Laws Protecting Senior Citizens In Florida: A Comprehensive Overview
From elder abuse to guardianships, the laws protecting senior citizens in Florida cover a wide range of challenges faced by Florida’s older population. Learn more here.
Fundamental Laws Protecting Senior Citizens In Florida
There are several laws, both federal and local, that seek to protect the rights, privileges, and civil liberties of senior citizens in Florida. The most fundamental of these laws include the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Florida Civil Rights Act under the Florida Statutes.
Americans with Disability Act — Also known as the ADA, this act was enacted in 1990 and has provisions that protect individuals with permanent disability from any form of neglect, abuse, or discrimination in public life. The law guarantees civil rights protection for people with permanent disability in areas such as:
- Public accommodation.
- Government services.
The ADA was amended in 2009 to change the definition of disability in the Act. The amendments affected titles of the ADA including:
- Title I—This includes employment practices of private employers with over 15 employees, employment agencies, state and local governments, labor unions, agents of the employer, and joint management-labor committees.
- Title II—This includes the programs and activities of state and local government bodies.
- Title III—This includes private entities that are considered places of public accommodation.
The Florida Civil Rights Act – The Florida Civil Rights Act (FCRA) is a state law that seeks to protect people from discrimination based on race, color, sex, creed, age, nationality, or sexual orientation. The FCRA is an expansion of the provisions contained in the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Florida law, however, has major differences with the 1964 federal law concerning breach of employment statutes. An experienced elder law attorney can explain these laws to you during your consultation.
What Is Considered a Senior Citizen?
Chapter 501, section 2077 of the 2020 Florida Statutes, also cited as the ‘Assisted Living Facilities Act’, defines a senior citizen and an elderly person as someone 60 years of age or older.
If you are interested in protecting your safety or in guarding the safety of the seniors you care about, seek the services of our experienced elder attorneys today. We will help you determine if you or your elder family member is a victim of exploitation or abuse.
Laws Against Taking Advantage Of The Elderly
There are other laws in place to protect Florida’s senior population. More specifically, several laws exist to prevent abuse, exploitation, and neglect toward elderly individuals by those who hold a position of trust or power over them, including families and staff at nursing homes. Most notable is Florida Statutes, Section 825.103—Abuse, Neglect, and Financial Exploitation of Elderly Persons and Disabled Adults.
This section of the Florida Statutes prohibits the abuse, neglect, and exploitation of an elderly person or vulnerable adult by persons who:
- Stands in a position of trust and confidence with the elderly person or elderly adult.
- Has a fiduciary duty or business relationship with an elderly person or disabled adult.
Prohibited Acts Against Vulnerable Adults in Florida
The various acts prohibited under this section include:
Elder abuse—This is any willful act or threatened act by a relative, caregiver, or family member which causes or is likely to cause significant impairment or great bodily harm to a vulnerable adult’s physical, mental, or emotional health.
Elder exploitation—This term is used to describe intentionally obtaining, by deception or intimidation, the money, assets, or properties of a vulnerable adult with the intent of temporarily or permanently depriving that person of these money, assets, or properties.
Elder neglect—This means the failure or omission by a caregiver to provide the health care, supervision, and services necessary to maintain the physical and mental health of a vulnerable adult.
Psychological injury—This means an injury to an intellectual functioning or emotional state of a vulnerable adult’s ability to function within that person’s customary range of performance and that person’s behavior.
Elder sexual abuse—This means any sexual act committed in the presence of a vulnerable adult without that person’s informed consent.
If accused by law enforcement, people involved in elder abuse under this section will be charged with committing a felony in the first, second, or third degree. The charge will depend on the amount and value of the money, assets, and property involved. Victims of elder abuse may also have the option of filing a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party if they sustained damages as a result of the abuse — contact us today for more information.
Where to Get Legal Help For Seniors
State laws have made provisions for the adequate protection of seniors and elderly citizens. These laws protect seniors from abuse by strangers and persons acting in a position of trust.
Unfortunately, many senior citizens, vulnerable adults, and their families do not know how or where to get help for themselves and their loved ones.
The legal problems plaguing senior citizens are not insurmountable. Reputable law firms are teeming with experts in the fields of elder law and estate planning. These experienced attorneys understand the nuances of these issues and possess the expertise to address them.
