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Law and Policy


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Federal Statutes

Older Americans Act (OAA)

The Older Americans Act (OAA) supports social services and programs to prevent the abuse, neglect, and exploitation of older persons, aged 60 and older. These include supportive services, family caregiver support, the long-term care ombudsman program, congregate and home-delivered nutrition services, and services to prevent the abuse, neglect, and exploitation of older persons. The OAA has been reauthorized and amended numerous times since its enactment in 1965.

For more information, visit Older Americans Act | ACL Administration for Community Living

Elder Justice Act (EJA)

In 2010, the Elder Justice Act was enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act. Viewed as landmark legislation—according to the Congressional Research Service, it was “Congress’s first attempt at comprehensive legislation to address abuse, neglect and exploitation of the elderly at the federal level.” A major objective is coordinating responses to older adult abuse across federal and state agencies and the Elder Justice Coordinating Council formed from this law still meets today. 


During the COVID-19 pandemic, $376 million was appropriated for grants to state adult protective services programs and ombudsman programs under the authority of the Act. Efforts have been underway to reauthorize the law since its expiration in 2014 and multiple reauthorizations have been introduced in Congress.

For more information, visit The Elder Justice Act | ACL Administration for Community Living

Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act (EAPPA)

This 2017 law increased data collection and information sharing in abuse and fraud cases, expanded training of federal prosecutors and investigators, established an elder justice coordinator position in both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice, and increased penalties for criminals targeting older adults.

For more information, visit The Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act- Congress, Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act-Department of Justice, Elder Justice Initiative – Department of Justice


Federal Nursing Home Reform Act from the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 (known as OBRA ’87)

This 1987 law created “conditions of participation” – national standards of care and rights for people living in certified nursing facilities that facilities must meet in order to receive funding from Medicare and Medicaid. Since then, many regulations have been created to implement this law.

For more information, visit OBRA ’87 Summary – Consumer Voice, Nursing Homes – CMS.gov

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Federal Policy Resources

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State Statutes

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State Elder Abuse Statutes

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NCEA Policy Summaries

Law Enforcement Resources

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Elder Abuse Guide for Law Enforcement (EAGLE) is a national web module designed to support officers in identifying, intervening, and resolving cases of elder abuse. Visit EAGLE for mandatory reporting, consumer protection, and criminal statutes

Last Modified: 04/05/2024