Category

SENIOR POVERTY

More and more Californians are old, sick and on the streets. Here’s how we can fight senior homelessness.

By | IN THE NEWS, SENIOR POVERTY

San Francisco Chronicle: More and more Californians are old, sick and on the streets. Here’s how we can fight senior homelessness. (July 28, 2019)

More and more older adults living in California are homeless. Many are just one crisis away from homelessness. Poverty, a lack of economic security, and a lack of affordable housing are the main causes of homelessness. In this op-ed Justice in Aging authored with Margot Kushel, a medical doctor who researches the health impacts of homelessness on older adults, we make the case for  creating more affordable housing and providing older adults with a fixed income to lower cases of homelessness. Making health care more affordable, helping older adults maintain their home while recovering in nursing homes, and restoring SSI are additional ways to keep older adults from homelessness.

Benefits on the Line

By | IN THE NEWS, Medicare, Safety Net Defense, SENIOR POVERTY, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income

The American Prospect: Benefits on the Line (June 19, 2019)

The Trump Administration has proposed to change how inflation is calculated, moving from the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) to Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (chained CPI). This change in how poverty is measured would have drastic negative consequences for millions of low-income people, older adults, and people with disabilities. Many would become ineligible for benefits or would receive less assistance as chained CPI lowers the poverty line. Justice in Aging’s Directing Attorney Tracey Gronniger says that, “It would hurt people who are so close to getting help. All of sudden, you have hundreds of thousands of people who are told, ‘Now you’re not poor anymore.’”

Justice in Aging’s Statement on Trump Administration’s Proposed Roll-back of Health Care Rights

By | Affordable Care Act, Health Care, LGBT, Safety Net Defense

Today as part of an ongoing attack on the most marginalized, the Trump Administration is proposing dangerous and far reaching changes to regulations implementing the Health Care Rights Law, Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which prohibits discrimination in healthcare. The proposal attempts to eliminate the rights of LGBTQ people. It also rolls back protections for limited English proficient (LEP) older adults, and attempts to radically limit the way that victims of any type of discrimination can seek redress under the law. By gutting the only federal law designed to protect against discrimination in health care, the move is a cruel, extremist, and transparent political attack on LGBTQ older adults, LEP seniors, and others who frequently face discrimination in accessing care.

The ACA’s Health Care Rights provision is a landmark civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, and disability in federal health programs and activities. The law includes affirmative protections for consumers and obligations on insurers and providers, as well as a new avenue for older adults and others to enforce their rights.

The proposed changes to the Health Care Rights Law will be particularly harmful for transgender older adults – one in five of whom report being refused care because of their gender status. This discrimination, which compounds over a lifetime, contributes to poorer health outcomes among transgender older adults, with one in three reporting poor physical health. By deleting references to protections based on gender identity, sexual orientation, and sex stereotyping across federal healthcare regulations, the Trump Administration’s proposal is saying transgender older adults and LGBTQ people more broadly do not have the right to receive the care they need and be treated with dignity.

In the same proposed rulemaking, the Trump Administration is also rolling back language access protections for LEP older adults by eliminating the requirement that healthcare providers affirmatively distribute notices of non-discrimination and include translated taglines in significant communications to consumers. These requirements, key to enforcing Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, are critical to assist LEP communities to better understand their rights and access care.

Finally, if gutting key provisions of the existing regulations were not enough, the proposed rulemaking takes aim at the Health Care Rights Law’s enforcement structure, which would make it significantly more difficult to bring particular discrimination claims under the law.

To be clear, this proposed rule is part of a larger, strategic attack on the lives of LGBTQ and LEP older adults. The Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the same agency tasked with enforcing Section 1557, recently released a final “Conscience Rights” rule that allows providers to discriminate against transgender older adults and others on religious and moral grounds and changed the OCR mission statement to emphasize conscience and religious freedom. Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security’s proposed “public charge” rule would make it nearly impossible for LEP older immigrants to enter the U.S. or become permanent residents if they are not wealthy and use or might need Medicaid or help paying for Medicare, food or housing.

Upon the proposed rule being published in the Federal Register, a 60-day public comment period will begin. In the coming weeks, Justice in Aging will provide resources, including template comments, to help advocates fight back. Now is the time to tell the Trump Administration that the lives, rights, and dignity of LGBTQ older adults, LEP seniors, and people with disabilities matter and to protect the Health Care Rights Law.

Graying California Panel Discussion: How Prepared is California for the Booming Senior Population?

