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Katrina Cohens

Justice in Aging Statement on Proposed 2019 Budget

By | PRESS RELEASE | No Comments

President Trump’s proposed FY 2019 Budget is yet another attack on the health and economic security of older adults and people with disabilities. After using the latest tax bill to give away trillions of dollars in tax cuts to America’s wealthiest, the Administration is attempting to pay for those tax cuts by slashing critical programs that keep older adults in their homes, allow them to visit their doctors, and ensure they can meet their basic needs.

This budget would take us backwards by increasing poverty and making it harder for people to get the health care they need. It goes against what Congress wants and what the public wants. In its 2018 budget, Congress recently increased spending for important and popular programs. Those gains would disappear in 2019 under this budget.

The American people do not want cuts to Medicaid or the repeal of the ACA, yet this budget renews calls for slashing Medicaid by more than $1.4 trillion over the next decade through block grants and per capita caps, as well as repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As we have explained, such cuts would be devastating to low-income older adults who rely on Medicaid to support their health care needs and ability to stay in their homes, leave millions without coverage, and weaken consumer protections.

The President promised the American people he wouldn’t touch Medicare, yet his proposed budget for the next ten years calls for over $490 billion in cuts to a program that every American will need.

The budget also would make it harder for older adults to pay rent, put food on the table, and meet their basic needs. The budget proposes significant cuts of over $83 billion to Social Security, primarily through cuts to Social Disability Insurance (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. These programs are there for people who have no or little income and are the difference between home and a life on the streets for many.

Additionally, the budget proposes dramatic cuts to nutrition assistance, eliminates funding for home heating and cooling assistance for about 6 million low-income households, and calls for the complete elimination of the Legal Services Corporation, which provides vital legal help for low-income older adults and their families.

This budget is a true window into the misplaced priorities of this President and his Administration. On the heels of a massive tax cut that will increase income inequality, this budget proposes to make life even more difficult for America’s poor older adults and people with disabilities.

By joining together we have fought back successfully against previous attempts to cut the programs older adults and their families rely on, and we will continue to fight for justice for us all as we age.

Communications Associate – Oakland, CA

By | Jobs & Fellowships | No Comments

Are you passionate about social justice? Would you like to contribute to a national effort fighting poverty among older Americans—particularly women, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, and people with limited English proficiency? Justice in Aging is looking for a talented Communications Associate to join our team in our Oakland, CA office.

Your contributions will help ensure that the growing number of Americans aging into poverty are able to pay their rent, buy nutritious food, see their doctors, receive the help they need at home to live safely, and get the legal help they need.

Justice in Aging is a national nonprofit legal advocacy organization that fights senior poverty through law. Since 1972 we’ve worked to secure access to affordable health care and economic security for older adults with limited resources, focusing especially on populations that have traditionally lacked legal protection such as women, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, and people with limited English proficiency. We provide trainings to thousands of direct service advocates a year, file impact litigation, and advocate at the local, state, and national level for policies to improve the lives of the more than 7.1 million older adults living in poverty.

This is a new position on the Communications Team to increase our impact and grow our profile. The successful candidate will be an integral part of implementing our communications strategy over multiple platforms, and will report to the Communications Director. This is a great opportunity for someone who enjoys an environment where there is structure and a clear direction, but room for creativity regarding how to get there. We are a collaborative team where your ideas will be heard and growth encouraged.

Job Responsibilities:

  • Work with the Communications Director to implement robust social media and earned media strategies.
  • Assist with digital communications efforts to maximize press coverage, drive media outreach, and build relationships with partners and grassroots advocates online.
  • Assist in conducting proactive, strategic media outreach that will elevate the stories of low-income older Americans and prime the environment for social change.
  • Work with the Digital Media Manager to design attorney-created publications, and create compelling visuals for use on social media and other channels.
  • Ensure digital communications strategies are data-driven by tracking and reporting out on performance metrics.
  • Maintain an up-to-date reporter database and assist the Communications Director in building relationships with individual reporters.

Desired Skills & Qualifications:

  • Strong written communication skills
  • Visual design skills
  • Experience using dominant social media channels strategically for advocacy
  • Attention to detail and commitment to the highest quality work product
  • Storytelling ability
  • Ability and desire to work collaboratively as well as independently
  • Bachelor’s degree

The position is full time, exempt with a competitive salary and benefits package including health, dental, and life insurance; flexible reimbursement plan; 403(b) retirement savings plan; personal days; and generous vacation policy. Salary range is $45,000-$55,000 depending on skills and experience. We maintain a respectful, collegial work environment in which we strive to hear and elevate all voices within the organization.

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.

To apply: Send cover letter, resume, a PDF of a short document you have designed, preferably using InDesign or comparable program, two examples of social media work product, and three professional references to Katrina Cohens at kcohens@justiceinaging.org by March 1, 2018. In your cover letter, please address the following in order for your application to be considered:

 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 or professional experience or background has prepared you to contribute to a work environment with a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion?

Target start date is late March 2018.

WEBINAR: Supplemental Security Income Basics

By | Income Network Alert, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, WEBINAR | No Comments

When: Thursday, February 22 at 11:00 a.m. PT / 2:00 p.m. ET.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a critical safety net program administered by the Social Security Administration that provides a very basic income to older adults and people with disabilities with no or very limited other income and resources. This webinar is designed for legal services and other advocates who are just getting started in the field and others who want to learn more about the essentials of the program.

This webinar describes the SSI program, discusses the basic rules of eligibility and how benefits are calculated, and offers useful resources for obtaining additional information.

For more information on SSI, read Justice in Aging’s Fact Sheet on the program.

