EAST PROVIDENCE, RI (WPRI) ─ Governor Dan McKee signed two bills Monday designed to help Rhode Islanders over 60.
The bill was officially signed at the East Providence Senior Center.
“I take pride in serving the aging Rhode Island community in every possible way,” said McKee. “Making sure our dearest neighbors are not being financially exploited is a breeze, and I thank the lawmakers and advocates who make Rhode Island better for everyone every day, including people like my mother.”
A bill requires financial institutions to report suspected financial exploitation of the elderly. The other gives elders a huge benefit for volunteering – property tax credits.
Any financial institution employee who suspects an account holder over the age of 60 is being financially exploited and a caregiver is using an elderly person’s finances for personal gain without permission is now required by law to notify the institution itself, and the institution must notify The Rhode Island Office of Healthy Aging. The institution can also temporarily withhold transactions involving the alleged victim.
Senator Cynthia Coyne, one of the bill’s first sponsors, noted that there are now more than 243,000 Rhode Islanders over the age of 60, and that number is up 23% from 2016, according to the state’s Health Report for Healthy Aging Data for 2020 .
“The laws to be signed are about more than just finance; it’s about dignity, ”said Coyne. “No person should be taken advantage of by a caregiver they trust.”
The second bill allows communities to establish a program where an elder can volunteer for public programs and every hour of volunteering at the minimum wage rate can earn them an annual property tax credit of up to $ 1,500.
Rep. Jason Knight, pne of the sponsors of the second bill, said the property tax credit will help empower communities by encouraging people to connect and form new ones.
And McKee agrees.
“It’s a great way for seniors who are already volunteering to actually get compensation for that volunteering,” said McKee.
East Providence Mayor Bob DaSilva, whose city hosted the ceremony, said the volunteering tax credit would particularly benefit fixed income seniors.