Elder Law Task Force

Elder Law Task Force content posted in order of most recent to oldest.

New Budget Increases Some Programs for the Elderly

From Justice in Aging:

FY 2018 Omnibus Spending Bill Includes Increased Funding for Older Adult Programs

The FY 2018 omnibus spending bill (H.R. 1625), signed Friday by President Trump, included significant increases for vital Older Americans Act programs, as well as continued funding to support the administrative aspects of the Social Security Administration and the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

The bill included:

  • Social Security: A proposed budget increase of $388 million for the Social Security administrative fund. $280 million is set aside specifically for modernizing the agency’s IT infrastructure, and $100 million for reducing the backlog of appeal hearings.  
  • Housing: $678 million for the Section 202 program that provides assistance to older adults, including $105 million for new Section 202 construction and project-based rental assistance. It expands rental assistance for Section 202 Housing for the Elderly communities, provides funding for new construction for housing for people with disabilities, and increases funding for Housing Choice Vouchers, public housing, and homeless assistance, among other programs. 
  • Health: $49 million in funding for State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIPs) for FY18, which is a $2 million increase from FY17, but still $3 million less than FY 2016.
  • Energy Assistance: $250 million increase for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), for a total of $3.6 billion.
  • Nutrition: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) funding at $74 billion, a $4.5 billion cut (nearly 6%) from FY 2017. The bill also allows for work requirements.
  • Community Services: Level funding for the Community Services Block Grant at $715 million, and the Social Services Block Grant at $1.7 billion. The Community Development Block Grant received a $300 million (10 percent) boost to $3.3 billion.
  • Legal Services and Elder Justice: $410 million for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), a $25 million overall increase from FY 2017 levels. The Older Americans Act, Title IIIB Supportive Services received a 10% increase, for a funding level of $385 million. Adult Protective Services (APS) and the Elder Justice Initiative received increased funding of $12 million, a $2 million increase.


The package that passed did not include other health care bills that we were watching, such as the EMPOWER Care Act (S.2227, H.R. 5306), which would extend the Medicaid Money Follows the Person Program, and the BENES Act (S.1909, H.R.2575), which would simplify and improve the Medicare Part B enrollment process.

Contact Us

Justice in Aging
(202) 289-6976
info@justiceinaging.org
View as webpage

Nuts & Bolts of Collections: IRS and MD

Date: 
Wed, 02/21/2018 - 5:30pm - 7:30pm

Nuts & Bolts of Collections: IRS and MD

February 21 5:30pm-7:30pm

Hosted by the Annapolis Office of Frost & Associates

888 Bestgate Road, Suite 400

Annapolis, MD 21401

Foreclosure Mediation Brief Advice Clinic-Anne Arundel

Your client brings in a letter from the IRS or the Maryland Comptroller threatening collection. What do you do?

Join Rebecca Sheppard, Esq. of Frost and Associates and Cheri Wendt-Taczak, Esq. of the Annapolis-based Law Office of Cheri Wendt-Taczak, LLC, as they discuss the different approaches to collection problems and how to choose the best one for your client.

there is no fee for this training but all participants will b asked to take a Tax Collections case within the next six months. Please contact Janice Shih at 443-451-4061 or jshih@mvlslaw.org for more information.

A light dinner will be served.

Location
Location Name: 
Frost and Associates
Address1: 
888 Bestgate Road
Address2: 
Suite 400
City: 
Annapolis
State: 
MD
Zip: 
21401
Contact
Name: 
Janice Shih
Phone: 
443-451-4061

