All Posts By

Katrina Cohens

Why Many Nursing Facilities are Not Ready for Emergency Situations

By | Health Care, ISSUE BRIEF, Nursing Homes, REPORTS | No Comments

As Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Marie have shown us, nursing facility residents can be particularly at risk during natural disasters. The hurricanes resulted in death and injury in nursing facilities across the region, including 12 deaths in one Florida facility.

Justice in Aging created an issue brief, Why Many Nursing Facilities are Not Ready for Emergency Situations, which discusses existing federal and state law, and makes seven recommendations to address gaps in current law.

As the brief outlines, these deaths and injuries could have been prevented through advance planning and emergency preparedness.

Read the Brief

Thousands of backlogged cases in Bay Area home care programs

By | Health Care, IN THE NEWS, In-Home Supportive Services | No Comments

Fox KTVU: Thousands of backlogged cases in Bay Area home care programs (10/11/2017) The Bay Area has thousands of backlogged In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) cases preventing seniors in need of additional in home support. IHSS allows qualified elderly and disabled individuals to hire services in order to remain safely at home. For those in need of additional hours, a social worker must physically visit and assess the claimant’s situation. According to Justice in Aging’s Claire Ramsey, “Every day and month that goes by, that person is living unsafely in their home. People do hurt themselves or fall because they’re not getting help they need…it’s a dangerous situation.”

Racial Justice Fellowship for Summer 2018

By | Jobs & Fellowships | No Comments

Justice in Aging is pleased to announce its first Racial Justice Fellowship for Summer 2018. The fellow may work in any of our three offices in Oakland, Los Angeles, or Washington D.C. This is a paid fellowship.

The Position: Justice in Aging seeks a rising 3L (current 2L) with a passion for public interest law and a commitment to communities of color for a 10-week summer fellowship focused on the intersection of poverty, aging, and racial justice. The fellow will work with staff to identify a project that integrates Justice in Aging’s core programs, health care and economic security, with the fellow’s personal and professional interests.

During the fellowship, the fellow will have the opportunity to author a published writing sample. The fellow will participate in all intern trainings and events, attend external stakeholder meetings and events, and have the opportunity to learn more about the legal non-profit world. The fellow will also prepare and present an internal training to the staff on a topic they have researched during the summer.

The fellow will be an integrated member of the Justice in Aging team and will participate in our substantive team meetings and in our Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Justice in Aging will pair the fellow with at least one attorney as a mentor for the summer. Justice in Aging is also interested in working with the summer fellow to craft a post-graduate fellowship application for Skadden, Equal Justice Works, or the equivalent.

Compensation: The fellow will be provided a $5,000 stipend.

Qualifications: We seek current law school students with a genuine commitment to working on behalf of communities of color, interest in aging issues, high-caliber legal research and writing skills, and the ability to take initiative and work independently. An interest in a public interest career is desirable. Individuals with ties to low-income, racial/ethnic minority communities, and other underserved populations are encouraged to apply.

The Organization: Justice in Aging is a 45-year old non-profit organization with a rich tradition of successful, high-impact strategic advocacy on behalf of more than 6 million seniors living in poverty in America. Justice in Aging works primarily in two areas: health care (including long-term services and supports) and economic security. We use a variety of legal tools to improve access to benefits for seniors, including producing educational materials, participating in administrative and legislative advocacy, litigating on behalf of older adults, and supporting direct legal services providers with complex legal issues.

Justice in Aging is the only aging organization to focus explicitly on issues of senior poverty and, as a part of that work, we recognize that senior poverty is often a result of historic and systemic discrimination based on race and other identities. We work to foster equity for older adults in our core program areas as well as working internally to create an inclusive environment where all staff members are supported and valued.

Application: Applications are accepted until October 9, 2017. First-round phone interviews will be conducted the week of October 9. To apply for the summer Racial Justice Fellowship, please send a cover letter, resume, writing sample, and a list of three references to Katrina Cohens at In your cover letter, please explain how your personal background or experiences, professional or otherwise, have shaped your interest in racial justice and aging issues. Please also include any scheduling conflicts during the week of October 9 that may affect your availability for a first-round phone interview.

