PUBLICATIONS

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

White Paper: An Oral Health Benefit in Medicare Part B: It’s Time to Include Oral Health in Health Care

By | Health Equity, ISSUE BRIEF, Medicare, Oral Health

Oral health is an integral part of overall health. Oral health problems can adversely affect one’s ability to maintain optimal nutrition, self-image, social interactions, and mental and physical health. Oral health problems can lead to chronic pain, tooth loss and serious infections. Poor oral health can even worsen chronic medical conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.

Older adults need timely and affordable access to dental care in order to maintain their health and well-being, yet, there is currently no mechanism for most older adults to access care. Contrary to what many believe, Medicare does not include an oral health benefit. Most older adults cannot afford to purchase private oral health insurance or pay out-of-pocket for the care they need. As a result, 70 percent of Medicare recipients have limited or no dental coverage, and fewer than half see a dentist each year.

A new White Paper, An Oral Health Benefits in Medicare Part B: It’s Time to Include Oral Health in Health Care discusses how a Medicare Part B dental benefit would close disparities in dental use and expense between the uninsured and insured and among older adults with few financial resources and limited oral health education. The paper also details how such a benefit could be structured and the legislative changes that would need to happen before such a benefit could be established.

Oral Health for Older Adults in California: Advocacy Guide

By | Advocate's Guide, Health Care, ISSUE BRIEF, Oral Health

New Advocacy Guide: Oral Health for Older Adults in California

Oral health affects overall health – this is particularly true for older adults. Yet, access to oral health treatment is limited and complicated by factors such as lack of dental coverage, complicated rules, and lack of dental providers. To assist California advocates in connecting their clients with oral health treatment, Justice in Aging has developed an Advocacy Guide for Oral Health for Older Adults in California.

The Guide includes a summary with advocacy tips on the following topics:

  • Why oral health matters
  • The state of oral health for older adults in California today
  • Health insurance coverage options for older adults including Medicare, Denti-Cal, and other forms of coverage
  • Unique barriers sub-populations of older adults encounter in accessing oral health including dual eligibles and nursing facility residents
  • Treatment alternatives for individuals without dental coverage
  • Additional resources

It is our intention that this Guide will help advocates navigate the system and empower them to identify and address systemic barriers to care.

Visit Justice in Aging’s Oral Health page for additional resources and help us celebrate #OralHealthMonth by forwarding this resource to your networks.

How Medicaid Work Requirements Will Harm Older Adults & Family Caregivers

By | FACT SHEET, Health Care, Health Care Defense

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued guidance allowing states to condition Medicaid eligibility on fulfilling work and “community engagement” requirements. Under this policy, states can require adults to work in order to receive Medicaid if they are under age 65 and not disabled under the Social Security Administration’s strict definition. Although states are required to exempt some individuals who cannot work based on their health conditions, and encouraged to allow caregiving hours to count as work, all of these individuals will still be subject to onerous reporting requirements. This presents a significant barrier to health care access for many of the nearly 9 million adults ages 50 to 64 who rely on Medicaid, as well as nearly 5 million people with disabilities and chronic health conditions who do not receive Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income, and family caregivers. Learn more with our factsheet!

Supporting Older Americans’ Basic Needs: Health Care, Income, Housing and Food

By | FACT SHEET, Health Care, Health Care Defense, ISSUE BRIEF, Medicaid, Medicare, SENIOR POVERTY, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income

Older adults and their families strive each day to pay for health care and medicine, keep food on the table, have a roof over their heads, and have enough cash on hand to pay the utilities, get where they need to go and meet other basic needs. As families work together to meet these challenges, they are supported by a broad range of federal programs that provide Americans with the means to thrive as they grow older and remain at home and in their communities.

This issue brief discusses how these various programs work, who is eligible for them, and how they support the health and economic well-being of older Americans. For a quick overview, check out the fact sheet.

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.

READ THE REPORT

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.

READ THE REPORT

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.

READ THE REPORT

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.

READ THE ARTICLE

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.

READ THE ARTICLE

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.

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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.

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