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Emma Ayers

A Dimming Dream Of Retirement In California

By | IN THE NEWS, SENIOR POVERTY | No Comments
KPBS: A Dimming Dream Of Retirement In California (June 19, 2018).

Each month, Rosanne Goodwin scours her one-bedroom apartment outside San Diego for possessions to sell on eBay.

“I’ve sold photo albums,” Goodwin said. “I’ve sold whatever I could that’s just around the house, hand tools that I’ve had since I was in my 20s that my dad had given me for being out on my own. I just look around and wonder what can I sell now that will generate some income?”

California has one of the highest percentages of seniors living in poverty in the United States, behind only Washington DC, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. One in five seniors in California live in poverty, after adjusting for spending on basic necessities. Read More

Oral Health for Older Adults in California: Advocacy Guide

By | Advocate's Guide, Health Care, ISSUE BRIEF, Oral Health | No Comments

New Advocacy Guide: Oral Health for Older Adults in California

Oral health affects overall health – this is particularly true for older adults. Yet, access to oral health treatment is limited and complicated by factors such as lack of dental coverage, complicated rules, and lack of dental providers. To assist California advocates in connecting their clients with oral health treatment, Justice in Aging has developed an Advocacy Guide for Oral Health for Older Adults in California.

The Guide includes a summary with advocacy tips on the following topics:

  • Why oral health matters
  • The state of oral health for older adults in California today
  • Health insurance coverage options for older adults including Medicare, Denti-Cal, and other forms of coverage
  • Unique barriers sub-populations of older adults encounter in accessing oral health including dual eligibles and nursing facility residents
  • Treatment alternatives for individuals without dental coverage
  • Additional resources

It is our intention that this Guide will help advocates navigate the system and empower them to identify and address systemic barriers to care.

Visit Justice in Aging’s Oral Health page for additional resources and help us celebrate #OralHealthMonth by forwarding this resource to your networks.

Welcome to Summer 2018 Fellows and Interns!

By | Statements | No Comments

This summer we’re excited to have two fellows joining us for the inaugural year of our new Justice in Aging summer fellowship program and to be joined by three legal interns. Read more about them below.

Prathyusha Chenji, Racial Justice Fellow (DC)
Prathyusha is a rising 3rd year law student at Emory University School of Law. Before joining Justice in Aging for the summer, she worked as a Law Student Intern at a medical-legal partnership in Atlanta, GA, providing on-site legal services relating to Supplemental Security Income benefits and disability determination in children. Prathyusha also worked as a Congressional Intern in the U.S. House of Representatives. Prior to law school, she graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor’s degree in Asian Languages and Civilizations and concentration in Molecular Biosciences.

Alana Murphy, Colin Alexander Health Law Fellow (OAK)
Alana is a rising 3L at UC Davis School of Law. As an Oakland native, Alana is excited to spend the summer at home in Oakland. Alana went to law school to pursue a career in public interest law and is thrilled to learn more about impact litigation and policy advocacy this summer. Last summer, Alana worked in direct services at the AIDS Legal Referral Panel in San Francisco where she assisted in eviction defense and social security overpayment issues. Prior to law school Alana worked at Project Open Hand, a nonprofit that provides food for people living with critical illnesses. Alana also spent a year living in Santiago, Chile teaching English. Alana is thrilled to learn more about health law and policy this summer and to get to know the Justice in Aging community!

Will Harrison, Summer Intern (DC)
Will is a rising 2L at Tulane Law School. Prior to attending law school, Will spent two and a half years managing the Nashville area State Health Insurance Assistance Program (TN SHIP), a federally funded agency that provides free, unbiased Medicare education and counseling. While living in Philadelphia, Will spent two years coordinating the freshmen volunteering program at Drexel University and a year as an Americorps VISTA at YouthBuild Philly Charter School. Will has an interest in legislative and administrative advocacy, and how government agencies and programs can equitably serve citizens of all backgrounds. Will received his undergraduate degree from Haverford College.

Kay Kim, Summer Intern (LA)
Kay Kim is a rising 2L at UCLA School of Law. She was born and raised in southern California, where she spent her formative years in the Coachella Valley. Kay graduated from UC Berkeley in 2014 with a B.A. in Media Studies. Before attending law school, she worked full-time for three years in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area. Though she is unsure as to what area of law she wants to practice, Kay would like to work within Los Angeles’ public interest sector after graduating from law school.

Clark Manning, Summer Intern (LA)
Clark is a rising 2L at Southwestern Law School. Previously, Clark was a legal intern at a small probate firm where he began his exposure to elder injustice. Clark graduated from Azusa Pacific University in 2017 with a major in political science and a minor in prelaw.

Ideology threatens to trump facts in official Medicare handbook

By | IN THE NEWS | No Comments

Reuters: Ideology threatens to trump facts in official Medicare handbook (May 24, 2018). In September, the federal government will mail a handbook on Medicare enrollment to 43 million households. “Medicare & You” is an important, authoritative source on a wide array of plan options for the annual enrollment period that runs from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7, and it has been mailed out to beneficiaries each year since 1999.

