Justice in Aging is a national organization that uses the power of law to fight senior poverty by securing access to affordable health care, economic security, and the courts for older adults with limited resources.
Each month, Rosanne Goodwin scours her one-bedroom apartment outside San Diego for possessions to sell on eBay.
“I’ve sold photo albums,” Goodwin said. “I’ve sold whatever I could that’s just around the house, hand tools that I’ve had since I was in my 20s that my dad had given me for being out on my own. I just look around and wonder what can I sell now that will generate some income?”
California has one of the highest percentages of seniors living in poverty in the United States, behind only Washington DC, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. One in five seniors in California live in poverty, after adjusting for spending on basic necessities.
The California Dream of retirement — having enough money to enjoy a carefree life after decades of work — hasn’t lived up to its promise for Goodwin.
Times are lean.
Goodwin receives $2,060 in Social Security benefits each month, a sum that includes disability for the rare form of brain cancer she was diagnosed with a few years ago. But her monthly expenses total $2,400 a month.
“It’s heartbreaking,” said Kevin Prindiville, executive director for Justice In Aging, a national advocacy group for seniors. “Seniors are the people who cared for us. They’re the people who built our communities, who taught our kids, who worked in our hospitals. They really built our cities and our state and now to see them struggling so much just to put food on the table or to have housing, it’s brutal.” Read full article.
When: Thursday, June 28, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. PT / 2:00 p.m. ET.
The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program has many complicated financial eligibility rules, including the treatment of resources or assets. Applicants and recipients cannot simply give away countable assets to gain eligibility for SSI. Similarly they cannot decline assets that they are entitled to receive, such as inheritances, to establish or maintain their eligibility. An SSI applicant or recipient who transfers an asset for less than fair market value or declines to receive an asset could be subject to the transfer of asset penalty, becoming ineligible for SSI benefits for up to 36 months.
During this webinar, we will examine the transfer of asset penalty and ways to minimize or avoid it, by covering the little-known exceptions to the rule.
Kate Lang, Senior Attorney, Justice in Aging
John Whitelaw, Advocacy Director at Community Legal Aid Society, Inc
The webinar will place on Thursday, June 28, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. PT / 2:00 p.m. ET.
This summer we’re excited to have two fellows joining us for the inaugural year of our new Justice in Aging summer fellowship program and to be joined by three legal interns. Read more about them below.
Prathyusha Chenji, Racial Justice Fellow (DC) Prathyusha is a rising 3rd year law student at Emory University School of Law. Before joining Justice in Aging for the summer, she worked as a Law Student Intern at a medical-legal partnership in Atlanta, GA, providing on-site legal services relating to Supplemental Security Income benefits and disability determination in children. Prathyusha also worked as a Congressional Intern in the U.S. House of Representatives. Prior to law school, she graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor’s degree in Asian Languages and Civilizations and concentration in Molecular Biosciences.
Alana Murphy, Colin Alexander Health Law Fellow (OAK)
Alana is a rising 3L at UC Davis School of Law. As an Oakland native, Alana is excited to spend the summer at home in Oakland. Alana went to law school to pursue a career in public interest law and is thrilled to learn more about impact litigation and policy advocacy this summer. Last summer, Alana worked in direct services at the AIDS Legal Referral Panel in San Francisco where she assisted in eviction defense and social security overpayment issues. Prior to law school Alana worked at Project Open Hand, a nonprofit that provides food for people living with critical illnesses. Alana also spent a year living in Santiago, Chile teaching English. Alana is thrilled to learn more about health law and policy this summer and to get to know the Justice in Aging community!
Will Harrison, Summer Intern (DC)
Will is a rising 2L at Tulane Law School. Prior to attending law school, Will spent two and a half years managing the Nashville area State Health Insurance Assistance Program (TN SHIP), a federally funded agency that provides free, unbiased Medicare education and counseling. While living in Philadelphia, Will spent two years coordinating the freshmen volunteering program at Drexel University and a year as an Americorps VISTA at YouthBuild Philly Charter School. Will has an interest in legislative and administrative advocacy, and how government agencies and programs can equitably serve citizens of all backgrounds. Will received his undergraduate degree from Haverford College.
