Authorizes banks to refuse payment of moneys when there is reason to believe that a vulnerable adult is being financially exploited.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the social services law and the banking law, in relation to authorizing banking institutions to refuse to disburse moneys in circumstances of the financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult
PURPOSE: This legislation would authorize a banking organization, upon the reasonable belief of the organization, a social services organization, or a law enforcement agency, that the financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult has occurred or may occur, to refuse to conduct any transaction that requires the dispersal of moneys in the account of a vulnerable adult or moneys held for the benefit of such adult. This legislation also authorizes a banking organization to provide access to or copies of historical records or recent transactions relevant to suspected financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult to law enforcement agencies and social service officials responsible for administering the provisions of this article. The term financial exploitation of an adult is as defined in Social Services Law section 473.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1: Amends the Social Services Law 473, relating to the provision of Adult Protective Services. This bill adds a new subdivision 9 to authorize a banking organization, which reasonably believes that the financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult has occurred, to refuse to conduct any transaction that requires the processing of funds of a vulnerable adult. It also allows a social service agency or a law enforcement agency to report a suspected incident of financial exploitation to a financial institution. In addition, a banking organization may provide law enforcement agencies and social service officials, responsible for administering the provisions of this article, with access to or copies of historical records or recent transactions relevant to suspected financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult.
A banking organization is not required to refuse to disburse funds pursuant to this act, but if such organization does so based on the reasonable suspicion that financial exploitation may occur or has occurred, or based on the information provided by a social services official or law enforcement agency, then such banking organization shall report the incident to the responsible social services official.
A refusal to disburse moneys pursuant to this section shall terminate upon a finding by the banking institution that disbursement will not result in the financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult, or the issuance of a court order directing the disbursal of money.
Section 2: Amends banking Law section 4 to make conforming amendments to this law so that it is consistent with the new provisions provided for in the Social Services Law.
Section 3: Provides for an effective date of 180 days after this act shall become a law.
JUSTIFICATION: Persons over the age of 65 are the fastest growing segment of the American population. While senior citizens constituted only 4% of the total population in 1900, by 1994 the proportion of seniors in the United States had grown to 12.5%. By 2050 almost 25% of all Americans will be over age 65. This dramatic shift in population distribution has produced tremendous upheavals in family structure and in our societal response to the treatment and care of our senior population. One problem faced by many seniors today is how to care for themselves when their traditional network of support, their children and grandchildren, are occupied with raising their own families and are often spread out over a wide geographic area.
Evidence suggests that there may be a surprisingly high percentage of senior citizens who are, either intentionally or unintentionally, mistreated by family members or institutional caregivers. This maltreatment can take many forms, ranging from physical and psychological abuse to neglect to financial abuse and exploitation. The loss of one's financial assets can have a severe and long-term impact on a senior's wellbeing and quality of life.
Encouraging the reporting of suspected financial exploitation of vulnerable adults, and giving financial institutions the ability to freeze an account during an investigation, is an important public policy goal that should be achieved.
This bill provides protections for all vulnerable adults that are protected under the Adult Protective Services Programs as provided for under Social Services Law Article 9-B, which includes all vulnerable adults that are 18 years of age or older.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: Passed in the Senate in 2013 (S.5597).