But this year, advocate groups for seniors are crying foul over language contained in a draft of the 2019 handbook edition sent to them for review by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The Medicare Rights Center and two other groups (Justice in Aging and the Center for Medicare Advocacy) argue that the draft contains inaccurate, ideologically tinted descriptions of the tradeoffs between original fee-for-service insurance and a privatized managed-care alternative. Read more.

‘Good Enough’ Is Not: Pushing Nursing Homes Past Mediocre Care

By | IN THE NEWS | No Comments

Aging Today: ‘Good Enough’ Is Not: Pushing Nursing Homes Past Mediocre Care (May 18, 2018). No one in their right mind would choose a new home in a mere 48 hours, based on a list of possibilities from a hospital discharge planner, and after making a few phone calls and (maybe) a couple of visits.Yet it is common practice for many nursing home residents. Many nursing homes are “chosen” in exactly this way and, unfortunately, a future resident’s lack of control often persists throughout life in these settings. Read more in this Op-Ed by Eric Carlson.

How Medicaid Work Requirements Will Harm Older Adults & Family Caregivers

By | FACT SHEET, Health Care, Health Care Defense | No Comments

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued guidance allowing states to condition Medicaid eligibility on fulfilling work and “community engagement” requirements. Under this policy, states can require adults to work in order to receive Medicaid if they are under age 65 and not disabled under the Social Security Administration’s strict definition. Although states are required to exempt some individuals who cannot work based on their health conditions, and encouraged to allow caregiving hours to count as work, all of these individuals will still be subject to onerous reporting requirements. This presents a significant barrier to health care access for many of the nearly 9 million adults ages 50 to 64 who rely on Medicaid, as well as nearly 5 million people with disabilities and chronic health conditions who do not receive Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income, and family caregivers. Learn more with our factsheet!

Supporting Older Americans’ Basic Needs: Health Care, Income, Housing and Food

By | FACT SHEET, Health Care, Health Care Defense, ISSUE BRIEF, Medicaid, Medicare, SENIOR POVERTY, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income | No Comments

Older adults and their families strive each day to pay for health care and medicine, keep food on the table, have a roof over their heads, and have enough cash on hand to pay the utilities, get where they need to go and meet other basic needs. As families work together to meet these challenges, they are supported by a broad range of federal programs that provide Americans with the means to thrive as they grow older and remain at home and in their communities.

This issue brief discusses how these various programs work, who is eligible for them, and how they support the health and economic well-being of older Americans. For a quick overview, check out the fact sheet.

In-Kind Support and Maintenance in the SSI Program

By | Economic Security, REPORTS, Supplemental Security Income | No Comments

Why do some individuals receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits only receive $500 a month instead of $750? In many cases, the reason is “in-kind support and maintenance” (ISM).

As SSI is a means-tested program, applicants and recipients must meet several financial eligibility criteria on an ongoing basis. The income and resource rules, including in-kind support and maintenance, are particularly complicated. These rules can cause significant hardship for low-income people trying to survive on SSI.

This new guide, In-Kind Support and Maintenance in the SSI Program, gives advocates tools to successfully navigate ISM on behalf of their clients. They can make a big difference by making sure that clients can maximize their SSI benefits to better meet their needs for shelter, food, health care, and other necessities.

Read the guide, and watch the recording of today’s webinar on In-Kind Support and Maintenance here.

Tax ‘Reform’ Puts Elders & the Safety Net at Risk

By | IN THE NEWS | No Comments

Aging Today:  Tax ‘Reform’ Puts Elders & the Safety Net At Risk, (April 9, 2018). Even a few months into 2018, policymakers, reporters, economists, accountants and ordinary Americans are still working to understand the impact of the tax law that Republicans passed in a mad rush at the end of 2017. Little attention, however, is being paid to how the new law affects older adults. Kevin Prindiville goes over three things about the new tax bill that should worry advocates for older adults.

Advocating for Nursing Facility Residents Under the Revised Federal Requirements

By | Articles, Health Care | No Comments

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published a major revision of federal nursing facility regulations on October 4, 2016, providing new and expanded requirements for nursing facilities that participate in Medicare or Medicaid. This was the first major revision since the regulations were issued more than 25 years before. This article provides a comprehensive guide to the revised regulations, focusing on care planning and person-centered care; admission, transfer, and discharge procedures; grievance procedures; resident rights, choice, safety, and self-determination; staffing, medications, and quality of care; and protections from abuse, neglect, and exploitation. The article also discusses advocacy and enforcement issues raised by the new rules and subsequent CMS rulemaking activities under the administration of President Donald Trump, which are likely to result in modification of the rules. Read the article by Justice in Aging’s Eric Carlson and the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care’s Lori Smetanka and Nancy Stone in the Spring 2018 issue of National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) here.

Read the article