Social Security and SSI benefits to increase by 2% in 2018

Social Security and SSI benefits to increase by 2% in 2018

MVLS TAX CONTROVERSY TRAINING FOR ATTORNEYS, LAW STUDENTS, CPAs and EAs

Date: 
Wed, 11/01/2017 - 9:00am - 1:00pm
TAX CONTROVERSY TRAINING FOR ATTORNEYS, LAW STUDENTS, CPAs and EAs 9am - 1pm November 1, 2017 Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service Office 201 N. Charles Street, #1400 Baltimore, MD 21201 The course will be taught by experienced tax attorneys, Gerald Kelly and Cheri Wendt-Taczak; IRS Local Taxpayer Advocate, James Leith; and Assistant Director, Compliance Division, Comptroller of Maryland, Jay Maschas. While the training will cover handling tax cases generally, the focus of this session will be on the mechanics of advocating for the taxpayer who is battling with tax collection issues. There is no fee to attend but each participant will be asked to accept one tax controversy case over the next six months. Please register at www.mvlslaw.org or contact Janice Shih at 443-451-4061 or jshih@mvlslaw.org for more information. Continental breakfast will be served.
Location
Location Name: 
MVLS
Address1: 
201 N. Charles Street
Address2: 
#1400
City: 
Baltimore
State: 
MD
Zip: 
21201
Contact
Name: 
Janice Shih
Phone: 
443-451-4061

2017 Welfare Advocates Conference

The 2017 Welfare Advocates Conference is coming up on November 2 at the Radisson Hotel in Timonium, MD. This year, we are excited that our keynote speaker will be Marc Steiner, and he'll be talking about how to amplify the stories and voices of individuals who are marginalized. We are also having an interactive closing plenary where local leaders –including the CEOs of United Way, Catholic Charities, Advocates for Children and Youth, and the Jobs Opportunity Task Force - are being pitched the question "How Do We End Poverty?" that they’ll each answer from their own perspectives. Our theme this year is Casting a Wide Net, speaking to the need for inclusivity in our organizations, in our communities, and in our policies. Along that theme, we are having workshops on assisting our immigrant neighbors, working with LGBTQ youth, and violence prevention efforts in West Baltimore, among others. Our 1-day conference also offers 5 Category 1 CEUs for social workers! Need more convincing? On top of a delicious Italian lunch, we have incredible door prizes this year including (for the first time) tickets to the National Aquarium, tickets to see Madam Butterfly, two different ski packages at two different resorts, and several area restaurant gift cards! 


For more information - and to register - please follow this link: http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07eemdqtmk39.... It's really a great conference and we hope to see you there!

Changes in the Affordable Care Act special enrollment periods effective on June 19, 2017. The reference chart link is helpful.

From the Centeron Budget & Policy Priorities:

The Marketplace open enrollment period is the regular time each year when people can newly enroll in a qualified health plan or change to a different plan through the Marketplace. But certain events that occur during the year can trigger a special enrollment period (SEP), when a person may be able to newly enroll in a Marketplace plan or change to a different plan.

This SEP Reference Chart is a tool for those who are helping people enroll in health coverage through a special enrollment period. It focuses on the circumstances that trigger a SEP in the Marketplace, who can trigger a SEP, and the effective date of coverage once a health plan is selected.

http://www.healthreformbeyondthebasics.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/SEP-Reference-Chart.pdf

World Elder Abuse Awreness Day - Randallstown Community Center

Date: 
Thu, 06/15/2017 (All day)
AttachmentSize
WEAAD Flyer 2017.pdf640.42 KB

Medicaid Cuts in House ACA Repeal Bill Would Limit Availability of Home and Community Based Services

From the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:

 The House-passed bill to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which the Senate is now considering, would make home-and community-based services (HCBS) that states fund through Medicaid especially vulnerable to deep cuts. The House bill would radically restructure Medicaid’s federal financing and effectively end the ACA’s Medicaid expansion

 Facing steep cuts in their overall federal Medicaid funding, states would likely curtail HCBS  programs, which in 2013 allowed almost 3 million seniors and adults and children with disabilities to receive care at home instead of in a nursing home.

 The share of Medicaid expenditures for long-term services and supports that states allocate to HCBS has climbed from 18 percent in 1995 to 53 percent in 2014, with the number of people served with HCBS rising dramatically as well. States now spend more for HCBS than for nursing home care.

 The House bill —officially the American Health Care Act (AHCA) —would place a fixed cap on per-beneficiary federal Medicaid funding, cutting federal funding to the states by growing amounts over time. Capping and cutting federal funding would force many states to make excruciating decisions on whom they cover because unlike most services in Medicaid, which states must cover, most HCBS are optional  Medicaid benefits that states can cut when they face funding shortfalls.

