Lifting Up the Voices of Social Security Beneficiaries

July 18, 2019 • By

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Last Updated: July 18, 2019

" "Elder Abuse is something most people don’t like to talk about. Yet, research shows that as many as two million elders are abused in the United States every year. With the help of our partners at Social Security, the National Center on Elder Abuse believes we can all find a solution to physical, emotional, sexual, financial, and neglectful abuse against the elderly.

The National Center on Elder Abuse provides the latest information, research, training, best practices, and resources on elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Our agency was first established by the U.S. Administration on Aging in 1988 as a national elder abuse resource center.

At the heart of elder abuse is a leading factor of abuse — social isolation. Isolation, in this context, means a scarce amount of close relationships and social contact with family and/or friends. Research shows that older adults who have poor social networks are consistently more at risk. Although social isolation can show up in many ways, building strong community support is essential to deterring abuse.

Social Security is a pinnacle of reliability and steadfastness for older adults. When Social Security speaks, people listen. We applaud the agency’s efforts to communicate with and provide resources for the elderly.

The other day a frightened 84-year-old gentleman contacted our offices. He received a call from “Social Security” stating that his Social Security number and Medicare information had been compromised. They needed him to verify his information over the phone. At first, the call seemed legitimate but then he thought it was odd that Social Security would call him to verify his personal information. He hung up, fearful that someone was trying to steal his identity. We assured him he did the right thing and instructed him to report that information to the Office of Inspector General online or by calling (800) 269-0271.

We also urged him to report these scams to the Federal Trade Commission through a new site related to Social Security scams. He was grateful for these resources and relieved to know where to file his report. This infrastructure of support empowers individuals.

You can help us in our endeavor to Lift Up the Voices against elderly abuse by downloading our Support and Tools for Elder Abuse Prevention, STEAP. Together, we can build a society that, as we age, embraces the power, wisdom, and beauty of years of learning and growing.

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About the Author

Julie Schoen, Deputy Director of the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA)

Julie Schoen, Deputy Director of the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA)


  1. Marion S.

    My x- husband passed away when he was 59. We were divorced in NYS in 1984. I never received any child support, or any other monies. He had a girlfriend that received his insurance and other monies with a value of over $300,000.00. My children got nothing and it was because the state he lived Marion Sue Carabellowas in Illinois and that was their law. He was a VP of a company and made a good deal of money. His name was Donald Gordon Jr., dob 6/16/44. I do not have his social security but I can get it from my files and divorce papers. I want to make sure that the girlfriend did not put in for his social security. If anyone is claiming it I would like to know. You can reach me at 336-534-5735. I now live in an apartment. My social security number is *** – ** – ***. My date of birth is 10/12/1946. My social security monthly is $888.00. I will wait for your. Reply. Thank you, Marion Carabello

  2. Jennifer Q.

    I’m.48 years old and have health issues and my x continues to manipulate me and beat up on me and curse me really bad…I live in an RV I .the backyard of my mother’s house and my mom won’t let me run my pipes ronjee septic tank…eveeutygies on the ground….it’s just awful ….my youngest daughter is with my x boyfriend now….they are making it so barf for me to even survive out here. they are treating up my vehicle and my ac and I can’t take no more