Kay Kim, Summer Intern (LA)
Kay Kim is a rising 2L at UCLA School of Law. She was born and raised in southern California, where she spent her formative years in the Coachella Valley. Kay graduated from UC Berkeley in 2014 with a B.A. in Media Studies. Before attending law school, she worked full-time for three years in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area. Though she is unsure as to what area of law she wants to practice, Kay would like to work within Los Angeles’ public interest sector after graduating from law school.
Clark Manning, Summer Intern (LA)
Clark is a rising 2L at Southwestern Law School. Previously, Clark was a legal intern at a small probate firm where he began his exposure to elder injustice. Clark graduated from Azusa Pacific University in 2017 with a major in political science and a minor in prelaw.
Los Angeles, CA (May 31, 2018) –Justice in Aging is proud to announce that the Los Angeles Aging and Advocacy Coalition (LAAAC) is honoring Kevin Prindiville with its Champion Award. Every year, LAAAC honors an individual who has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to aging advocacy, made outstanding contributions to the health and well-being of older and adults and caregivers in Los Angeles County, and demonstrated effectiveness as an advocate for seniors and their caregivers. The award will be presented Friday, June 1 at the 9th Annual Summit on Aging at the University of Southern California Ronald Tutor Campus Center Ballroom.
“I’m honored to be receiving this award at this critical time when we all need to be speaking up for and working on behalf of the growing number of seniors in California that are living in or near poverty,” said Kevin Prindiville.
Kevin has been Executive Director of Justice in Aging since 2013. He served as a staff attorney and the Deputy Director from 2006-2013. Prior to that he provided direct legal services to older adults in Philadelphia as a staff attorney at the Pennsylvania Health Law Project. Before Law School he served in the Jesuit Volunteer Corp in Camden, New Jersey. He is a nationally recognized expert on Medicare and Medicaid policy and has spent his entire career advocating on behalf of low-income older adults.
“Kevin is a dedicated advocate and champion for older adults, especially those who are vulnerable. He is a voice for the voiceless and a leader in the aging network. Kevin is the ideal champion to receive the 2018 LAAAC Champion Award,” said Brandi Orton, Managing Director of the Los Angeles Aging Advocacy Coalition.
Kevin has served as special counsel in several class action lawsuits brought to protect seniors’ access to health care and economic security benefits. He was one of Next Avenue’s 50 influencers in Aging in 2017 and serves on the board of the American Society on Aging. Kevin graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and the University of California, San Diego.
Justice in Aging is a national non-profit legal advocacy organization that fights senior poverty through law. Since 1972 we’ve worked for access to affordable health care and economic security for older adults with limited resources, focusing especially on populations that have traditionally lacked legal protection such as women, people of color, LGBT individuals, and people with limited English proficiency.
Aging Today: ‘Good Enough’ Is Not: Pushing Nursing Homes Past Mediocre Care (May 18, 2018). No one in their right mind would choose a new home in a mere 48 hours, based on a list of possibilities from a hospital discharge planner, and after making a few phone calls and (maybe) a couple of visits.Yet it is common practice for many nursing home residents. Many nursing homes are “chosen” in exactly this way and, unfortunately, a future resident’s lack of control often persists throughout life in these settings. Read more in this Op-Ed by Eric Carlson.
Washington, DC – The Center for Medicare Advocacy, Justice in Aging and the Medicare Rights Center sent a joint letter to Seema Verma, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), on May 15, 2018, objecting to serious inaccuracies in the draft Medicare & You Handbook for 2019, and urging CMS to rectify the errors prior to disseminating the Medicare & You Handbook.
Medicare & You is the official government publication designed to provide beneficiaries with factual information about the Medicare program, their choices for obtaining coverage, and the benefits they can expect. Unfortunately, the draft 2019 Handbook includes inaccurate descriptions of the differences between Original Medicare and private Medicare Advantage plans. Without fair and accurate information, older adults, people with disabilities and their families cannot make informed choices about their health care coverage.
The letter to Ms. Verma voiced the three organizations’ concerns that the draft 2019 Handbook distorts and mischaracterizes essential facts on which beneficiaries rely to make decisions about their coverage. First, it does not adequately inform beneficiaries of the significant limitations on choices of health care providers if they choose a Medicare Advantage plan rather than Original Medicare. In addition, it presents prior authorization in Medicare Advantage plans as a “right” that is not available in Original Medicare, rather than acknowledging that it is a requirement, an extra step mandated for Medicare Advantage members before they are permitted to access care. Further, the draft 2019 Handbook inaccurately implies that Medicare Advantage is the less expensive option for all beneficiaries. This sweeping generalization ignores the many variables that people with Medicare must consider in evaluating and selecting coverage that is most affordable and best suited for their needs.
