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Federal Laws Addressing Elder Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation

As our elected officials gain knowledge about the magnitude and consequences of abuse, neglect and exploitation, bills are introduced in Congress to strengthen the programs and services that help prevent, detect and intervene abuse of elders and people with disabilities.

PopVox, an online service, makes it easy for people to educate themselves about federal legislation on issues that are important to them. The NCEA has created a PopVox account that shows legislation related to elder justice issues that is currently being considered by Congress. To learn more, visit

For information about current federal laws that address elder abuse, please see below:

A Compendium of Statutory Authorities that Address the Prevention, Detection, or Treatment of Elder Abuse (2010) by Congressional Research Service. At the request of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, the Congressional Research Service summarized information about provisions in federal law, including federal programs, grants, and other initiatives that address the prevention, detection, or treatment of elder abuse.

Elder Justice Act

Enacted as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) on March 23, 2010, the Elder Justice Act was the first piece of federal legislation passed to authorize a specific source of federal funds to address elder abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Test of the Elder Justice Act (PDF), Subtitle H in Title VI of Public Act 111 – 148 PPACA

The EJA:

  • Establishes national leadership in the Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services in the form of an Elder Justice Coordinating Counsel and an Advisory Board.
  • Authorizes grants to support improvements to Adult Protective Services and Long-Term Care Ombudsman programs, and state survey agencies for Medicare- and Medicaid-certified long-term care facilities.
  • Authorizes grants for the training for APS, Ombudsman, federal and state surveyors of nursing facilities.
  • Authorizes grants for forensic centers to develop expertise on elder abuse, neglect and exploitation.
  • Enhances long-term care staffing, data exchange in facilities, mandatory reporting of crimes against residents in federally-funded facilities, promulgation of guidelines to assist researchers, and authorizes a study on a national nurse aide registry.

At the time this website was created, funding for the EJA has never been appropriated by Congress

NCEA Webcast October 26, 2010 “Elder Justice Act: What It Says, What It Means, and When Will It Be Implemented?”

The Elder Justice Act, the first comprehensive federal legislation to address elder abuse, was signed into law by President Obama in March, 2010 as part of the health care reform act. This webcast will covers a brief history of the development of the Elder Justice Act; a section-by-section walk through of Act; and an explanation of the implementation process of the Act, including the difference between authorizations and appropriations, and a brief explanation of the anticipated timeframe for implementation. The webcast is presented by Bill Benson, the NAPSA National Policy Director and the Managing Principal in Health Benefits ABCs, an organization offering health and aging policy, educational, and strategic planning consulting services.

George Washington University’s National Health Policy Forum, November 30, 2010, provides an overview of the EJA Provisions “The Elder Justice Act: Addressing Elder Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation” (PDF)

The Elder Justice Coalition, a national advocacy organization, provides a one-page synopsis of the EJA as signed into law in 2010. “Elder Justice Act Summary” (PDF)

The American Bar Association’s Commission on Law and Aging provides their position on the Elder Justice Act and their Chair Joseph D. O’Connor’s testimony on the EJA to the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security at:

The Older Americans Act

National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities—Elder Rights Programs in State Plans describes how Title III and IV of the Older Americans Act (OAA) include provisions to uphold the rights of older people and prevent their abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

The Administration on Aging provides information about the Older Americans Act Reauthorization, targeted changes, and input received from stakeholders in 2011 at

Learn about the Older Americans Act-authorized Elder Rights Protection Programs as amended in 2006 (Title VII, Chapter 2, Sections 711/712).

National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center (NORC) includes Older Americans Act provisions related to nursing homes and AoA programs related to Long-Term Care Ombudsman in their NORC Library.

Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987

Family Violence Prevention and Services Act

The FVPSA was first authorized in 1984 as the only federal funding source dedicated directly to domestic violence shelters and programs. Congress passed a bill to reauthorize FVPSA as part of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) reauthorization through fiscal year 2015. It was signed into law on December 20, 2010.