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Katrina Cohens

American Society on Aging Honors Paul Nathanson with its Hall of Fame Award

By | PRESS RELEASE | No Comments

San Francisco, CA (March 26, 2018) – Justice in Aging is proud to announce that the American Society on Aging is honoring Paul Nathanson with its 2018 Hall of Fame Award. The Hall of Fame Award is presented to an individual who has, through a lifetime of advocacy and leadership, enhanced the lives of elders through demonstrated leadership on the national level. The award will be presented today at 4PM in the Continental Ballroom during the opening plenary of the American Society on Aging’s annual conference in San Francisco.

“I am honored to receive this award. We at Justice in Aging have been using the law to try to address the most critical needs of the most vulnerable older Americans for over 45 years,” said Paul. “There have been many successes. Unfortunately the challenges continue and have been intensified with this administration.”

Paul is a two-time former Executive Director of Justice in Aging. He served from 1972-1980 as the organization’s first Executive Director and then returned to serve from 2008-2013 when Justice in Aging’s current Executive Director, Kevin Prindiville, assumed the role.

“Paul has been a wonderful mentor and colleague over the years. His lifetime of commitment to fighting senior poverty is unmatched. His work has been instrumental in several precedent-setting legal cases that have returned billions of dollars in benefits to low-income older adults who would otherwise have had no access to justice”, said Kevin Prindiville, Executive Director, Justice in Aging. “We value Paul’s continued contributions today through his role as special counsel.”

In his role as special counsel Paul contributes to Justice in Aging’s efforts to restore and improve the Supplemental Security Income Program (SSI). He has served as the director of the University of New Mexico (UNM) Institute of Public Law where he is now an emeritus professor. Paul is a past president of the American Society on Aging, and a founding member of the ABA Commission on Law and Aging. He also served as the National Secretary of the Gray Panthers and is a past Chair of the Board of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM); and currently serves on the board. Paul is a graduate of Duke University (JD) and University of Chicago (MCompLaw).

Justice in Aging is a national non-profit legal advocacy organization that fights senior poverty through law. Formerly the National Senior Citizens Law Center, since 1972 we’ve worked for 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, LGBT individuals, and people with limited English proficiency. Through targeted advocacy, litigation, and the trainings and resources we provide to local advocates, we ensure access to the social safety net programs that poor seniors depend on, including Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). 

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Contact: Vanessa Barrington
510-256-1200 direct
vbarrington@justiceinaging.org

WEBINAR: In-Kind Support and Maintenance in the SSI Program

By | Supplemental Security Income, WEBINAR | No Comments
Why do some individuals receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits only receive $500 each 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 resources 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. Giving advocates the tools to successfully navigate ISM on behalf of their clients can make a big difference. SSI recipients could have an additional $250 per month for necessities like health care expenses, household expenses, transportation, and other basic needs, if they have the assistance of a representative who understands ISM and can help advocate on their behalf at SSA.

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Advance Beneficiary Notices, Administrative Fees, and Dual Eligibles

By | ISSUE BRIEF, Medicare | No Comments

Federal law prohibits charging Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries (QMBs) with Medicare cost-sharing for covered services. Depending on state law, other beneficiaries who are fully eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid–full benefit dual eligibles–may also be protected from being billed for co-payments or other forms of cost sharing.

However, QMBs and other dual eligibles may still be responsible for certain charges or fees. A new Justice in Aging Issue Brief: Advance Beneficiary Notices, Administrative Fees, and Dual Eligibles explains for advocates the situations under which these types of beneficiaries may be responsible for charges.

Read the brief to learn what protections QMBs have and what charges they may have to pay.

Additional Justice in Aging resources on improper billing can be found here.

Fact Sheet: Health Care Provisions in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018

By | DUAL ELIGIBLES, FACT SHEET, Medicare | No Comments

On February 9, Congress passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (BBA of 2018). In addition to its budget provisions, the BBA extends and makes changes to several Medicare programs and provides funding for other health programs that support low-income older adults, people with disabilities, and their families.

Justice in Aging has prepared a summary of some of the major health provisions in the BBA of 2018, including funding for Community Health Centers and outreach to low-income Medicare beneficiaries, the Medicare therapy cap repeal, Part D “donut hole” closure, and authorization of Special Needs Plans and other Medicare Advantage changes. As these changes are implemented, Justice in Aging will continue to provide updates and analysis and identify advocacy opportunities.

Read the Fact Sheet

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.

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.

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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

What the new tax bill may mean for older adults

By | IN THE NEWS | No Comments

Healthjournalism.org: What the new tax bill may mean for older adults (12/22/2017) The newly passed Republican tax bill negatively impacts low income older adults. The new law jeopardizes Medicare, Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. The repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate may lead to higher healthcare premiums for seniors as younger people drop their healthcare coverage. It also adds $1.5 trillion to the national debt, which Justice in Aging’s Jennifer Goldberg says, is “the biggest danger. An increase in the national debt will be the trigger for Congress to start cutting entitlement programs like Medicare. It’s important to understand the threats older adults face, not only now, but for at least the next decade.”

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.