  3. Debbie

    Now if only Florida would actually enforce the laws regarding Elder Exploitation. What good are these laws if they are not enforced? What about all the victims that have no recourse when they are turned away when trying to file a police report, even with documented proof of the exploitation? We were told those cases are hard to prove in court ( mom could not see but yet when a distant relative took mom to a lawyer to sign Quit Claim Deed giving her joint tenancy with survivorship benefits, her signature is on it, but slanted upwards since she could not see what she was signing, which she was told was her Will by the relative. Medical records show proof of that among all the other evidence that she lacked capacity to consent) and that we could go to State Attn Office without filing police report. But they told us that a report has to be taken and forwarded to them from Sheriff Dept. Nobody with the authority to help will actually help. Mom was denied Medicaid for a nursing home because of “giving away 50% interest” of her house when she was deceived into signing the quit claim deed, told that could of been used for her care, and she could not sell house to pay for it since distant relative refused to sign moms house back to her or for mom to sell and pay for her care, instead waited for mom to pass away and now is filing lawsuits to get us out of the family home we built ourselves block by block, blood, sweat, and tears, after moving to the property in 1989. And its being facilitated by the system, not stopped. My mom isn’t the only victim of Elder Abuse and Exploitation, there are numerous victims that are turned away when reaching for help. The State picks and chooses when it comes to upholding and enforcing the laws, pretty much giving the green light for more and more people to abuse and exploit our elderly knowing they won’t be held accountable. And they claim to have best interest at hand for our elderly, their actions (or lack there of) show a whole different picture…

  4. Nilo F.

    0h yes, very accurate y precise information to keep in mind always

  5. carols


    I would like to mention, concerning SS retirement only, the abuse that is perpetrated against elders by the Soc Sec Admin. Such as:
    1. An hour on hold for SSA telephone customer service
    2. Over 600 days to receive a decision on an appeal
    3. Lists upon list of SSA created “qualifications”
    4. Demanding decades old information/proof of evidence
    5. An overemphasis of denial of benefits, rather than granting benefits
    6. Misinformation provided by SSA staff
    7. Undated, unsigned, unidentified authors of SSA written communications. No basic written business format.
    8. No regular written updates of appeal process. Not everyone has access to the internet.
    9. Complete black hole of communication once an appeal has been submitted.
    10. Receiving confusing written communication and/or two contradictory letters.
    11. #10 requiring telephone calls or SSA office visits for clarification, only to receive no clarification.
    12. No legal or consumer representation available for SSA retirement issues. IRS has a consumer representative, why not SSA?

    Just a few issues, I am sure others can also identify SSA abuses of elders. SSA, don’t get mad at the list, fix the abuses!

  6. Janice f.

    I am 68 yrs. old and living on a fixed income of 1213.00 a month. ..In 2017 , my daughter who lived in a different town than i, phoned me asking if I would cosign for her to get a car. . I said I couldn’t ,I had no credit . She pleaded saying that a dealership in town told her that wouldn’t be a problem, I recently was contact ed by a finance company concerning a late payment on an account I didn’t know about.. I said you must be mistaken, I don’t purchase anything on credit ,if I can’t pay cash I don’t buy it. He assured me there was no mistake. AS I MENTIONED , to him that was a cosign and he should contact my daugtor . I did sign some papers , ,I thought I was cosigner because I never recived copies of any contract I supposedly signed ,brought to me in atown where I lived at the time. .MY daughter called me saying , the dealership brought the car to where she was working and that they would be bringing me papers to sign.In a couple of days .I felt something wasn’t right but thought perhaps things had changed since I had made a purchase s in the past. So my daughter had a vehicle delivered to her in one town in my name while I lived in another town without me siging any thing at the time. I comme ted that something didn’t sound right. to make a long story short. I just realized , not only was I vitimized by my own daughter she refused to talk to me about this situation and leave saying she didnt want to discuss anything with me saying how stupid I am. 2days ago she totled the car which had no insurance and God only knows how many payment s she was behind. I dont know how tofind out about the delimma im in and she avoids me and demeans me when I try talking to her.. Where can I go , for help to make her be accountable. I cant afford to pay for a car. I am terrified. I AM willing to press charges…

  7. abby

    Social crime has increased gradually and a huge amount of people have been affected so raising best restaurant in sydenham voice against it is a good thing

  8. kimberlee g.

    I have suspicions that my brother may be using our deceased fathers social security number as well as my mothers. My father is deceased and a veteran . I am having difficulty finding anything out for my mother. She is 80 a surviving widow. Her living conditions are getting difficult and she needs to move .

  9. Allan T.

    What ever happened to the Nursing Home Ombudsmen program under AOA? In fact what happened to AOA?

  10. Joseph S.

    Great useful information for future referral!

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