PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, VA – At a ceremony in Herndon yesterday, Governor Terry McAuliffe signed Senate Bill 1462, sponsored by Senator Jeremy McPike, to strengthen reporting requirements when elder financial abuse is suspected. Current law requires Social Services to alert law enforcement when they suspect financial exploitation of the elderly at $50,000 or above. Starting July 1, the arbitrary $50,000 threshold will be removed.
“As a firefighter and EMT for 17 years, I have seen the effects of financial abuse towards our elderly neighbors, and it can be devastating,” said McPike. The Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services estimates that older Virginians have lost $28 Million per year to financial exploitation. “I believe that number is low due to underreporting,” said McPike. “And we know that for some people, even the loss of $5,000-$10,000 is their whole life’s savings. It is imperative that we protect seniors from this kind of exploitation.”
Governor McAuliffe signed the bill into law at the Herndon Senior Center on May 31. Also present was Secretary of Health and Human Resources, Bill Hazel, as well as Senator Barbara Favola (D- 31st District). Governor McAuliffe also signed a bill sponsored by Senator Favola to direct the Commonwealth Council on Aging to explore strategies to improve nutrition and eliminate food insecurity among older adults. Nearly 100 seniors came out to witness the signing ceremony.
“We have a duty to protect seniors in Virginia,” stated McPike. “This legislation sends the clear signal that no amount of financial abuse against the elderly will be tolerated. I am grateful to my colleagues in the General Assembly and to the Governor for supporting this legislation.”