Presenters:
Tracey Gronniger, Directing Attorney, Justice in Aging
Jenny Chung Mejia, Senior Staff Attorney, Justice in Aging

The webinar will place on Thursday, February 22 at 11:00 a.m. PT / 2:00 p.m. ET.

REGISTER NOW

WEBINAR: Oral Health Coverage for Low-Income Older Adults

By | Health Care, WEBINAR | No Comments
When: Thursday, February 15, 2018 11:00 a.m. PT/ 2:00 p.m. ET.

As of January 1, 2018, dental benefits were fully restored to adult Medi-Cal recipients. Restoration means that older adults will again have access to gum treatment, root canals on back teeth, and partial dentures. This is a big win for older adults and their overall health. This webinar, Oral Health Coverage for Low-Income Older Adults, provides an overview of the restoration of benefits and Denti-Cal coverage more broadly. The webinar also covers other dental coverage options available to older adults, how different coverage options work together, and barriers older adults face in accessing dental care.

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When Skilled Nursing Facilities Act as Representative Payees

By | ISSUE BRIEF, Nursing Homes, Social Security | No Comments

A representative payee is a third party who is authorized to receive and manage Social Security payments for a beneficiary who isn’t able to do so for themselves. Often, a creditor, such as a nursing facility or other residential facility can be appointed by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to act as a representative payee. When creditors perform this function, conflicts can arise and there must be adequate consumer protections in place to protect the best interests of the beneficiary and the Social Security system.

A new Justice in Aging issue brief, Skilled Nursing Facilities and Other Creditors Acting as Representative Payees, dives into some of the conflicts that can arise and proposes ways to strengthen the oversight and protections within the representative payee system.

Read the Brief

Advocates Guide To California’s Coordinated Care Initiative Version 6

By | Advocate's Guide, CA Health Network Alert, DUAL DEMONSTRATIONS, DUAL ELIGIBLES | No Comments

The Coordinated Care Initiative (CCI)—including California’s dual eligible demonstration project Cal MediConnect—is well underway in all seven CCI counties including Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Mateo, and Santa Clara. There have been significant changes to the CCI since the release of Version Five of Justice in Aging’s Advocates Guide to California’s Coordinated Care Initiative in October 2016.

Released today, Version Six of the Guide includes:

  • A description of new and updated CCI policies
  • Additional advocacy tips
  • Evaluation results and new resources

If you have saved or printed Version Five, please replace it with Version Six, because the former now contains outdated information.

If you missed the webinar, Coordinated Care Initiative: 2017 Update, the video is now available.

Fact Sheet: Improvements in QMB Notices Are Temporarily Suspended

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

On October 2, 2017, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) initiated changes in the Provider Remittance Advice and the Medicare Summary Notice (MSN) to show more clearly that Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries (QMBs) may not be charged for Medicare deductibles and co-insurance. Unfortunately, CMS will be temporarily suspending these system changes as of December 8 because of significant unforeseen issues affecting provider payments. CMS is working to address the problem and reinstate the new systems sometime in 2018.

The temporary suspension of the system improvements does not affect the rights of QMBs. QMBs do not owe deductibles and co-insurance for any Medicare Part A or Part B services.

The suspension also does not affect another change, instituted in November, that enables providers to confirm QMB eligibility before serving individuals, using the same systems through which they check other insurance coverage.

To learn more about these developments, read our fact sheet.

For more information on QMB protections, see the CMS QMB Program webpage. For tools that advocates can use to assist QMB clients who have been improperly billed, go to Justice in Aging’s Improper Billing page.

WEBINAR: California Coordinated Care Initiative Update

By | CA Health Network Alert, WEBINAR | No Comments
When: Tuesday, December 19, 2017, at 11:00 AM PT

California’s Coordinated Care Initiative has been in effect for three years. This webinar, California Coordinated Care Initiative Update, provides an update on the status of the program, cover recent changes the Department of Health Care Services has implemented, and summarizes the evaluations of the program to date.

This webinar accompanies the release of the Advocates Guide to California’s Coordinated Care Initiative Version 6.

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Fact Sheet: Republican Tax Bills Will Hurt Older Adults

By | FACT SHEET, Health Care, Income Network Alert, SENIOR POVERTY | No Comments

Republican leadership in both the Senate and House are pushing forward on tax proposals that would give a huge tax break to the wealthiest Americans and corporations and allow Congress to pay for it by cutting funding for critical programs needed by everyone else.

The Senate is expected to vote this week on its version of the plan.

Both Senate and House bills would explode the deficit and make it harder for older adults to afford health care—all while benefitting the wealthiest 1% and big corporations. We created a new fact sheet, Republican Tax Bills Will Hurt Older Adults, for advocates to use this week in their advocacy. The fact sheet outlines how exploding the deficit will force cuts to programs and health coverage for older adults, and how the wealthy 1% and corporations will benefit at the expense of older adults. Please use this fact sheet in your conversations with partners and policy makers and share widely.

Now is also the time to call your Senators and tell them to vote NO on this tax plan. Dial 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected.

Today, Justice in Aging and Center for American Progress are holding a joint briefing on what the tax bills mean for seniors. There’s also a National Call-in Day on Wednesday focused on people with disabilities and their families.

Fact Sheet: Congress Tax Proposals Endanger Health Care for Older Adults

By | FACT SHEET, Health Care, Long Term Care, Medicaid, Medicare, SENIOR POVERTY | No Comments

Congress is moving very quickly, aiming to have a bill signed into law by the end of the year. Advocates’ voices are needed to stop this reckless process that jeopardizes health care for millions. Our new fact sheet outlines the threats to health care for older adults and their families in both the House and Senate bills.