All Posts By

Katrina Cohens

Fact Sheet: Make the Expanded Spousal Impoverishment Protection Permanent

By | FACT SHEET, Health Care, Home & Community Based Services, Medicaid, REPORTS

Married seniors and adults with disabilities overwhelming want to live at home and age in place. Increasingly, federal and state Medicaid rules have prioritized home and community-based services (HCBS) which allow people to stay in their homes and in their communities. Congress recently helped these efforts by expanding a Medicaid eligibility rule, known as the spousal impoverishment protection, to individuals eligible for HCBS. The protection makes it possible for an individual who needs a nursing home level of care to qualify for Medicaid while allowing their spouse to retain a modest amount of income and resources. However, the expansion of the spousal impoverishment protection is set to expire on March 31, 2019 unless Congress acts. This means that individuals who qualified under the expanded protection may lose access to Medicaid and to their HCBS and may be left with no choice but to move into institutional long-term care, away from their spouses.

Letting the spousal impoverishment protection expire will hurt families and force more people out of their homes and their communities. We urge Congress to make the expanded spousal impoverishment protection permanent so seniors and people with disabilities can age in place and with dignity.

Justice in Aging has created a fact sheet on the importance of the expanded HCBS spousal impoverishment protection and calling on Congress to make it permanent so seniors and people with disabilities can age in place and with dignity.

Guide: 25 Common Nursing Home Problems and How to Resolve Them

By | Advocate's Guide, Nursing Homes, Person-Centered Care Planning, REPORTS

Learn to spot and resolve the most common problems

The 25 problems identified in this guide are common across the country and in all types of nursing homes. Even supposedly “good” nursing homes often follow standard procedures that violate federal law and put residents at risk.

This reader-friendly guide gives residents, family members, friends, and other advocates the tools they need to identify and solve the problems residents most frequently face. Whether you’re fighting an eviction, seeking a personalized care plan, or being pressured to sign an arbitration agreement, this guide will give your advocacy teeth to ensure that you, or a resident you’re advocating for, receive the high quality, person-centered care that the law requires.

Get the Guide

Issue Brief: Creating an Oral Health Benefit in Medicare

By | ISSUE BRIEF, Medicare, Oral Health, REPORTS

Fewer than half of older adults have access to oral health care each year. One in five older adults has untreated tooth decay and 70 percent have gum disease. Poor oral health and lack of access to health care are even more acute for low-income seniors, seniors of color, and rural seniors. Because oral health is an integral part of overall health and untreated dental problems can cause and/or exacerbate other serious health issues, it is critical to expand older adults’ access to oral health care.

Because all older adults rely on Medicare for their health care needs, integrating oral health benefits into Medicare Part B is the most effective way to deliver comprehensive benefits to all Medicare beneficiaries. Justice in Aging’s statutory analysis shows how such a benefit could be structured and where statutory language could be changed to accommodate such a benefit.

Read the Brief

Fact Sheet: Medicare Plan Enrollment Changes for Dual Eligibles and Low-Income Subsidy Recipients in California

By | CA Health Network Alert, FACT SHEET, Health Care, Medicaid, Medicare

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued new rules that limit enrollment and disenrollment from Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription drug plans for low-income Medicare beneficiaries. Previously, dual eligibles – individuals with Medicare and Medi-Cal coverage – and beneficiaries who receive the low-income subsidy (LIS) to make Part D prescription drug coverage more affordable could make enrollment changes any time throughout the year. The new rule, which became effective January 1, 2019, limits enrollment changes to once per quarter.

Justice in Aging has created a factsheet that explains these changes in detail and how they impact low-income Medicare beneficiaries in California.

Florida Faces ADA Lawsuit Over Medicaid Wait List

By | Health Care, IN THE NEWS, In-Home Supportive Services, LITIGATION, Long Term Care, Medicaid, Person-Centered Care Planning, SENIOR POVERTY

WJCT News/WUSF Health: Florida Faces ADA Lawsuit Over Medicaid Wait List (January 2, 2019)

Justice in Aging has filed a class action lawsuit against Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration. Currently, older adults and people with disabilities could wait up to 3.5 years to access in-home health care. Justice in Aging wants Florida to develop more in-home care services for people and increase the capacity of the services it has. Litigation Director Regan Bailey said “it’s a need that’s growing. And the way to meet that need is to provide more community-based services because you can serve many more people for the same money in the community versus in a nursing facility.”

Report: Older Women & Poverty

By | Economic Security, Health Care, Health Care Defense, Health Disparities, Health Equity, Long Term Care, Medicaid, Medicare, Nursing Homes, Oral Health, Safety Net Defense, SENIOR POVERTY, Social Security, Special Report, Supplemental Security Income

Because of structural inequities that impact women more than men, a significant percentage of older women are struggling to stay out of poverty.

