Congressional panel examining reverse mortgages today

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The rapid growth of reverse mortgage use by seniors - as well as the increased protections older adults might need - will be the subject of a Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing this morning.

A panel of invited witnesses will examine trends since the implementation 20 years ago of the Federal Home Equity Conversion Mortgage program, which allows individuals older than 62 to convert home equity into monthly income. Many long-term advocates support greater use of reverse mortgages as a private-pay means of paying for long-term care.

Although the use of reverse mortgages has risen over the years, so too have over aggressive marketing of investment products and unscrupulous conversion of funds, observers have warned. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) will chair the hearing in the Senate Dirksen Building in Washington on behalf of Committee Chairman Herb Kohl (D-WI).