Chairman Nadler Floor Statement in Support of H.R. 2922, the Elder Abuse Protection Act of 2021
Washington, June 22, 2021
Washington, D.C. - Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) delivered the following statement on the House floor in support of H.R. 2922, the Elder Abuse Protection Act of 2021:
"I rise in strong support of H.R. 2922, the bipartisan 'Elder Abuse Protection Act of 2021.' This bill would make permanent the Department of Justice’s Elder Justice Initiative and would assign the Initiative a number of critical responsibilities that would protect vulnerable seniors from fraud and abuse.
"The bill includes critical elder abuse preventive measures including an obligation to post elder abuse prevention resources online, to coordinate with the Office of Tribal Justice to address elder fraud on reservations, and to publish Spanish-language elder fraud and abuse materials. Additionally, the bill would authorize the Department’s operation of the National Elder Fraud hotline.
"These changes are a testament to the importance this Congress places on elder justice and its continued commitment to address emerging elder fraud issues.
"Sadly, tens of thousands of elderly Americans are abused and exploited every day. By one estimate, American seniors lose at least $2.9 billion each year due to financial abuse and exploitation. The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau similarly estimates that Elder Americans suffer an average annual loss of $34,200 due to fraud.
"Tragically, instances of elder fraud and abuse have only gone up—from 2013-2017, financial scams and other crimes targeting older Americans quadrupled.
"Elderly individuals are vulnerable to abuse on account of a myriad of factors, with social isolation and mental impairment, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, playing outsized roles.
"By making permanent and expanding the Elder Justice Initiative’s mandate, the Department of Justice can more effectively protect our Nation’s seniors and prosecute instances of elder abuse.
"At a time when seniors are perhaps at their most vulnerable, it only makes sense that the government redouble its efforts to protect America’s seniors.
"It is particularly important that marginalized elder communities get the educational and preventative resources they need. The Elder Abuse Protection Act does exactly that by requiring that the Elder Justice Initiative coordinate with the Office of Tribal Justice on how to address elder abuse on reservations. This provision would mean fewer elder indigenous Americans will fall victim to exploitation.
"The bill also makes permanent the Elder Abuse Fraud Hotline. With the hotline, concerned Americans can report instances of elder abuse directly to the Department of Justice and victims can obtain support and resources they need.
"The Elder Abuse Protection Act also requires that the Elder Justice Initiative share their materials online and in Spanish, more Americans will have access to the DOJ’s resources. Greater access to those materials is critical so that older Latinos, who comprise almost 4 million individuals, can also access these crucial resources.
"In short, H.R. 2922 redoubles the government’s commitment to preventing elder fraud and abuse, and to ensuring that seniors have access to the resources they need. I thank Representatives Garcia and Spartz, the sponsors of this bipartisan legislation, for their vision and their leadership on this important issue."I strongly support this legislation, and I urge my colleagues to support it as well."