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

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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

Justice in Aging Welcomes Two New Attorneys

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Justice in Aging is pleased to announce that we’ve recently added two new attorneys to our team.

Late last year, Carol Wong joined us in our Washington, DC office as our new litigation attorney. She’ll be working on impact litigation, increasing our capacity to file more cases that protect the health care and economic security rights of low-income seniors. Carol comes to Justice in Aging most recently from the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Employment Litigation Section.

Just last month, Sarah Galvan joined our team as an attorney on our National Center on Law and Elder Rights project. In that role, she’ll focus on legal services development, skills-based training, and technical support. She’ll also increase our support to the Equal Justice Works Elder Justice AmeriCorps Fellows Program. Sarah comes to Justice in Aging from the Center for Elder Law & Justice, a civil legal services provider in Buffalo, New York that provides free legal assistance to older adults.

Adding Carol and Sarah to our team helps us expand two important pillars of our work: litigation and training and technical assistance for legal professionals. As the safety net upon which seniors rely comes under attack, our ability to fight for the rights of low-income older adults in the courts through class action litigation is more important than ever. As the population ages and income inequality increases, it is critical that we are able to meet the growing need for attorneys trained in the top legal issues that impact older adults.

Please join us in welcoming Carol and Sarah to the team!

Carol Wong, Litigation Attorney
Carol Wong is based in Justice in Aging’s Washington, D.C. office.  Most recently, Carol was a Senior Trial Attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Employment Litigation Section.  During her years with the Department of Justice, she litigated employment discrimination cases arising under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.  While at the Department, Carol completed a detail to the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders where she focused on improving opportunities and access to federal resources for underserved Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.  Before her time at the Department of Justice, Carol was a district court law clerk for the Western District of Tennessee in Memphis.  She has also served on the boards of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of the Greater Washington, D.C. Area and the Asian Pacific American Bar Association Educational Fund.  Carol received her J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of Illinois College of Law.  She also received her undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Sarah Galvan, Staff Attorney, National Center on Law and Elder Rights
Sarah joined Justice in Aging in 2018 and is a staff attorney working on the National Center on Law and Elder Rights (NCLER). Under a contract with the Administration on Community Living, NCLER provides training, case consultation and technical assistance to the legal and aging network. Sarah’s work for NCLER focuses primarily on legal services development, skills-based training, and technical support. She also provides training and support for the Equal Justice Works Elder Justice Fellows Program. Sarah previously worked at Center for Elder Law & Justice, a civil legal services agency that provides free legal assistance to older adults. She served as an attorney in the consumer protection and foreclosure prevention units and also worked in development and funding of new programs and models of service. Sarah is admitted to the New York bar, and is a 2009 graduate of the University of Notre Dame Law School. She received her BA in Political Science and Philosophy from the University of Notre Dame in 2006.

Joint Statement: President’s Budget Targets Key Health Care Programs; Millions of Older Adults and People with Disabilities at Risk if Implemented, Advocates Warn

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Washington, DC—The President’s annual budget request is, at its core, a statement of values. It is incredibly troubling then, that President Trump’s budget blueprint for FY 2019, submitted this week, again prioritizes deep cuts to programs on which older adults and people with disabilities rely, including Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act.

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Justice in Aging Statement on Proposed 2019 Budget

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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.

Federal Government Falls Short in Protecting Assisted Living Residents

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(February 5, 2018)  A new report released today by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reveals that lax federal oversight over Medicaid-funded assisted living services threatens the health and safety of the over 330,000 people relying on these services across the country.

The report shows that “critical incidents”, such as unexplained deaths, assault, abuse, neglect, financial exploitation, and other serious situations are not tracked and reported adequately or consistently. Additionally, there is no way for prospective residents and their families to evaluate the quality of various assisted living facilities because this information is not readily available.

Though 48 states provide Medicaid coverage for assisted living at a cost of more than $10 billion annually, more than half (26 states) could not report the number of critical incidents occurring in assisted living facilities.

“The GAO report only scratches the surface,” said Eric Carlson, a directing attorney at the non-profit Justice in Aging.  “Despite the significant federal Medicaid expenditures, the federal government generally defers to state assisted living licensing laws, and some of those state laws are grossly inadequate to protect the health and safety of the high-need residents that receive Medicaid funded assisted living care.”

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Over 50 Advocacy Organizations Opposed to Congressional Tax Plan

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Flawed Plan Will Put Health Care for Older Adults & People with Disabilities at Risk

Washington, DC — Over 50 organizations concerned about access to affordable, high-quality health care and long-term services and supports for older adults, people with disabilities, and their families, sent letters to Congressional leaders in both the House and the Senate today in opposition to the tax bill that is likely to be voted on next week. The letters reiterate the organizations’ strong opposition to any tax bill that would put at risk both health care and long-term care for older adults and people with disabilities.

The reported effects of the tax bill would be to explode the national deficit by at least $1 trillion, and potentially much more. This tremendous revenue shortfall will inevitably put Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and other programs at risk for massive cuts. These are programs that millions of older adults, people with disabilities, and their families rely on. For example, more than 57 million older adults and people with disabilities rely on Medicare, including 11 million low-income beneficiaries who have both Medicare and Medicaid.

As currently reported, the tax bill would also repeal the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate, leading to an additional 13 million Americans uninsured. Such a repeal will increase insurance premiums for people with preexisting and chronic conditions, disproportionately affecting the 3.3 million adults over 55 who obtain insurance through the ACA marketplaces, and hurting their ability to afford health care.

The letters urge Congress to return to the drawing board. A bipartisan, transparent process for tax reform must take these issues into consideration and must include public hearings, open comments, multi-stakeholder meetings, and sufficient time for the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the general public to analyze and understand the bill.

Read the letters and see the list of signatories here: Senate, House.

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Justice in Aging (www.justiceinaging.org) 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.

The Medicare Rights Center (www.medicarerights.org) is a national, nonprofit consumer service organization that works to ensure access to affordable health care for older adults and people with disabilities through counseling and advocacy, educational programs, and public policy initiatives.

The Center for Medicare Advocacy (www.medicareadvocacy.org) is a national, nonprofit, non-partisan law organization that works to advance access to comprehensive Medicare coverage and quality health care for older people and people with disabilities through legal analysis, education, and advocacy.

 

 

 

Justice in Aging Joins Other Civil Rights Groups in Amicus Brief Filing As SCOTUS Scrutinizes Workers’ Rights

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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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Court Certifies Nationwide Class in “Observation Status” Case

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Decision in Alexander v. Price Means Medicare Patients Could Gain Right to Appeal Placement on “Observation Status” and Avoid Large Medical Bills

August 1, 2017 – Eighty-four-year-old Nancy Niemi of North Carolina was hospitalized for 39 days earlier this year after her doctor sent her to the emergency room. It took weeks to stabilize her blood pressure and she experienced serious complications. But unbelievably, Ms. Niemi was categorized as an outpatient on “observation status” for her entire hospitalization, and she therefore lacked the three-day inpatient stay Medicare requires for coverage of her subsequent, very expensive care at a nursing home. Ms. Niemi’s son tried to help her challenge her lengthy placement on observation status, but Medicare does not allow beneficiaries to appeal this issue. She still owes thousands of dollars to the nursing facility. However, due to the federal court decision issued July 31, 2017, she is now a member of a nationwide class of hospital patients who may gain the right to appeal their placement on observation status.
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