As the only national organization focused solely on protecting the rights of low-income seniors, we partner with advocates on the ground who help us monitor issues that impact poor seniors. When a group needs a champion in the courts we’re there, on our own or in partnership with other organizations, litigating precedent-setting cases that benefit hundreds of thousands of seniors. We have wonderful pro bono partnerships with some of the top law firms in the country, enabling us to file and win more cases that bring justice to older adults. We often work with our pro bono colleagues and other organizations to file amici in important cases that have the potential to impact low-income seniors. Learn more about active cases below, read more about our past litigation, and read amicus briefs.
Kelley v. Kent (Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles-Central District)
This case challenged the state of California for failing to implement a federal policy that requires states to provide in-home services through Medicaid to older adults and people with disabilities living at home with spouses, while allowing the spouse who doesn’t need the services retain sufficient resources to meet their basic needs.
Update: On January 14, 2020 a Los Angeles Superior Court judge issued a favorable decision in this case.
Alexander v. Azar (formerly Alexander v. Price, Barrows v. Burwell & Bagnall v. Sebelius)
(United States District Court/Connecticut)
This case challenged the common Medicare practice of classifying hospital patients as under “observation status” without formerly admitting them. Patients are often unaware that they haven’t been admitted and are classified as outpatients, and are then surprised to receive large bills for hospital care and drugs that would have been covered under Medicare Part A, had they been formally admitted, and classified as inpatients.
Update: On March 24, 2020, a federal judge in Connecticut issued a favorable decision in this nationwide class action.
Alexander et al. v. Mayhew and Prudom
(United States District Court Northern District of Florida Tallahassee Division)
Mr. Alexander, is partially paralyzed as the result of a back surgery. He cannot bathe, use the bathroom, clean, cook, drive, or maneuver himself in and out of his wheelchair on his own. He lives with his 92 year old mother, who does her best to care for him. He would prefer to remain at home and not have to move into a nursing facility, but he may be forced to because he is one of thousands of people on Florida’s waiting list for home and community based services. Justice in Aging, with pro bono partner Cozen O’Connor, along with Southern Legal Counsel, Disability Rights Florida, and attorney Nancy Wright filed a class action lawsuit against the state of Florida, asserting that the state’s long-term care system violates Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act by perpetuating the institutionalization and segregation of older adults and people with disabilities.
Held v. Colvin
(U.S. District Court/Central District of California)
Hugh Held has been married to his spouse Orion Masters since 2008 when same-sex marriage became legal in California. Unfortunately his legal marriage was not taken into account by Social Security when it calculated his SSI benefits. Even though he informed Social Security of his marriage three times, it took the agency over a year to realize they overpaid him. Potentially hundreds of other low-income individuals were affected.
Update: In April 2016 SSA instructed its local offices to presume that a waiver of overpayment had been requested by such individuals, providing a significant win. Read the press release
Hart v. Berryhill (formerly Hart v. Colvin)
(U.S. District Court/Northern District of California)
Kevin Hart was a Jack-of-all trades for decades. He poured concrete, framed houses, loaded 50 pound sacks of almonds at a factory, and waxed the floors of The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. Then, he was hit by a car while biking home from work one night, and became permanently disabled. After he could no longer work, he moved in with his mother, relying on a small monthly Social Security benefit to make ends meet.
After a routine disability review in 2013, he received notice from the Social Security Administration (SSA) that he was no longer eligible for benefits. SSA had based this determination on the opinion of a discredited physician.
J.D. v. Baptist Convalescent Center
(Commonwealth of Kentucky Campbell Circuit Court Division Two)
Our four clients (three women and one man) are all poor older adults with serious and chronic health conditions, ranging in age from 68-87 years old. All had been residing in a nursing facility in Kentucky with their care paid for by Medicaid. After the nursing facility constructed a new building that prioritized expensive private occupancy, and closed the old building, management moved all four into private rooms in the new building, despite the fact that none requested and none could afford a private room. Each resident was then told that they would have to pay an extra $900 monthly or face eviction. Justice in Aging worked with Legal Aid of the Bluegrass and pro bono partner Knoebel & Vice. The case was settled in October 2018 with the facility agreeing to let the residents stay with no extra charges.
Clark v. Astrue
(United States District Court/Southern District of New York)
The late Elaine Clark was the lead plaintiff in Clark v. Astrue, brought by Justice in Aging Directing Attorney Gerald McIntyre with Proskauer, Rose LLP and the Urban Justice Center of New York City.
Elaine Clark was receiving Social Security Disability Insurance for several serious medical conditions, including end stage renal disease. In 1996 she was living in senior housing and receiving medical treatment when the Social Security Administration unlawfully stopped her benefits…
Price v. McCarthy
(U.S. District Court Southern District of Ohio Western Division)
Eighty-nine year old Betty Hilleger, who suffered from frailty and dementia, exhausted all of her limited savings as a resident of an assisted living center in Ohio. She was found to be eligible for the state’s Medicaid waiver program, but was denied months’ worth of coverage because of the state’s delay in making the decision, putting her at risk for eviction. This case challenges Ohio’s refusal to provide retroactive Medicaid coverage to Ms. Hilleger and others like her.