built our Nation. They deserve our protection and they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect,” Senate Aging Committee Chairman Casey said. “The Elder Justice Reauthorization and Modernization Act would support older adults and adults with disabilities affected by social isolation, abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation while investing in critical long-term care services. This legislation fulfills the promise of the Elder Justice Act to protect and care for the generations who came before us.”
“Older Americans should be able to age with dignity,” Co-Chair of the House Elder Justice Caucus Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici said. “This update will continue to address financial and physical abuse and social isolation, which unfortunately are too common among older Americans. And importantly, our legislation will help recruit and retain more long-term care workers and support advocates for seniors and people with disabilities. As Co-Chair of the House Elder Justice Caucus, I am committed to doing all I can to get this needed update to the Elder Justice Act over the finish line.”
The legislation directly appropriates $4.5 billion for new and existing EJA programs and activities through fiscal year (FY) 2027, including:
- $1.6 billion for post-acute and long-term care worker recruitment and retention;
- $1.9 billion for Adult Protective Services functions and grant programs;
- $232.5 million for long-term care ombudsman program grants and training;
- $500 million to support linkages to legal services and medical-legal partnerships; and
- $250 million to address social isolation and loneliness.
The Elder Justice Reauthorization & Modernization Act of 2023 is supported by key national stakeholders, including: The Coalition to End Social Isolation and Loneliness, County Welfare Directors Association of California, Elder Justice Coalition (EJC), Massachusetts Disabled Persons Protection Commission, National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA),National Association of Counties (NACo), National Association of County Human Services Administrators (NACHSA), Pennsylvania Association of Area Agencies on Aging, Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, and SAGE.
A summary of the bill can be found HERE.
A section-by-section summary of the bill can be found HERE.
The legislative text of the bill can be found HERE.