Bill Benson has worked in aging and health for 36 years. Along with IA2 Executive Director Dave Baldridge, Benson has co-authored numerous papers on long-term care issues in Indian country. As former staff director for the Senate Labor Subcommittee on Aging, Benson oversaw the successful reauthorization of the Older Americans Act (OAA) in 1992. Under his leadership, that year’s reauthorization included Title VII, Subtitle B–Native American Organization and Elder Justice Provisions — the first federal law created to address the issues of elder abuse and elder justice for Indian elders.
He established The Benson Consulting Group in 1998. In 2002 he joined with Sue Andersen to form Health Benefits ABCs (HBABCs), an independent consulting practice specializing in aging and health policy & services, program development, assessment and strategic planning, and training. Their clients include a number of national, state and private organizations, including n4a, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs, the American Health Quality Foundation, National Adult Protective Services Association, American Society on Aging, the Population Association of America. American Planning Council, Institute for Health & Aging at the University of California, San Francisco, the Maryland Department of Aging, the New York State Office for the Aging, the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, WISER and others.
From 1993 to 1998 Mr. Benson was the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Aging at the Administration on Aging (AoA) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He was the acting Assistant Secretary for Aging in 1997. Mr. Benson spent eight years in various capacities in the U.S. Congress including staff director of the Subcommittee on Aging of the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee, staff director of the Subcommittee on Housing and Consumer Interests of the House Select Committee on Aging, and with the Senate Special Committee on Aging. Mr. Benson played a major role in the 1987 and 1992 amendments to the Older Americans Act including the creation of Title VII, the OBRA ‘87 nursing home reform legislation, numerous Medicare and Medicaid provisions, women’s health, pension and other notable legislative initiatives.
Prior to moving to Washington, D.C., Mr. Benson was with the California Department of Aging including serving for more than five years as the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman.
He is a past president of the National Citizens Coalition for Nursing Home Reform, president of the Environmental Alliance for Senior Involvement & the American Association for International Aging, and chairs the advisory board to the Center on Global Aging at Catholic University of America’s School of Social Work. He is in his 13th season as host of First Person, a weekly series of interviews with Holocaust survivors before live audiences at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.