By | IN THE NEWS, SENIOR POVERTY

KPBS: Graying California Panel Discussion: How Prepared is California for the Booming Senior Population? (May 22, 2019)

California’s senior population is set to double over the next 25 years. And the state’s high cost of living means a life of poverty for hundreds of thousands of older Californians. KPBS media in San Diego hosted a live panel discussion with aging and economic security experts to discuss how the state can best meet the needs of an aging population while also ensuring that low-income older adults can meet their basic needs for food, shelter, and health care. Justice in Aging’s Executive Director, Kevin Prindiville participated in this wide-ranging panel discussion.

Americans Can’t Afford Retirement. Here are 8 Ways to Fix it.

By | IN THE NEWS, Newsroom, SENIOR POVERTY, Social Security

Fast Company: Americans Can’t Afford Retirement. Here are 8 Ways to Fix it.  (May 8, 2019)

Around half of Americans approaching retirement have no retirement savings. This is due to declining wages and pensions, high housing and health care costs, longevity, and myriad other reasons. There is no single solution, but there are actions businesses and policy makers can take that would help. One is to pay people more. “The fact that wages have been so stagnant for the middle class has really impacted the ability of people to save,” said Kevin Prindiville, Justice in Aging’s Executive Director, who was interviewed for the article. Creating more ways for people to saved, expanding Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, and creating more affordable housing are other solutions Justice in Aging proposes in the article.

Principles of a Master Plan on Aging for all Californians

By | CA Health Network Alert, Safety Net Defense, SENIOR POVERTY, Statements

In January, Governor Newsom called for a Master Plan on Aging in his State of the State address, and concurrently members of the legislature introduced several bills aimed at addressing California’s growing aging population. The need is urgent as California’s population ages and grows poorer. California’s population of older adults is expected to almost double over the next twenty years. Today, one in five seniors in California live at or below the poverty level, with women and populations of color experiencing poverty at higher rates. Without a dedicated plan and resources to address California’s aging population, many more older adults will fall into poverty in their later years.

As lawmakers work to revise the 2020 budget this month, we urge them to direct funding toward a comprehensive Master Plan that addresses the struggles of the poorest Californians, is centered on equity, makes provision for a robust long-term care system, and is both intergenerational and intersectional.

We laid out a set of principles that we urge policymakers to consider and incorporate in the Master Plan to help those Californians who are struggling the most, and also middle class older adults, families, and all of our communities. We have the political momentum to address the needs of California’s aging population. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to get it right and help all Californians age in dignity and justice.

Read the principles.

Legal Help – Aging Matters

By | IN THE NEWS, Safety Net Defense

Nashville Public Television: Aging Matters (April 18, 2019)

The need for legal assistance is high for older adults. Many find accessing affordable legal aid difficult. Watch the video above to learn more about how legal aid organizations provide older adults with the legal help they need to age with dignity and support. Justice in Aging’s Deputy Director Jennifer Goldberg and Staff Attorney Fay Gordon are featured in the video.

More Women Growing Old Poor In Phoenix, Mirroring National Trend

By | Economic Security, Health Care, IN THE NEWS, Safety Net Defense, SENIOR POVERTY

KJZZ Public Radio: More Women Growing Old Poor In Phoenix, Mirroring National Trend (April 17, 2019)

The rate of women 55 and older experiencing homelessness is on the rise in  Phoenix, Arizona. Shelters are serving more and more older women, following national trends. Justice in Aging’s Executive Director Kevin Prindiville states that “we’re seeing a very disturbing trend of individuals that lived middle-class lifestyles when they were working age, becoming poor for the first time when they’re older — and that’s a shift.” Contributing factors include a gender wage gap, domestic abuse, a “motherhood penalty,” and caretaking responsibilities. These factors are compounded by race, sexuality, and/or gender identity. Strengthening existing social programs like improving access to SNAP and expanding 401(k) participation to part-time employees would provide the support older women need to age in dignity.

Florida Faces ADA Lawsuit Over Medicaid Wait List

By | Health Care, IN THE NEWS, In-Home Supportive Services, LITIGATION, Long Term Care, Medicaid, Person-Centered Care Planning, SENIOR POVERTY

WJCT News/WUSF Health: Florida Faces ADA Lawsuit Over Medicaid Wait List (January 2, 2019)

Justice in Aging has filed a class action lawsuit against Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration. Currently, older adults and people with disabilities could wait up to 3.5 years to access in-home health care. Justice in Aging wants Florida to develop more in-home care services for people and increase the capacity of the services it has. Litigation Director Regan Bailey said “it’s a need that’s growing. And the way to meet that need is to provide more community-based services because you can serve many more people for the same money in the community versus in a nursing facility.”