There are 7.1 million older adults living in poverty in the United States, with nearly two out of three of them being women. Women like Venorica, who is working three jobs at the age of 70, and Vicky, who once ran a successful business with her husband, are struggling to stay afloat.

A new Justice in Aging report surveys the reasons more women are aging into poverty than men, discusses the support systems that are in place to help older women, and recommends ways we can strengthen and expand those support systems. The brief is accompanied by videos of women telling their own stories. Older women have cared for us and worked hard all of their lives. It’s imperative that we enact policies so they don’t have to struggle to make ends meet.

READ THE REPORT
WATCH THE VIDEOS HERE

Free Webinar: The Impact of Medicaid Work Requirements on Family Caregivers and Older Adults

By | Health Care, Health Care Defense, Medicaid, WEBINAR, Webinar Trainings

When: Thursday, December 13, 2018 from 10am – 11 am PT/ 1 pm -2pm ET.

Medicaid is an important source of health insurance coverage for many of the 40 million family caregivers in the United States who do not have access to other affordable coverage options. However, many states are in the process of designing or implementing policies that require family caregivers and others who are eligible for Medicaid to work a certain number of hours per month or qualify for an exemption to maintain their health coverage. Despite “caregiver” exemptions, these burdensome work requirements will cause many family caregivers who are in fact eligible for Medicaid to lose their coverage.

This webinar highlights key findings from a new Justice in Aging issue brief. We discuss our state-by-state survey of how Medicaid work requirements apply to family caregivers and analysis of the particular harms they will cause to family caregivers and the older adults they care for.

Closed captioning is available on this webinar. 

Learn more and read the brief

Who Should Participate:
Aging, family caregiver, and legal advocates and others wanting to learn more about how Medicaid work requirements impact family caregivers and older adults.

Presenters:
Natalie Kean, Staff Attorney, Justice in Aging
Lynn Friss Feinberg, Senior Strategic Policy Advisor, AARP Public Policy Institute

Moderator: 
Jennifer Goldberg, Directing Attorney, Justice in Aging

This webinar took place on Thursday, December 13, 2018 from 10am – 11 am PT/ 1 pm-2pm ET.

WATCH THE WEBINAR
DOWNLOAD THE POWERPOINT

Issue Brief: Medicaid Work Requirements and Family Caregivers

By | Health Care, Health Care Defense, ISSUE BRIEF, Medicaid, REPORTS, Safety Net Defense, SENIOR POVERTY

Medicaid Work Requirements can cause family caregivers to lose their health coverage, putting their health and the health of the older adults they care for in jeopardy.

With Thanksgiving on the horizon, our thoughts are on families and the 40 million family caregivers who provide care to an adult family member. Medicaid is an important source of health insurance coverage for those family caregivers who do not have access to other affordable coverage options. However, many states are in the process of designing or implementing policies that require family caregivers and others who are eligible for Medicaid to work a certain number of hours per month or qualify for an exemption to maintain their health coverage.

Implications for family caregivers

Low-income family caregivers may be unable to work sufficient hours at a paid job because of their caregiving responsibilities and may not qualify for the state’s exemptions. As a result, many will lose access to health care they need to maintain their own health, harming both their own well-being and the well-being of the older adults they care for.

A new Justice in Aging issue brief provides a state-by-state survey of how Medicaid work requirements apply to family caregivers and explains the harms they will cause to family caregivers and the older adults they care for.

READ THE BRIEF

Free Webinar: Changes to the “Public Charge” Rule and the Impact on Older Adults

By | Economic Security, Health Care, Safety Net Defense, SENIOR POVERTY, WEBINAR

When: Wednesday, November 14, 2018 from 10 am-11 am PT/1-2 pm ET.

The Trump Administration has proposed a rule that would hurt millions of older adults in immigrant families. Proposed changes to the “public charge” rule put immigration status at risk if an immigrant accesses or is likely to access programs that support health, nutrition, and economic stability. Confusion about the changes may lead to older adults forgoing services out of fear of potential immigration consequences.

This webinar, Changes to the “Public Charge” Rule and the Impact on Older Adults, provides an overview of the existing public charge rule and key proposed changes, including the addition of certain government benefits older adults rely on, and details on how immigration officials make the public charge determination. We also discuss the possible impacts on the lives of older adult immigrants and their families. The webinar includes tips on how advocates should be counseling their older adult clients and concludes with a summary of the regulatory timeline and what advocates can do to fight back against this harmful proposal. Justice in Aging will be releasing additional materials on the public charge proposal and its impact on older adults soon.