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the 180th day after it shall become a law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 6451 IN SENATE January 24, 2014 ___________Introduced by Sen. ZELDIN -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Aging AN ACT to amend the social services law and the banking law, in relation to authorizing banking institutions to refuse to disburse moneys in circumstances of the financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 473 of the social services law is amended by adding a new subdivision 9 to read as follows: 9. (A) AS USED IN THIS SUBDIVISION: (I) "BANKING INSTITUTION" MEANS ANY STATE OR FEDERALLY CHARTERED BANK, TRUST COMPANY, SAVINGS BANK, SAVINGS AND LOAN ASSOCIATION OR, CREDIT UNION. (II) "VULNERABLE ADULT" MEANS AN INDIVIDUAL WHO BECAUSE OF MENTAL AND/OR PHYSICAL IMPAIRMENT, IS UNABLE TO MANAGE HIS OR HER OWN RESOURCES, OR PROTECT HIMSELF OR HERSELF FROM FINANCIAL EXPLOITATION. (B) IF A BANKING INSTITUTION, SOCIAL SERVICES OFFICIAL OR LAW ENFORCE- MENT AGENCY REASONABLY BELIEVES THAT FINANCIAL EXPLOITATION OF A VULNER- ABLE ADULT HAS OCCURRED OR MAY OCCUR, THE BANKING INSTITUTION MAY, BUT SHALL NOT BE REQUIRED TO, REFUSE ANY TRANSACTION REQUIRING THE DISBURSAL OF MONEYS IN THE ACCOUNT OF: (I) A VULNERABLE ADULT; (II) WHICH A VULNERABLE ADULT IS A BENEFICIARY, INCLUDING TRUST AND GUARDIANSHIP ACCOUNTS; AND (III) A PERSON WHO IS SUSPECTED OF ENGAGING IN THE FINANCIAL EXPLOITA- TION OF A VULNERABLE ADULT. (C) A BANKING INSTITUTION MAY ALSO REFUSE TO DISBURSE MONEYS PURSUANT TO THIS SUBDIVISION IF A SOCIAL SERVICES OFFICIAL OR LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY PROVIDES INFORMATION TO SUCH INSTITUTION DEMONSTRATING THAT IT IS REASONABLE TO BELIEVE THAT FINANCIAL EXPLOITATION OF A VULNERABLE ADULT HAS OCCURRED OR MAY OCCUR. (D) A BANKING INSTITUTION SHALL NOT BE REQUIRED TO REFUSE TO DISBURSE FUNDS PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION. SUCH A REFUSAL SHALL BE IN THE BANKINGEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD11512-03-4 S. 6451 2
INSTITUTION'S DISCRETION, BASED ON THE INFORMATION AVAILABLE TO SUCH INSTITUTION. (E) ANY BANKING INSTITUTION WHICH REFUSES TO DISBURSE MONEYS PURSUANT TO THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL: (I) MAKE A REASONABLE EFFORT TO PROVIDE NOTICE, ORALLY OR IN WRITING, TO ALL PARTIES AUTHORIZED TO TRANSACT BUSINESS ON THE ACCOUNT FROM WHICH DISBURSEMENT WAS REFUSED; AND (II) REPORT THE INCIDENT TO THE SOCIAL SERVICES OFFICIAL RESPONSIBLE FOR ADMINISTERING ADULT PROTECTIVE SERVICES PURSUANT TO THIS ARTICLE FOR THE AFFECTED VULNERABLE ADULT. (F) THE REFUSAL TO DISBURSE MONEYS PURSUANT TO THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL TERMINATE UPON THE EARLIER OF: (I) THE TIME AT WHICH THE BANKING INSTITUTION IS SATISFIED THAT THE DISBURSEMENT WILL NOT RESULT IN THE FINANCIAL EXPLOITATION OF A VULNER- ABLE ADULT; OR (II) THE ISSUANCE OF AN ORDER BY A COURT OF COMPETENT JURISDICTION, DIRECTING THE DISBURSAL OF THE MONEYS. (G) A BANKING INSTITUTION MAY PROVIDE ACCESS TO OR COPIES OF RECORDS RELEVANT TO SUSPECTED FINANCIAL EXPLOITATION OF A VULNERABLE ADULT TO LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES AND SOCIAL SERVICES OFFICIALS RESPONSIBLE FOR ADMINISTERING THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ARTICLE. SUCH RECORDS MAY INCLUDE RELEVANT HISTORICAL RECORDS AND RECENT TRANSACTIONS RELATING TO SUSPECTED FINANCIAL EXPLOITATION. (H) A BANKING INSTITUTION OR AN EMPLOYEE OF SUCH AN INSTITUTION SHALL BE IMMUNE FROM CRIMINAL, CIVIL OR ADMINISTRATIVE LIABILITY FOR REFUSING TO DISBURSE MONEYS OR DISBURSING MONEYS PURSUANT TO THIS SUBDIVISION, AND FOR ACTIONS TAKEN IN FURTHERANCE OF THAT DETERMINATION, INCLUDING THE MAKING OF A REPORT OR THE PROVIDING OF ACCESS TO OR COPIES OF RELE- VANT RECORDS TO A SOCIAL SERVICES OFFICIAL OR LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY, IF SUCH DETERMINATIONS AND ACTIONS WERE MADE IN GOOD FAITH AND IN ACCORD- ANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SUBDIVISION. S 2. Section 4 of the banking law is amended by adding a new subdivi- sion 4 to read as follows: 4. A BANKING INSTITUTION OR AN EMPLOYEE OF SUCH AN INSTITUTION SHALL BE IMMUNE FROM CRIMINAL, CIVIL OR ADMINISTRATIVE LIABILITY FOR REFUSING TO DISBURSE MONEYS OR DISBURSING MONEYS PURSUANT TO SUBDIVISION NINE OF SECTION FOUR HUNDRED SEVENTY-THREE OF THE SOCIAL SERVICES LAW, AND FOR ACTIONS TAKEN IN FURTHERANCE OF THAT DETERMINATION, INCLUDING THE MAKING OF A REPORT OR THE PROVIDING OF ACCESS TO OR COPIES OF RELEVANT RECORDS TO A SOCIAL SERVICES OFFICIAL OR LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY, IF SUCH DETER- MINATIONS AND ACTIONS WERE MADE IN GOOD FAITH AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH SUBDIVISION NINE OF SECTION FOUR HUNDRED SEVENTY-THREE OF THE SOCIAL SERVICES LAW. FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SUBDIVISION, THE TERM "BANKING INSTI- TUTION" SHALL MEAN ANY STATE OR FEDERALLY CHARTERED BANK, TRUST COMPANY, SAVINGS BANK, SAVINGS AND LOAN ASSOCIATION OR, CREDIT UNION. S 3. This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after it shall have become a law.