The services that states provide in their HCBS programs vary, but they generally provide home health services plus help with chores, meals, transportation, and other services such as adult day care and respite care for family caregivers. Most states already limit HCBS due to funding constraints, and HCBS are a likely target if states must make substantial cuts due to federal funding shortfalls, because they spend more on optional HCBS than on any other optional benefit. The AHCA would therefore likely generate large increases in HCBS waiting lists.

 Read more on how the proposed fixed cap on per-beneficiary funding will result in reduced federal Medicaid payments to the states: http://www.cbpp.org/sites/default/files/atoms/files/5-18-17health.pdf

MVLS Celebrate Pro Bono Volunteer Recognition Event

Date: 
Wed, 10/04/2017 - 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Join Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service (MVLS) on Wednesday October 4th from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the American Visionary Arts Museum in Baltimore.  We will Celebrate Pro Bono by honoring volunteer lawyers, donors and friends at our annual recognition reception.  

Guests will enjoy a cocktail hour, seated dinner and awards ceremony honoring those who have made noteworthy contributions to the delivery of pro bono legal services over the past year.  The reception also kicks off Maryland’s participation in the American Bar Association’s National Celebrate Pro Bono Week (October 22-28).

There is a suggested $35 donation to attend Celebrate Pro Bono. and RSVP is required. Registration will open in June. please check back soon for further details!

Event Sponsorship

We invite sponsors to partner with us to recognize our amazing volunteers by underwriting the cost of this great event. Sponsorship’s start at $500 and sponsors are publicly acknowledged for their generosity. Click here for a full list of sponsorship levels and benefits.

Location
Location Name: 
American Visionary Arts Museum
City: 
Baltimore
Contact
Name: 
Kim Lennon
Phone: 
443-451-4065
Sponsor: 
Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service

Tax Controversy Training for Attorneys

Date: 
Wed, 06/21/2017 - 9:00am - 1:00pm

Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service invites interested attorneys to attend a free training session on handling IRS and Maryland tax controversy cases for low-income taxpayers on Wednesday, June 21,  2017, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at  MVLS’ office at 201 N. Charles St., Suite 1400, Baltimore, MD 21201.  This case will also available for viewing by webinar.

 

 

The course will be taught by experienced tax attorneys, Gerald Kelly and Cheri Wendt-Taczak; IRS Local Taxpayer Advocate, James Leith; and Assistant Director, Compliance Division, Comptroller of Maryland, Jay Maschas. While the training will cover handling tax cases generally, the focus of this session will be on the mechanics of advocating for the taxpayer who is battling with tax collection issues. 

There is no fee to attend but each participant will be asked to accept one tax controversy case over the next six months.  Please contact Janice Shih at 443-451-4061 or jshih@mvlslaw.org for more information.   

Continental breakfast will be served. 

 

 

Location
Location Name: 
Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service Office
Address1: 
201 N. Charles Street
Address2: 
#1400
City: 
Baltimore
State: 
MD
Zip: 
21201
Contact
Name: 
Janice Shih
Phone: 
443-451-4061

Affordable Care Act Still in Place Despite House Actions

From the Center on Budge tand Policy Priorities:

"It is important to emphasize that, at this time, the ACA is still law and its provisions are still in place. People’s coverage hasn’t changed, and open enrollment is on schedule for November."

On Thursday, the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA). The bill now moves to the Senate, where the bill will likely change and then to a conference committee or a vote on the Senate bill in the House.

This process will take time, and we have no way of knowing now what provisions, if any, will be enacted and signed into law. We do know that many people who gained coverage due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are confused and worried about what is going to happen to their coverage. It is important to emphasize that, at this time, the ACA is still law and its provisions are still in place. People’s coverage hasn’t changed, and open enrollment is on schedule for November. 