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.

Free Webinar: Hart v. Berryhill Implementation (also known as Hart v. Colvin)

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


When: September 7, 2017

Because of the poor quality of his exams, many people who were examined by Dr. Frank Chen for their Social Security disability or SSI disability claim may now be able to have their disability claim reviewed if they request it. Notices were scheduled to go out on September 25, 2017 to over 4,000 people with closed claims, who may be eligible for some type of relief and will now need to decide whether to elect relief under the settlement. This training gives practical details of who is eligible for relief, what type of relief they are eligible for, and how to obtain relief. The settlement is very complex, and representatives will benefit from learning about the variations in the types of relief, depending on the status of a claim.
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Health Savings Accounts Won’t Help Most Older Adults

By | Affordable Care Act, Health Care, ISSUE BRIEF, REPORTS | No Comments

Proposals to expand the use of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) have been raised repeatedly in the health care debate. This new issue brief looks at how expanding HSAs would impact the affordability of health care coverage for low and moderate income older adults by examining how HSAs would have functioned under one proposal, the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), had it become law.

The paper finds that the combination of HSA contributions and premium costs can easily reach 20% to 30% of an older adult’s income. It concludes that HSAs are not a path to affordable health care for older adults. Read the brief.

Beneficiary Groups Concerned CMS’ Nursing Home Guidance Could Lower Penalties

By | IN THE NEWS, Nursing Homes | No Comments

Inside Health Policy: Beneficiary Groups Concerned CMS’ Nursing Home Guidance Could Lower Penalties [Article unavailable online] (8/23/17) New nursing home guidance issued by CMS in July includes two major penalty exceptions that concern beneficiary advocates. The exceptions sanction per-instance, instead of per-day, penalties for facilities with good compliance histories and situations where a single isolated incident causes harm to a resident. According to Justice in Aging’s Eric Carlson, per-day penalties provide erring nursing home with incentive to correct compliance issues and reduce noncompliance issues. He expects that nursing homes, under the new guidance, will face more per-instance penalties, instead of large, accumulating per-day penalties. “I’ve certainly seen situations in the past where a facility is willing to pay the penalty as a fee for doing business,” Carlson said.

Fact Sheets: IHSS Services and Eligibility & Application Process

By | FACT SHEET, In-Home Supportive Services, REPORTS | No Comments
The IHSS program serves more than 500,000 Californians and ensures they receive the care and support they need to live in the community. The program is structured to provide a high level of flexibility and autonomy to the recipients. This consumer-driven approach has a lot of positives, but has introduced complexity into the program.

Two new fact sheets explain two facets of the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program—Eligibility and the Application Process, and IHSS Services: Basics. These fact sheets provide a simplified starting place to understand how the eligibility and application process work, what services are available, and how the county determines eligibility for specific services.
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How States Can Prevent Evictions When Implementing Federal HCBS Regulations

By | Health Care, Home & Community Based Services, ISSUE BRIEF, REPORTS | No Comments
This new issue brief discusses how states should implement the new federal Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) regulations in order to prevent improper evictions.

In 2014, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released regulations that set standards for the settings in which HCBS are provided. To implement these regulations, each state must have a transition plan approved by CMS by March 2019, with full compliance required by March 2022.
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Justice in Aging Joins Other Civil Rights Groups in Amicus Brief Filing As SCOTUS Scrutinizes Workers’ Rights

By | PRESS RELEASE | No Comments

Monday, August 21 – To protect the rights of workers, Justice in Aging teamed up last week with leading civil rights law firms, The Impact Fund, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (“LDF”) and Cohen Milstein, to file an amicus brief on behalf of more than thirty civil rights organizations from across the country in a trio of cases pending in the U.S. Supreme Court.

The cases address the question of whether employment agreements that prevent workers from taking “concerted” action to challenge workplace violations conflict with protections in federal labor law. Such agreements undermine the fight for civil rights.
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