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Emma Ayers

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.

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

SSI 101: A Guide for Advocates

By | Advocate's Guide, Economic Security, ISSUE BRIEF, Supplemental Security Income | No Comments

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)—a need-based program administered by the Social Security Administration – provides a very basic income to over 8.2 million people, including 2.2 million seniors age 65+. As more seniors struggle to make ends meet in today’s economy, getting access to SSI can help low-income seniors escape deep poverty and avoid or move out of homelessness. Justice in Aging’s Supplemental Security Income 101: A Guide for Advocates introduces advocates and individuals who provide assistance to older adults to the SSI program and focuses on the basics of the program for those who qualify based on age (65 years or older).

Released today, the Guide includes:

  • A description of the SSI program and benefits
  • An overview of the application and appeals processes
  • A discussion of key eligibility criteria, including examples

And in case you missed our SSI Basics webinar last month, the video is now available.

Group helps aging LGBT community

By | IN THE NEWS | No Comments

Ventura County Star: Group helps aging LGBT community face challenges (3/9/2018). Older adults in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community face unique challenges as they become more vulnerable and are forced to depend on outside services for care and assistance. That’s the belief of the LGBT Aging Coalition of Ventura County, which was formed in late 2015 to bring together allies and members of the LGBT community. Most recently, the coalition presented a talk by Denny Chan, staff attorney of Justice in Aging, a national nonprofit with an office in Los Angeles. His talk, which took place on a recent Wednesday afternoon at the Pleasant Valley Community Center in Camarillo, covered some of the most pressing legal and long-term care issues facing LGBT older adults, as well as some of the best practices for reaching and serving this population.

Justice in Aging Welcomes Two New Attorneys

By | News Releases | No Comments

Justice in Aging is pleased to announce that we’ve recently added two new attorneys to our team.

Late last year, Carol Wong joined us in our Washington, DC office as our new litigation attorney. She’ll be working on impact litigation, increasing our capacity to file more cases that protect the health care and economic security rights of low-income seniors. Carol comes to Justice in Aging most recently from the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Employment Litigation Section.

Just last month, Sarah Galvan joined our team as an attorney on our National Center on Law and Elder Rights project. In that role, she’ll focus on legal services development, skills-based training, and technical support. She’ll also increase our support to the Equal Justice Works Elder Justice AmeriCorps Fellows Program. Sarah comes to Justice in Aging from the Center for Elder Law & Justice, a civil legal services provider in Buffalo, New York that provides free legal assistance to older adults.

Adding Carol and Sarah to our team helps us expand two important pillars of our work: litigation and training and technical assistance for legal professionals. As the safety net upon which seniors rely comes under attack, our ability to fight for the rights of low-income older adults in the courts through class action litigation is more important than ever. As the population ages and income inequality increases, it is critical that we are able to meet the growing need for attorneys trained in the top legal issues that impact older adults.

Please join us in welcoming Carol and Sarah to the team!

Carol Wong, Litigation Attorney
Carol Wong is based in Justice in Aging’s Washington, D.C. office.  Most recently, Carol was a Senior Trial Attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Employment Litigation Section.  During her years with the Department of Justice, she litigated employment discrimination cases arising under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.  While at the Department, Carol completed a detail to the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders where she focused on improving opportunities and access to federal resources for underserved Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.  Before her time at the Department of Justice, Carol was a district court law clerk for the Western District of Tennessee in Memphis.  She has also served on the boards of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of the Greater Washington, D.C. Area and the Asian Pacific American Bar Association Educational Fund.  Carol received her J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of Illinois College of Law.  She also received her undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Sarah Galvan, Staff Attorney, National Center on Law and Elder Rights
Sarah joined Justice in Aging in 2018 and is a staff attorney working on the National Center on Law and Elder Rights (NCLER). Under a contract with the Administration on Community Living, NCLER provides training, case consultation and technical assistance to the legal and aging network. Sarah’s work for NCLER focuses primarily on legal services development, skills-based training, and technical support. She also provides training and support for the Equal Justice Works Elder Justice Fellows Program. Sarah previously worked at Center for Elder Law & Justice, a civil legal services agency that provides free legal assistance to older adults. She served as an attorney in the consumer protection and foreclosure prevention units and also worked in development and funding of new programs and models of service. Sarah is admitted to the New York bar, and is a 2009 graduate of the University of Notre Dame Law School. She received her BA in Political Science and Philosophy from the University of Notre Dame in 2006.

This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like

By | IN THE NEWS | No Comments

The Atlantic: This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like (2/22/2018). Many seniors are stuck with lives of never-ending work—a fate that could befall millions in the coming decades. The problem is growing as more Baby Boomers reach retirement age—between 8,000 to 10,000 Americans turn 65 every day, according to Kevin Prindiville, the executive director of Justice in Aging, a nonprofit that addresses senior poverty. “In the early decades of our work, we were serving communities that had been poor when they were younger,” Prindiville told me. “Increasingly, we’re seeing folks who are becoming poor for the first time in old age.”

What can be done to help today’s seniors and generations to come? There are two approaches, Prindiville says: help people save for old age and make retirement more affordable.

Weak federal oversight endangers health and safety of assisted living residents

By | IN THE NEWS | No Comments

The Hill: Weak federal oversight endangers health and safety of assisted living residents (2/8/2018). This week’s GAO report shines a long-overdue light on Medicaid-funded assisted living. Federal funding of assisted living is large and growing, but to this point the federal government has not adequately ensured the quality of assisted living care. This lack of oversight has had tragic consequences for an unfortunately large number of older Americans. The GAO report was requested by a bipartisan group of senators, and its publication should prompt Congress and CMS to take action.