Justice in Aging publishes frequent issue briefs, reports and advocate’s guides that help on-the-ground advocates assist low-income older adults and persons with disabilities deal with often complex challenges related to federal and state benefits programs. Many of the issue briefs are also reflected in our ongoing, free webinar trainings. To ensure that you receive updates on the latest reports or trainings, sign up for our health or income network alerts.

Issue Briefs & Fact Sheets

SSI 101: A Guide for Advocates

By | Advocate's Guide, BLOG, Economic Security, ISSUE BRIEF, Supplemental Security Income | No Comments

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)—a need-based program administered by the Social Security Administration – provides a very basic income to over 8.2 million people, including 2.2 million seniors age 65+. As more seniors struggle to make ends meet in today’s economy, getting access to SSI can help low-income seniors escape deep poverty and avoid or move out of homelessness. Justice in Aging’s Supplemental Security Income 101: A Guide for Advocates introduces advocates and individuals who provide assistance to older adults to the SSI program and focuses on the basics of the program for those who qualify based on age (65 years or older).

Released today, the Guide includes:

  • A description of the SSI program and benefits
  • An overview of the application and appeals processes
  • A discussion of key eligibility criteria, including examples

And in case you missed our SSI Basics webinar last month, the video is now available.

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

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

Special Reports

Unique Legal Needs of Low-Income LGBT Seniors

The intersection of poverty and discrimination creates an array of unique legal needs for older LGBT individuals. A new Special Report by Justice in Aging, produced in partnership with Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, & Transgender Elders (SAGE), offers an overview and practical tips for legal aid organizations seeking to serve this population. The Report, How Can Legal Services Better Meet the Needs of Low-Income LGBT Seniors? is accompanied by a short video that highlights the diversity of the LGBT community and the gaps in equality its members face as they age.


Homeless Among Older Adults

More older adults are homeless or at risk of homelessness than at any time in recent history. This special report, How to Prevent and End Homelessness Among Older Adults, created in partnership with The National Alliance to End Homelessness, outlines the problem and recommends policy solutions that can be put in place now to ensure that all older adults have a safe place to age in dignity, with affordable health care, and sufficient income to meet their basic needs.


Advocacy Starts at Home

In this report, Advocacy Starts at Home: Strengthening Supports for Low-Income Older Adults and Family Caregivers, Justice in Aging draws the connection between fighting senior poverty, supporting caregivers, and the services needed to help older adults. The stress and expense of caregiving will touch every one of us at some point in our lives, but it can be devastating for poor families. In the paper, we identify clear solutions that will benefit everyone, while providing poor families with the basic support system they need to ensure that older adults in their families can age at home in dignity.


Articles & Op-Ed

How Legal Aid Programs Can Address the Growing Problem of Senior Poverty

Legal aid organizations can play a critical role in securing the rights and benefits of the increasing number of older adults living in poverty. Justice in Aging attorneys Jennifer Goldberg, Fay Gordon, and Kate Lang authored a Special Feature for Management Information Exchange for Legal Aid (MIE) offering suggestions to help legal aid organizations structure their services to have the most impact, reach older adults with the greatest need, and increase their organizational capacity to serve low-income older adults.


Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income Eligibility: Time for a Tune-Up

Medicaid and SSI are two essential programs that fight senior poverty by ensuring that low-income older Americans can meet their basic needs and maintain their health. In operation for 50 years (Medicaid) and 40 years (SSI), these workhorse programs are indispensable for seniors. But as the population ages and income inequality increases, both programs need retooling to improve benefits and increase access for more people who need them.

Justice in Aging attorneys Georgia Burke, Jennifer Goldberg, and Kate Lang published Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income Eligibility: Time for a Tune-Up,” in the spring issue of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) Journal.


New national center aims to enhance legal services for older adults

Early this year, Justice in Aging will launch the new National Center on Law and Elder Rights (NCLER). We are pleased to introduce the aging network to NCLER, a destination for legal and aging advocates who need legal resources to better serve older adults.

Read more from Justice in Aging attorney Fay Gordon in the op-ed New national center aims to enhance legal services for older adults,” from the January-February issue of Aging Today – the bimonthly newspaper of the American Society on Aging.


Balance billing: a tragic trend that is hurting our poorest elders

Every time I visit the doctor I get a bill for $15.27. I know I should not be receiving these, but I don’t want to ‘rock the boat.’ The doctor is in walking distance, so I don’t need to take public transportation. That saves me a lot because my income is only $329 a month. I ultimately do not know what I should and shouldn’t pay. I really feel anxious. I do not know what is going to happen with my healthcare.

I received two bills that I know I should not have received. I was sick and I needed the care, so I just paid them.

These stories reflect a growing trend of poor older adults being illegally billed for healthcare services covered by Medicare and Medicaid.

Read more from Justice in Aging’s Eric Carlson and Fay Gordon in the op-ed Balance billing: a tragic trend that is hurting our poorest elders,” from the May-June 2016 issue of Aging Today – the bimonthly newspaper of the American Society on Aging.