Advocates Warn Congress of Dangerous Consequences of ACA Repeal and Delay for Seniors and People with Disabilities

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OAKLAND – On January 13, 2017, the Center for Medicare Advocacy, Justice in Aging, Medicare Rights Center and 65 other organizations that represent older adults and people with disabilities wrote Congressional leadership expressing grave concern about repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In particular, the organizations urge that any legislation to repeal the ACA be rejected unless it is accompanied by a detailed replacement plan that provides American families with equal or improved access to high-quality, affordable health coverage.

“Repealing the ACA without an immediate replacement could cause 30 million Americans who rely on expanded Medicaid and the individual market to lose health coverage. Over 4.5 million people ages 55 to 64 could lose coverage and the share of uninsured people in this age group could double—from 8% to 19%,” the letter cautioned. Read More

Justice in Aging and Center for Consumer Engagement in Health Innovation Offer Recommendations to Improve Non-Emergency Medical Transport for Older Adults

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November 3, 2016 (Oakland, CA) – A new report released today by the Center for Consumer Engagement in Health Innovation (the Center) and Justice in Aging outlines the importance of Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Services (NEMT) for older adults and people with disabilities, details the challenges faced by users and offers a series of recommendations based on promising state practices. The report, Medicaid Non-Emergency Medical Transportation: An Overlooked Lifeline for Older Adults, can be accessed at Justice in Aging and the Center.

Across the country, 7.1 million Americans rely on NEMT services to get to medical appointments. Yet, every year, an estimated 3.6 million Americans miss or delay health care because of difficulty accessing these critical services. NEMT is an important Medicaid benefit for the people who rely on it to visit their doctors, receive treatment for chronic conditions and travel to settings such as adult day health care. Considering that NEMT represents less than 1 percent of total state and federal Medicaid expenditures and has the potential to prevent much more costly medical care, it provides exceptional value for states.

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Settlement in Class Action against Social Security for Basing Disability Decisions on Disqualified Doctor’s Reports

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Oakland, CA—A settlement has been reached on behalf of approximately 6,500 California residents, most of them in the San Francisco Bay Area. The settlement will ensure that class members have the opportunity to have disability claims that were denied or discontinued reevaluated.  If approved by the court, it will be the first-ever settlement against the Social Security Administration (SSA) to provide a large group of people with a remedy for its reliance on medical reports from a disqualified physician.

Lead Plaintiff Kevin Hart was devastated when he received notice from the Social Security Administration that he was no longer disabled after being examined by the doctor in question. “He didn’t even know me, he didn’t even look at me,” said Hart, describing the cursory examination he received that lasted less than 10 minutes and failed to note that he required a cane to walk.

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Justice in Aging Launches New Bay Area Project with Two New Attorneys

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Oakland, CA – Justice in Aging is pleased to announce a new outreach, education and advocacy project in the San Francisco Bay Area that will improve access to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and In Home Supportive Services (IHSS) for low-income seniors residing in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.

SSI and IHSS are programs that provide an important lifeline to low-income older adults. SSI provides vital basic income support to extremely low-income older adults and people with disabilities to pay for food, shelter, and other necessities. In Alameda County 52,820 people rely on SSI, and Contra Costa County is home to 26,658 SSI recipients. IHSS is a life changing and life sustaining program for over 25,000 people in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. The program provides personal care services to seniors and people with disabilities who need help with activities of daily living in order to remain at home and in their communities.

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Justice in Aging Welcomes Tracey Gronniger to Direct Economic Security Team

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WASHINGTON, DC.– Justice in Aging is pleased to welcome Tracey Gronniger to its Washington, DC office as Directing Attorney of the Economic Security Team. Justice in Aging (formerly the National Senior Citizens Law Center), which also has offices in Los Angeles, and Oakland, CA, is a national legal advocacy organization that uses the power of law to fight senior poverty.

Tracey joins Justice in Aging after serving as senior staff attorney at the Federal Trade Commission for ten years. She worked in the Bureau of Consumer Protection where she litigated a variety of cases to halt fraudulent and deceptive marketing practices, including actions to stop Medicare fraud schemes, government grant scams, and phony business opportunities. She also coordinated the Bureau’s Legal Services Collaboration and Every Community Initiative, which seeks to ensure that the agency meets the consumer protection needs of undeserved and at-risk consumers, including older Americans. Prior to joining the FTC Tracey served as an Associate at the law firm of Steptoe & Johnson in Washington, DC.

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Lawsuit Paves Way for Improvements in SSI Overpayment Collection

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Oakland, CA—As a result, in part, of a lawsuit filed by Justice in Aging, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) and Foley Hoag LLP on behalf of Plaintiffs Hugh Held and Kelley Richardson-Wright and a proposed nationwide class, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has issued a new policy that provides a significant win for individuals receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits who are married to someone of the same sex but whose marriages were not recognized by SSA when they should have been.

SSI is a benefits program that provides for basic necessities for very low income people over 65 and people with disabilities. SSI recipients married to someone of the same sex were being asked to pay back “overpayments” caused by SSA’s failure to recognize their marriages. Under SSA’s new policy, they should now be able to receive a waiver, or forgiveness, of those overpayments even, in most cases, without having to formally apply for relief.

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National Academy of Social Insurance Welcomes Attorney Kate Lang as a Member

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Lang Joins Nation’s Top Professionals Working to Advance Public Policy Solutions to Challenges Facing Workers and Families

WASHINGTON, DC – Justice in Aging is proud to announce that the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) has welcomed Senior Staff Attorney Kate Lang as a member. Membership is offered only to those who have demonstrated a sustained interest in social insurance as a tool for addressing economic insecurity; have distinguished themselves by improving the quality of research, teaching, policy making, administration or financing of social insurance systems; and are committed to furthering public education, developing new leaders, promoting research, and providing forums for discussion among experts, stakeholders, policy makers, and administrators.

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Married LGBT SSI Recipients Appeal Discrimination Case Against Social Security

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Oakland, CA.—Today, Justice in Aging, along with Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), and Foley Hoag LLP appealed a district court’s cursory dismissal of a class action lawsuit seeking to stop the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) demands to recover overpayments from a group of SSI recipients married to a person of the same sex. The suit charges that the administration discriminated against married SSI recipients in calculating their SSI benefits for more than a year after the Supreme Court ruling struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in U.S. v. Windsor in June 2013.

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