Friday, December 2, 2016

Springfield Advocate Testifies At Senate Aging Hearing

Pushing to better protect seniors from neglect and abuse by court-appointed guardians, Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill helped lead a hearing on this topic today.

Jessica Kruse with Ozarks Elder Law in Springfield testified that many judges and clerks, especially in rural areas, can’t oversee every move by guardians.

Medical wishes, family support, and money are all on the line.

"Funding for monitoring programs is one area where the federal government can assist and reduce financial abuse in guardianship cases," said Kruse.

Kruse says, especially in rural areas, the systems are strained.

"It is very difficult for the judges and clerks to keep tabs on each guardian and conservator in their jurisdiction.  In addition to this, each state has it's own statutory system for guardianships that are carried out inconsistently within each county and each state," added Kruse.

The Senate Aging Committee hearing was led by Missouri Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill and Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins.

 According to the most recent published statistics, the Missouri Department of Health and Human Services received over 17,000 initial reports of abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation of seniors in one year. It’s unclear how many of these cases involve financial exploitation specifically.

Pointing to a recent report recommending better inter-governmental communication, McCaskill asked, “The problem is, when Social Security finds out there is fraud they are not sharing that information with state courts, even though they share it with other federal agencies—what’s the rationale for that? The (Social Security Administration) have caught someone ripping someone off, what in the good lord’s name are they doing keeping that information from state authorities?”

Full Article & Source:
Springfield Advocate Testifies At Senate Aging Hearing

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