As passed by the House, the AHCA would dramatically reverse the gains in coverage that we’ve made since the passage of the ACA. For an in-depth look at the key provisions in the AHCA, please see a summary of the AHCA from our friends at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

We will continue to follow the progress of this bill, and will keep you informed of any updates as it proceeds through the Senate. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities website at www.cbpp.org includes numerous papers and resources on the AHCA and is updated on an almost daily basis with new material.

As noted, the ACA is still in place and it’s important to continue our work to help people get enrolled. To this end, we are planning an upcoming webinar that will review changes that were in the finalized Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) rule published last month. We will let you know as soon as we set the date for the webinar. 

The new HHS rule would make sweeping changes in special enrollment periods (SEPs) and the dates for the upcoming open enrollment period for 2018 coverage. States and State-Based Marketplaces that do not rely on Healthcare.gov have some additional flexibility related to several provisions of the rule, which we will explain in more detail during the webinar. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at beyondthebasics@cbpp.org

For additional resources and information on health reform, please see our Health Reform: Beyond the Basics website. For additional policy updates, please see our main organization website, www.cbpp.org

Trump Administration Gives Money to Florida Hospitals Instead of Encouraging Medicaid Expansion

The Trump Administration will increase the amount of money in the uncompensated care fund for hospitals rather than encourage Florida to to give health insurance to low income people through the Medcaid expansion. Instead of having a broad range of health care services covered by medical insurance (Medicaid) hospitals will have more of their uncompensated care covered when people show up in their emergency medical departments.

Read more at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/30/us/politics/medicaid-expansion-trump-obama-florida.html?_r=0

NHeLP's Protect Medicaid Webinar Series

Webinar - Fri, Mar 17, 2017 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EDT National Health Law Program's Protect Medicaid Webinar Series: "Proposals to drastically cut federal Medicaid spending are gaining ground in the Republican-led Congress. In this third in a series of webinars on Medicaid financing and services, NHeLP/LA Staff Attorney Abbi Coursolle describes how efforts to impose Medicaid per capita caps or block grants will endanger Medicaid expansion to low income adults." For more information and to register: http://www.healthlaw.org/issues/medicaid/defending-medicaid

US Poverty Guidelines as of January 31, 2017

The US Dept. of Health & Human Services has updated the poverty guidelines for 2017. The guidelines are used in determining financial eligibility for certain federal programs.  In Maryland the poverty guideleine for a household of one is $12,060, and for a household of four is $24,600. Here is the link for all household sizes and for all states

https://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty-guidelines

Maryland Tax Controversy Training & Discussion for Attorneys, Enrolled Agents and CPAs

Date: 
Wed, 02/22/2017 - 9:00am - 11:00am

Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service invites interested attorneys, enrolled agents, and CPAs to attend a free training and discussion session on handling Maryland tax controversy cases for low-income taxpayers.

The training will be taught by Assistant Director, Compliance Division, Comptroller of Maryland, Jay Maschas and experienced tax attorney, Cheri Wendt-Taczak, so these issues will be approached from both sides. The focus of this session will be on the mechanics of advocating for the taxpayer who is battling with tax collection issues.

There is no fee to attend but each participant is asked to register. Please contact Janice Shih at 443-451-4061 or jshih@mvlslaw.org to register. This training will be held on Wednesday, February 22, 2017 from 9am - 11am at the MVLS Conference Room, 201 N. Charles Street, #1400, Baltimore, MD 21201.

A continental breakfast will be served.

Location
Location Name: 
MVLS
Address1: 
201 N. Charles Street
Address2: 
#1400
City: 
Baltimore
State: 
MD
Zip: 
21201
Contact
Name: 
Janice Shih
Phone: 
443-451-4061

Public Benefits and Elder Law Joint Task Force Meeting

Date: 
Thu, 09/07/2017 - 10:00am - 1:00pm

Meetings will be held in the Baltimore City office of Maryland Legal Aid, unless otherwise changed. 

Find the GoToMeeting lInk at http://www.mdjustice.org/PublicBenefitsTaskForceGoToMeeting. If you cannot see this link, you are not a member of the Task Force, contact the moderators to become a member.

