Category

Safety Net Defense

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.

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.

Report: Older Women & Poverty

By | Economic Security, Health Care, Health Care Defense, Health Disparities, Health Equity, Long Term Care, Medicaid, Medicare, Nursing Homes, Oral Health, Safety Net Defense, SENIOR POVERTY, Social Security, Special Report, Supplemental Security Income

Because of structural inequities that impact women more than men, a significant percentage of older women are struggling to stay out of poverty.

There are 7.1 million older adults living in poverty in the United States, with nearly two out of three of them being women. Women like Venorica, who is working three jobs at the age of 70, and Vicky, who once ran a successful business with her husband, are struggling to stay afloat.

A new Justice in Aging report surveys the reasons more women are aging into poverty than men, discusses the support systems that are in place to help older women, and recommends ways we can strengthen and expand those support systems. The brief is accompanied by videos of women telling their own stories. Older women have cared for us and worked hard all of their lives. It’s imperative that we enact policies so they don’t have to struggle to make ends meet.

READ THE REPORT
WATCH THE VIDEOS HERE

Issue Brief: Medicaid Work Requirements and Family Caregivers

By | Health Care, Health Care Defense, ISSUE BRIEF, Medicaid, REPORTS, Safety Net Defense, SENIOR POVERTY

Medicaid Work Requirements can cause family caregivers to lose their health coverage, putting their health and the health of the older adults they care for in jeopardy.

With Thanksgiving on the horizon, our thoughts are on families and the 40 million family caregivers who provide care to an adult family member. Medicaid is an important source of health insurance coverage for those family caregivers who do not have access to other affordable coverage options. However, many states are in the process of designing or implementing policies that require family caregivers and others who are eligible for Medicaid to work a certain number of hours per month or qualify for an exemption to maintain their health coverage.

Implications for family caregivers

Low-income family caregivers may be unable to work sufficient hours at a paid job because of their caregiving responsibilities and may not qualify for the state’s exemptions. As a result, many will lose access to health care they need to maintain their own health, harming both their own well-being and the well-being of the older adults they care for.

A new Justice in Aging issue brief provides a state-by-state survey of how Medicaid work requirements apply to family caregivers and explains the harms they will cause to family caregivers and the older adults they care for.

READ THE BRIEF

Free Webinar: Changes to the “Public Charge” Rule and the Impact on Older Adults

By | Economic Security, Health Care, Safety Net Defense, SENIOR POVERTY, WEBINAR

When: Wednesday, November 14, 2018 from 10 am-11 am PT/1-2 pm ET.

The Trump Administration has proposed a rule that would hurt millions of older adults in immigrant families. Proposed changes to the “public charge” rule put immigration status at risk if an immigrant accesses or is likely to access programs that support health, nutrition, and economic stability. Confusion about the changes may lead to older adults forgoing services out of fear of potential immigration consequences.

This webinar, Changes to the “Public Charge” Rule and the Impact on Older Adults, provides an overview of the existing public charge rule and key proposed changes, including the addition of certain government benefits older adults rely on, and details on how immigration officials make the public charge determination. We also discuss the possible impacts on the lives of older adult immigrants and their families. The webinar includes tips on how advocates should be counseling their older adult clients and concludes with a summary of the regulatory timeline and what advocates can do to fight back against this harmful proposal. Justice in Aging will be releasing additional materials on the public charge proposal and its impact on older adults soon.

Who Should Participate:
Aging and legal advocates, community-based providers, health plan leaders, and others wanting to learn more about changes to public charge and the impact on older adults.

Presenters:
Elizabeth Lower-Basch, Director of Income and Work Supports, Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)
Natalie Kean, Staff Attorney, Justice in Aging

Moderator:
Denny Chan, Staff Attorney, Justice in Aging

This webinar took place on Wednesday, November 14, 2018 from 10 am- 11am PT/1-2 pm ET.

WATCH THE WEBINAR
DOWNLOAD THE POWERPOINT

Free Webinar: Elder Financial Exploitation in California: Addressing the Impact on Public Benefits

By | Economic Security, Health Care, Safety Net Defense, SENIOR POVERTY, WEBINAR, Webinar Trainings

When: Tuesday, October 16, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. PT

Elder financial exploitation is a growing issue faced by older adults in California, and the effects of abuse impact the physical health, mental well-being, and financial stability of victims. Financial abuse is not limited to the wealthy. Perpetrators of abuse often target income benefits, and exploitation can interfere with older adults’ access to health care and long-term services and supports.

This webinar provides information on the intersection between elder financial abuse and public benefits, such as SSI, Medi-Cal, Medicare, and In-Home Services and Supports. Presenters provide the tools needed for civil legal aid attorneys and aging services providers in California to spot, prevent, and address threats to public benefits that arise from elder financial abuse. Attendees also get a preview of a new resource, Financial Exploitation of Older Adults: A Guide for Civil Legal Aid Attorneys in California.

Closed captioning is available on this webinar.

Presenters:
Amber Christ, Justice in Aging
Sarah Galvan, Justice in Aging

The webinar took place on Tuesday, October 16, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. PT.

WATCH THE RECORDING DOWNLOAD THE POWERPOINT DOWNLOAD THE GUIDE