How an Attorney Can Help an Elderly Person Who Is Facing Legal Issues
The lawyers at our law firm are highly knowledgeable in elder law and have successfully helped many clients to find solutions to their health care needs and their other legal issues. Our lawyers will fight to protect your interest and those of your family members.
Listed below are some of our areas of specialization:
- Wills and Trust.
- Powers of Attorney.
- Estate Planning.
- Medicaid Planning.
- Bankruptcy and Debt Settlement.
If you want more information relating to where you can get help for a senior who has been a victim of abuse, get in touch with us now. An experienced elder attorney will be waiting to speak with you.
Disability Abuse Laws
The disability abuse laws in Florida apply to a person who has a physical or developmental disability or mental impairment that affects their ability to carry out everyday normal activities.
These Florida laws are aimed at helping those with disabilities that affect the person’s ability in the following areas:
- Providing one’s own care and performing basic activities of daily living.
The following are some significant provisions of the law.
Special Education Law—This statute recognizes the rights of those who require special education. The statute permits a parent and a guardian of a child with special education needs to invite their specialists to collaborate with public schools in their child’s education.
Employment Law – Section 760.01 of the Florida statutes protects the rights of people with permanent disability in employment. The provision forbids employers from discriminating against a person solely based on any handicap. According to Section 112.042, job applicants assessed to be competent to perform any job shall not be denied the opportunity because of any mental or physical disability.
The statute also mandates employers of people with disabilities to provide them with reasonable accommodation physically configured to suit their work routine.
Housing and Accessibility Law – Both the ADA and the Fair Housing Act have adequate provisions for people living with disabilities on any public property. Section 413.08 guarantees the rights of disabled individuals to rent, lease, or purchase properties as other members of the public.
Also, Title II of the ADA makes it mandatory for all public entities to make both old and new housing facilities accessible to persons with disabilities. Breach of these laws will make a person on conviction to be liable to criminal penalties including community service.
Disability Benefits Law – Although there are no state disability laws in Florida, disabled people can take advantage of federal laws like the Social Security disability programs to get disability benefits. The Social Security programs protect individuals with a disability and less income.
If you suspect that you or someone you love has been taken advantage of in violation of any of these laws, you may have legal options. Reach out to a trusted guardianship & nursing home abuse attorney today to request a free consultation.
New Law Against Exploitation Of The Elderly in Florida
The financial exploitation of seniors and elders in the U.S. is almost an epidemic. Each year, millions of vulnerable adults and senior citizens lose their incomes and finances through exploitation and fraud by trusted individuals. Fortunately, in Florida, there are new laws that protect an elderly person or vulnerable adult from this form of exploitation.
Florida Laws Protecting Seniors Against Financial Exploitation
Section 415.1111 of the Florida Statutes gives vulnerable adults the power to begin a civil action for damages, punitive damages, and attorney fees and costs when they have been financially exploited through fraud. Under this section, seniors and elders can sue anyone who uses fraud, intimidation, or undue influence to deprive them of their funds or real property.
Section 517.34—Protection of Specified Adults, protects vulnerable adult investors from financial exploitation. According to the law, securities dealers and investment advisers can delay a transaction or disbursement for a couple of weeks if he/she believes that fraud or financial exploitation has occurred.
Under Section 709.2116 (1) of the Florida Power of Attorney Act, a power of attorney can be reviewed if the court finds that the attorney or agent has breached his/her fiduciary duties.
Section 429.60 of the Adult Family-Care Homes Act—This law intends to encourage the provision of care for disabled adults and frail elders and seniors. The law provides that personal care be given to adults in family-care homes to delay the placements of residents in a nursing home.
Federal Elder Abuse Laws
In addition to Florida’s state elder abuse laws, numerous federal laws have been put in place to protect senior citizens. For instance, the Elder Justice Act 2010 is a federal statute enacted to prevent, detect, protect, and treat the abuse, exploitation, and neglect of elders and senior citizens. On the other hand, the Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act 2017 is a federal statute that mandates the authorities to investigate any person for fraudulent activities toward elderly citizens.
Are you experiencing abuse? Do you know any vulnerable adult person who’s dealing with abuse issues? Don’t suffer in silence. Call us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our elder law attorneys. We are committed to helping you or your loved one to find protection. Let us provide the help and support you need to navigate through the elder law processes in Florida.