Judith Stein, executive director of the Center for Medicare Advocacy, noted, “These can literally be life and death decisions. CMS has a duty to provide complete, unbiased information to help beneficiaries make the best choice for their Medicare coverage. Regrettably, the current version of Medicare & You does not fully and fairly inform people of the pros and cons of Original Medicare vs. Medicare Advantage. The draft Handbook needs to be corrected before it is published and sent to beneficiaries.”
Kevin Prindiville, Executive Director of Justice in Aging stated: “Several proposed changes in the Handbook distort basic facts about how Medicare Advantage and Original Medicare work. People with Medicare rely on Medicare & You for accurate and objective information. If these changes were adopted, beneficiaries would not have the information they need to make fully informed decisions about their Medicare coverage.”
Joe Baker, President of the Medicare Rights Center, stated: “From the Medicare Rights Center’s experience assisting people with Medicare and their families, we know how challenging it can be for beneficiaries to make the best coverage decision for their unique circumstances. The Medicare & You Handbook must support this decision-making process by accurately describing the rules, restrictions, and benefits of both Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage. Regardless of the coverage they ultimately select, all people with Medicare deserve the opportunity to make an informed choice. We commend CMS for incorporating many of the language changes we suggested in prior years, and urge the agency to address our concerns with the draft 2019 Handbook prior to its publication.”
The Center for Medicare Advocacy is a national, nonprofit, non-partisan law organization that works to advance access to comprehensive Medicare coverage and quality health care for older people and people with disabilities through legal analysis, education, and advocacy.
Justice in Aging is a national non-profit legal advocacy organization that fights senior poverty through law. Formerly the National Senior Citizens Law Center, since 1972 we’ve worked for access to affordable health care and economic security for older adults with limited resources, focusing especially on populations that have traditionally lacked legal protection such as women, people of color, LGBT individuals, and people with limited English proficiency.
The Medicare Rights Center is a national, nonprofit consumer service organization that works to ensure access to affordable health care for older adults and people with disabilities through counseling and advocacy, educational programs, and public policy initiatives.
Next Avenue: Finding Housing When Mom Doesn’t Speak English, (May 8, 2018) It’s not easy for anyone to be uprooted from a home and for an older adult with minimal or no English, it can be especially challenging. But, for consumers, planning ahead, researching your rights and stepping in to assist can help create the best outcome. Justice in Aging attorney, Denny Chan offers advice on how family members can learn their rights and help limited English proficient loved ones receive person-centered, culturally competent care throughout this piece.
U.S News and World Report: How Medicaid Work Requirements Could Hurt Older Americans. Since the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services opened the door to state waivers that would impose work requirements on many Medicaid recipients, some states have requested and been approved such wages. In this article, Justice in Aging attorney, Eric Carlson talks about the amicus brief we filed to block Kentucky’s waiver.
Justice in Aging joins Disability Rights California, in celebrating its 40th Anniversary. For 40 years, DRC has advanced and protected the rights of Californians with disabilities and each day their work makes a difference! We are proud to have partnered with Disability Rights California in numerous cases, including Kelley v. Kent, Oster v. Lightbourne, Darling v. Douglas, and Martinez v. Astrue. To read more about these cases, visit our litigation page.
Why do some individuals receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits only receive $500 a month instead of $750? In many cases, the reason is “in-kind support and maintenance” (ISM).
As SSI is a means-tested program, applicants and recipients must meet several financial eligibility criteria on an ongoing basis. The income and resource rules, including in-kind support and maintenance, are particularly complicated. These rules can cause significant hardship for low-income people trying to survive on SSI.
This new guide, In-Kind Support and Maintenance in the SSI Program, gives advocates tools to successfully navigate ISM on behalf of their clients. They can make a big difference by making sure that clients can maximize their SSI benefits to better meet their needs for shelter, food, health care, and other necessities.
Read the guide, and watch the recording of today’s webinar on In-Kind Support and Maintenance here.