Location
Location Name: 
Maryland Legal Aid
Address1: 
500 East Lexington Street
City: 
Baltimore
State: 
MD
Zip: 
21201
Contact
Name: 
Michele Madaio, Sunny Desai and Caitlin Evans
Phone: 
(240) 575-6923 / sdesai@mdlab.org

Medicaid Financial Eligibility in 2017 Pursuant to the Pickle Amendment

From Justice in Aging:

Medicaid benefits can help increase the affordability of Medicare for some low-income people who qualify. In most states, one avenue for qualifying for Medicaid benefits is “Pickle” eligibility, which is available to certain individuals who once received both SSI and Social Security benefits but now only receive Social Security because their income exceeds SSI limits.

Older adults who are eligible through the Pickle Amendment can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year in Medicare Part B premiums and copayments. Younger adults with disabilities, particularly those who do not live in states that have expanded Medicaid, may also find Pickle eligibility to be a lifesaver.

Figuring out whether your client might qualify for Medicaid under Pickle rules can seem daunting, but thanks to a tool developed by the Tennessee Justice Center, it’s really not hard at all. The tool has just been updated for 2017 and makes it easy to do the math to determine whether your client will qualify.  

Be sure to start using this 2017 version as soon as the New Year starts.

Our thanks to Gordon Bonnyman at Tennessee Justice Center for sharing this valuable resource with advocates from other states.

Special Medicare Part B Enrollment Period

From Justice in Aging:


Do you have clients who failed to enroll in Medicare Part B when they became eligible for Medicare because they mistakenly believed that they could continue with Marketplace coverage with subsidies?


Many people newly eligible for Medicare thought it would be cheaper to remain in the Marketplace with subsidies, rather than pay Part B premiums, but did not realize that their Medicare Part A eligibility made them ineligible for premium subsidies, also called Advance Premium Tax Credits (APTC). When they realized their mistake, they were past their initial enrollment period and could only enroll in Part B during a General Enrollment Period, often incurring Part B late enrollment penalties.

For a limited time, these individuals can also apply for equitable relief that will give them a Special Enrollment Period to enroll in Part B. In addition, Part B late enrollment penalties will not apply.

CMS has mailed notices to individuals 65 and over in this situation, advising them to drop Marketplace coverage and enroll in Part B instead.

THE DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS IS MARCH 31, 2017.

SSA and CMS are not publicizing this equitable relief opportunity and it is not discussed in the notice, so advocates need to get the word out.

  • Individuals who received the notice, those who have concerns about not having Marketplace subsidies even if they did not receive a notice (or lost it), or those who received misinformation about qualifying for tax credits should contact the Social Security Administration to apply for equitable relief.
  • They should submit any information or documentation they have on how they learned that the subsidies would not apply and/or why they had thought they could continue subsidies. Any letters (including the notice referenced above), emails, notes from conversations, information about problems for an LEP individuals in understanding, or other information that might be relevant should be included. For this relief, it is not necessary that the source of confusion be directly from a federal employee.

Individuals should apply if they had any confusion and misunderstanding about the availability of tax credits or how their Medicare eligibility affected them.

  • Consumers with questions should be directed to the Medicare Rights Center helpline where counselors can assist with questions. The helpline number is 1-800-333-4114.

 



Connect with Us

 

Justice In Aging
1444 Eye St., NW Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20005

1330 Broadway, Suite 525
Oakland, CA 94612

3660 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 718
Los Angeles, CA 90010

Unsubscribe

Social Security Benefits to increase by .3 % in 2017

Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for nearly 65 million Americans will increase 0.3 percent beginning in January 2017.  The new maximum monthly SSI payment will be $735 for an individual and $1,103 for a couple. The Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) threshold for the non-blind disabled increases to $1,170/month. The Trial Work Period (TWP) threshold will be $840/month.

A worker will get a Quarter of Coverage for each $1,300 of earnings in a calendar year. One can only earn a maximun of four (4) quaters of coverage in a calendar year.

For more facts and figures about Social Security adjustments see https://www.ssa.gov/news/press/factsheets/colafacts2017.pdf

Syndicate content

Feedback

We welcome your comments and suggestions