An effort to put the brakes on Gov. Bruce Rauner’s plan to take critical home care services away from Illinois’ aging population passed out of the state Senate on Thursday.
Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston), chairman of the Senate’s Human Services Committee, sponsored legislation in response to the Rauner administration’s proposed cuts to the state’s Community Care Program.
The measure, House Bill 4351, would protect elderly residents who qualify to receive health care services in their homes through the program, rather than requiring them to move into more expensive nursing home settings, as Rauner has suggested.
SPRINGFIELD— Under current law, prosecution for financial exploitation of an elderly person or a person with a disability must occur within three years of the offense being committed.
State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) is trying to extend the statute of limitations for this type of offense.
“Seniors and the disabled aren’t always able to promptly recognize and report when they are being financially exploited, which is why it’s important to increase the timeframe when someone can be prosecuted for these crimes,” Bertino-Tarrant said.
In general, most states allow individuals to be prosecuted for financial exploitation of a senior or disabled person longer than three years after the offense occurred.
Alabama has a statute of limitations of seven years, and in Oregon the statute of limitations is six years. Minnesota recently extended the time period for when someone can be prosecuted for financially exploiting a senior or disabled person.
The plan supported by the senator would increase the statute of limitations for financial exploitation of an elderly person or a person with a disability to seven years in Illinois. This would align with banking laws and regulations that require banks to maintain financial records for seven years.
The proposal Bertino-Tarrant is backing also allows for defendants to be prosecuted for financial exploitation in any county where a victim over 60 or with a mental disability resides. This is important because suspects often live in a different county or state than their victim. Many seniors who have been financially exploited end up being placed in care facilities.
Bertino-Tarrant is the chief co-sponsor of Senate Bill 3180, which passed out of the Illinois Senate today. The legislation will now have to be approved by the Illinois House.
SPRINGFIELD — State senators Daniel Biss (D-Evanston), Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) and Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) announced today that they will be working with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) on a legislative agenda designed to protect children, working parents and seniors.
“At a time when working families are being attacked by the governor’s policies, it’s important to find ways to strengthen our state’s child care and home health care programs,” said Martinez, who is sponsoring Senate Bill 2536, which would safeguard existing health insurance for child care providers and ensure they receive appropriate training.
State Senator Forby (D-Benton) toured several rehabilitation and healthcare facilities to discuss the consequences Southern Illinois faces if Governor Rauner doesn’t work with legislators to pass a budget. Senator Forby listened to suggestions from the community affected by the budget so he can bring their recommendations to Springfield.
“Governor Rauner is holding the budget process hostage in exchange for proposals in his wage-killing turnaround agenda,” Senator Forby said.
SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Daniel Biss (D – Evanston) released the following the statement as the House passed legislation protecting eligibility requirements for older adults and persons with disabilities:
“We cannot in good conscience change the eligibility standards for our citizens who rely on daily essential services. Keeping the eligibility score at 29 will allow Illinoisans to stay in their homes and receive minimal care instead of forcing people into costly nursing home facilities.
This bill protects 24,000 adults in the Community Care Program and 10,000 persons with disabilities in the Home Services Program by allowing them to keep their care. I applaud its passage and I look forward to its ultimate signing into law.”
Through the safeguards created by this prospective law, service recipients are protected should the eligibility tool change or a new tool be implemented to determine need, which will allow for a gradual transition and less disruption of services.
The legislation has passed both Houses and now moves to the governor’s desk.
Seniors struggling to stay in their homes and people with disabilities in need of vital care would still have access to services under a plan passed by the Senate today. Without today’s action, substantial and detrimental changes to state-provided care proposed by the governor would force tens of thousands of older adults and adults with disabilities out of their homes and into costly nursing home facilities.
“The governor is cutting much more than hypothetical dollars from the budget with his plan,” said State Senator Daniel Biss (D – Evanston). “He is cutting a lifeline for thousands of seniors and disabled Illinoisans who often rely on minimal and inexpensive services to ensure their basic health and safety.”
SPRINGFIELD – In the wake of revelations that at least one con artist used a risky financial product called a reverse mortgage to scam dozens of senior citizens, State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) was pleased to announce today that the governor has signed her legislation designed to protect consumers from losing their homes in reverse mortgage schemes.
“A reverse mortgage is a complicated financial product that can leave homeowners and their families vulnerable to scams and unable to pay when the loan comes due,” Collins said. “This legislation requires lenders to provide potential borrowers with accurate information about the product, a list of counselors they can contact if they need help and the opportunity to reconsider within three days of signing the paperwork.”
For almost 30 years, a lawsuit filed by the state alleges Chicago remodeler Mark Diamond tricked senior citizens into taking out reverse mortgages – which pay out cash advances based on a homeowner’s equity – and then use the loan proceeds to pay his company to make home improvements. Instead, Diamond took the money while the repairs remained unfinished or poorly done. Many of his victims and their families faced losing cherished homes they’d owned for decades when the homeowner died or moved into long-term care and the loan (the cash paid out, plus interest) came due. Attorney General Lisa Madigan is asking a court to put Diamond, who kept his scheme going by conducting it under the auspices of different companies, out of business for good. Diamond’s practices are also under federal investigation.
Collins worked with Madigan, Housing Action Illinois and other advocates on Senate Bill 1281, which ensures potential borrowers are informed about the risks of reverse mortgages and also prohibits someone who facilitates a reverse mortgage from accepting any of the proceeds in exchange for services, as Diamond did. Finally, the legislation prevents conflicts of interest by banning lenders from receiving compensation in exchange for trying to sell borrowers on other financial products, such as life insurance policies and investments.
“The senior citizens I represent take great pride in their homes; many have worked hard their whole lives to pay off their mortgages,” Collins said. “Strong consumer protections can help them avoid unscrupulous schemes so they can live out their later years in peace and dignity and not worry about whether the family home will be there for their children and grandchildren.”
SPRINGFIELD - When a loved one is missing, every moment can feel like an eternity. That wait can be especially terrifying if the missing person suffers from dementia, potentially leaving them without the cognitive abilities to stay safe until help arrives.
A bill sponsored by Illinois state Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) was signed into law today, providing law enforcement with extra tools to help locate older adults with Alzheimer's or related dementia when they go missing. The new law creates the Silver Search program, whose task force will develop a toolkit and statewide awareness program.
"There's great risk when people with dementia go missing that they might not be able to keep themselves safe," said Sen. Biss, "so it's imperative we use all the tools at our disposal to find them quickly. Silver Search and programs like it are used across the country to help law enforcement act swiftly and appropriately to help locate this specific population."
SPRINGFIELD - Last year, in Georgia, an elderly man suffering from Alzheimer’s slipped away from his home in the middle of the night and wandered into a nearby neighborhood in the cold only to be shot dead when mistaken for an intruder.And this year in Texas, an elderly man suffering from Alzheimer’s wandered away from his family’s home in the middle of the night in the midst of freezing temperatures. He was later found dead.These are the tragic stories state Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) worked to prevent through legislation she helped pass out of the Illinois Senate this year. Her plan, which was signed into law today, allows law enforcement, Department on Aging and local law enforcement agencies to create a statewide awareness program to help locate individuals with Alzheimer’s and other cognitive diseases who go missing.