As the only national organization focused solely on protecting the rights of low-income seniors, we partner with advocates on the ground who help us monitor issues that impact poor seniors. When a group needs a champion in the courts we’re there, on our own or in partnership with other organizations, litigating precedent-setting cases that benefit hundreds of thousands of seniors. We often work with other organizations to file amici in important cases that have the potential to impact low income seniors. Learn more about active cases below, read more about our past litigation, and read amici.
Kelley v. Kent
(Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles-Central District)
Mr. Kelley is a 67-year-old veteran with primary progressive multiple sclerosis. He depends on assistance for all of his meals, bathing, grooming, and other essential activities. His 75 year-old wife is unable to fully care for him by herself, and the couple exhausted their savings paying for caregivers. Even though Mr. Kelley and his wife want him to remain at home, he may have to go into a nursing home – all because California refuses to implement a federal law requiring Medi-Cal to cover the care he receives at home.
Another plaintiff, Mr. Reed, has vascular dementia and multiple sclerosis and needs full time care, but his wife has to work to pay the rent and put food on the table. He should also qualify for home-based care through Medi-Cal, but the state has denied him.
Hart v. Berryhill (formerly Hart v. Colvin)
(U.S. District Court/Northern District of California)
Kevin Hart was a Jack-of-all trades for decades. He poured concrete, framed houses, loaded 50 pound sacks of almonds at a factory, and waxed the floors of The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. Then, he was hit by a car while biking home from work one night, and became permanently disabled. After he could no longer work, he moved in with his mother, relying on a small monthly Social Security benefit to make ends meet.
After a routine disability review in 2013, he received notice from the Social Security Administration (SSA) that he was no longer eligible for benefits. SSA had based this determination on the opinion of a discredited physician.
Held v. Colvin
(U.S. District Court/Central District of California)
Hugh Held has been married to his spouse Orion Masters since 2008 when same-sex marriage became legal in California. Unfortunately his legal marriage was not taken into account by Social Security when it calculated his SSI benefits. Even though he informed Social Security of his marriage three times, it took the agency over a year to realize they overpaid him. Potentially hundreds of other low-income individuals were affected.
Update: In April 2016 SSA instructed its local offices to presume that a waiver of overpayment had been requested by such individuals, providing a significant win. Read the press release
Clark v. Astrue
(United States District Court/Southern District of New York)
The late Elaine Clark was the lead plaintiff in Clark v. Astrue, brought by Justice in Aging Directing Attorney Gerald McIntyre with Proskauer, Rose LLP and the Urban Justice Center of New York City.
Elaine Clark was receiving Social Security Disability Insurance for several serious medical conditions, including end stage renal disease. In 1996 she was living in senior housing and receiving medical treatment when the Social Security Administration unlawfully stopped her benefits…
Barrows v. Burwell (formerly Bagnall v. Sebelius)
(United States District Court/Connecticut)
This case challenges an increasingly common Medicare practice of classifying hospital patients as under “observation status” without formerly admitting them. Patients are often unaware that they haven’t been admitted and are classified as outpatients, and are then surprised to receive large bills for hospital care and drugs that would have been covered under Medicare Part A, had they been formally admitted, and classified as inpatients.
This lawsuit was originally filed in November 2011 with lead counsel, the Center for Medicare Advocacy. The case is currently under appeal.
Price v. McCarthy
(U.S. District Court Southern District of Ohio Western Division)
Eighty-nine year old Betty Hilleger, who suffered from frailty and dementia, exhausted all of her limited savings as a resident of an assisted living center in Ohio. She was found to be eligible for the state’s Medicaid waiver program, but was denied months’ worth of coverage because of the state’s delay in making the decision, putting her at risk for eviction. This case challenges Ohio’s refusal to provide retroactive Medicaid coverage to Ms. Hilleger and others like her.