Who Should Participate:
Aging and legal advocates, community-based providers, health plan leaders, and others wanting to learn more about changes to public charge and the impact on older adults.

Presenters:
Elizabeth Lower-Basch, Director of Income and Work Supports, Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)
Natalie Kean, Staff Attorney, Justice in Aging

Moderator:
Denny Chan, Staff Attorney, Justice in Aging

This webinar took place on Wednesday, November 14, 2018 from 10 am- 11am PT/1-2 pm ET.

WATCH THE WEBINAR
DOWNLOAD THE POWERPOINT

Staff Attorney or Senior Staff Attorney- Oakland or Los Angeles Office

By | Jobs & Fellowships

Justice in Aging seeks an attorney with a strong commitment to elder justice and legal services for older adults to join our organization. The successful candidate will strengthen Justice in Aging’s elder justice initiatives to protect the health and economic security of older Americans, with particular focus on older adults of color, women, those with limited English proficiency, and LGBTQ older adults. The attorney will also play a key role in supporting legal services attorneys and the aging and disability network through the National Center on Law and Elder Rights (NCLER), which Justice in Aging administers under a contract with the Administration for Community Living. The location for this position is Oakland or Los Angeles, CA.

Justice in Aging uses the power of law and our expertise in safety net programs like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and SSI to fight senior poverty. Founded as a legal services back-up center in 1972, we have a rich tradition of successful, high-impact, strategic advocacy on behalf of the more than 7 million seniors living in poverty in America. The National Center on Law and Elder Rights (NCLER) is a national resource center for the legal services and aging and disability networks, focused on the legal rights of older adults with the greatest social and economic needs. Providing webinars, trainings, written materials, and case consultations, NCLER is a one-stop resource for professionals serving older adults.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled. Candidate review will begin on November 15, 2018. Questions about the position can be directed to Katrina Cohens, kcohens@justiceinaging.org.

Responsibilities

  • Work with our health, economic security, and NCLER teams to enhance our work on elder justice, including prevention of and remedies for elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation.
  • Develop written materials for both educational and advocacy purposes, including alerts, issue briefs, and training materials.
  • Develop training for the legal services, aging and disability networks and respond to technical assistance requests.
  • Establish and maintain relationships with members of the legal services, aging and disability networks, including legal services providers, social services providers, state units on aging, area agencies on aging, and others involved in protecting the legal rights of older adults and promoting elder justice.
  • Lead or participate in a range of advocacy efforts to promote elder justice.
  • Work with other Justice in Aging team members to advance organizational objectives.
  • As needed, supervise other attorneys, pro bono attorneys, fellows and law clerks.
  • Limited travel will be required.

Requirements

  • A J.D.
  • Experience providing direct legal services to low-income older adults.
  • Capacity to handle multiple projects simultaneously.
  • Effective speaking, presentation, and written communication skills.

Desired

  • Experience advocating on or representing clients with elder justice issues, including elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation.
  • Familiarity with health and economic security programs for older adults, such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and SSI.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills with demonstrated ability to work as part of a team, build internal and external relationships, and work with partners.
  • Experience with or interest in partnering with organizations serving diverse populations, such as communities of color.
  • Collegial, collaborative approach.
  • Diversity of personal and professional experience.
  • Passion for social justice for low-income older adults.

Compensation:

Salary for this position will range from $64,000 to $94,000, based on a fixed salary scale. Justice in Aging also offers a competitive benefits package, including health, dental and life insurance; flexible reimbursement plan; 403(b) retirement savings plan; paid parental leave, and generous vacation policy.

To Apply:

Please submit the following to Katrina Cohens, kcohens@justiceinaging.org:

  • cover letter that describes your interest in this particular position and how your skill set would be a good fit,
  • résumé,
  • one writing sample,
  • and three professional references.

In your cover letter, please address the following in order for your application to be considered:

  • At Justice in Aging we advocate for older adults, particularly those in populations that have traditionally lacked legal protection, such as women, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, and people with limited English proficiency. To promote social justice and best achieve our mission, Justice in Aging is committed to maintaining a diverse staff and creating an inclusive and respectful workplace in which differences are acknowledged and valued. How do you think your personal and/or professional experience or background has prepared you to contribute to a work environment with a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion? Feel free to think broadly about your response to this question, applying various aspects of your life and personal experiences to your response.

Justice in Aging is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We are committed to maintaining a diverse staff and we particularly encourage applications from members of racial and ethnic minority groups, women, the LGBTQ community, and others whose background may contribute to more effective representation of low-income people and underserved communities.