Defending Seniors--Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's Office of Older Americans

April 12, 2012
By Ettinger Law Firm on April 12, 2012 6:00 AM |

The Star Tribune recently profiled Hubert Humphrey III--a former favorite son of Minnesota--who is now in a new role in Washington D.C. helping to enact national senior care policy that might affect older Americans across the country. Humphrey was recently chosen to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's Office of Older Americans. He was chosen for the position in large part because of his previous advocacy on the AARP's national board of directors.

The new federal office is engaged in many different battles, all aimed at improving the lives of the growing class of American seniors and protecting them from falling victim to financial predators. Our New York elder law attorneys understand the challenges faced by so many older Americans and appreciate the need to enact common sense safety steps at the federal level.

The Office of Older Americans was actually created as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. It was created to safeguard the rights of those over 62 and ensure they are properly educated about their financial options. Assistance in these and similar matters is all the more important now in a world with stagnant retirement accounts and rising healthcare costs. Each New York elder law attorney at our firm works first-hand on many of these goals, helping local residents seeking to craft plans to protect their long-term financial and medical well-being.

Retirement concerns are on the group's docket. Amazingly, a 2007 report found that three of five families headed by a senior had no retirement savings. The office is hoping to address this issue on a range of policy and educational fronts.

In addition, one item at the top of the organization's list is the need to crack down on elder financial exploitation. MetLife found that older Americans lost $3 billion from exploitation in 2010 alone. The rising senior population only means that the total cost of senior financial abuse will likely increase in the future. Tackling financial exploitation often requires having an extra pair of eyes watching a senior's financial situation--such as an elder law estate planning lawyer. This is important because many financial abusers are friends or family members of the senior. That is why Humphrey notes that addressing the problem includes helping seniors both recognize the abuse and seek help when necessary. He quips, "I intend to make it the Office of Older, Smarter American."

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