Friday, April 29, 2011

New rules for SS, SSI kick in May 1

BOSTON, MA − Beginning May 1, 2011, elders, veterans, and the disabled can rest a bit easier as a new federal rule kicks in that will limit creditors’ ability to seize funds from Social Security, Social Supplemental Income (SSI), VA, and other federal benefits held in bank accounts in favor of direct deposit or prepaid cards. New rules making the Direct Express® prepaid card the default method of issuing federal payments and limiting the use of other prepaid cards and paper checks will also be in effect May 1.

If a bank receives a garnishment order, the bank will be required to determine whether an account contains electronically deposited federal benefit payments, and if so, the bank will be obligated to protect two months of those payments from seizure to satisfy garnishment orders. To protect funds deposited before the two-month time period, or deposited by check the recipient will have to follow the state procedure for claiming exemptions.

“This regulation will provide a much-needed protection for exempt federal benefits. We are enormously grateful to the U.S. Treasury Department for its leadership in resolving the difficult issue of how to protect federal benefits in bank accounts from illegal seizure,” said Margot Saunders of the National Consumer Law Center. “We also appreciate the Treasury Department’s efforts in the new prepaid card regulation to protect recipients from overdraft and pay-day type loans attached to these new payment devices.”

The U.S. Treasury recently took a hard-line approach regarding elimination of paper checks. Effective May 1 of this year, new applicants filing for all federal payments including Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), veterans benefits and wages will receive their payments electronically, unless they qualify for one of a very few exemptions. If recipients do not provide information to the federal payment agency regarding a bank account or prepaid card into which they want their payments electronically deposited, they will be provided the federal government-issued Direct Express® card. The Direct Express card is likely to be the best option for recipients who are unbanked, but pursuant to a new rule, they may also choose privately branded prepaid cards to receive their benefits. Additionally, most current recipients will be required to receive their federal benefits electronically as of May 1, 2013.

The Direct Express® prepaid debit card, issued through the U.S. Treasury, is the best prepaid card available. Direct Express® cards have considerable protections for recipients, including limits on fees, legal protection against unauthorized charges, and requirements for free access to funds. They are likely to be substantially less expensive than other prepaid cards.

Nevertheless, if a federal payment recipient wishes to have funds deposited to a prepaid card other than the Direct Express® card, only certain cards are eligible. The most important conditions are that (1) prepaid cards cannot receive federal payments if they are attached to a line of credit or loan agreement that is automatically repaid upon deposit of the federal payment, and (2) the card must comply with consumer protections required through the Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA). Importantly, the EFTA limits overdraft fees for ATM and one-time debit transactions unless the person opts in for such coverage (opting in for overdraft protection may not be beneficial for the recipient). The EFTA protections against unauthorized charges, billing errors, and disclosure of fees will also be in effect for these cards.

Current benefits recipients have until March 1, 2013 to choose an electronic payment option. After that date, no payments will be issued via check, unless the person qualifies and is approved for an exemption.

To continue receiving paper checks, recipients must be approved by the US Treasury for one of the following exemptions:

• Aged 90 years or older, as of May 1, 2011 (no wavier required)
• Mentally impaired
• Live in a remote geographic area lacking the capability to support an electronic financial transaction

Effective March 1, 2013, both new applicants and current recipients who do not choose another option (and have not been granted a wavier) will automatically receive their payments on the federal government’s Direct Express card.

Source:  National Consumer Law Center

April 29, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

AALS Aging and the Law Listserv 4/27/2011

Special Program this Sunday, May 1, 2011 – Larry King Unthinkable: The Alzheimer’s Epidemic, 8 pm ET/PT on CNN.


1.       When Dementia Drains the Pocketbook:


2.       Programs Aim to Keep Elderly From Being Isolated After Their Driving Days End:


3.       China Curbs Fancy Tombs that Irk Poor:


4.       Improving the Situation of Older Roma in the EU – Executive Summary of Interviews with Older Roma in Summer 2010:


5.       Seth Rogan –  Alzheimer’s is Brutal:


6.       Lawsuits Don’t Lead to Better Nursing Home Care:


7.       Caregivers Make Medical, Professional Sacrifices, Study Finds:


8.       Your 2010-11 Guide to Key U.S. Supreme Court Cases [That Could Have Far-Reaching Consequences for Americans 50 and Older]:


9.       U.S. Representative Paul Ryan’s Budget Plan Puts 2012 Elderly Vote in Play:


10.   Study – Being “Housebound” Linked to Alzheimer’s in Elderly:

April 27, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

DOJ settles LSAC (LSAT) cases

The Justice Department announced today its participation in two related settlement agreements involving the accessibility of the Law School Admission Council’s (LSAC) online application service, which is used by law schools nationwide for their application processes.  As a result of these agreements, LSAC’s online application service, and the online application process of the nation's law schools, will be accessible to individuals who are blind.   

The settlement agreements have been posted, and are now available. View the LSAC agreement.  View the Atlanta's John Marshall Law School agreement.

April 26, 2011 in Discrimination | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Visiting elder law clinic professor needed at Syracuse

VISITING ASSISTANT PROFESSOR POSITION                                   



Syracuse University College of Law, Office of Clinical Legal Education, seeks to hire a Visiting Assistant Professor to direct and teach its Elder Law Clinic during the 2011 -2012 academic year while the current faculty member is on sabbatical.

SU’s Elder Law Clinic is a general practice clinic.  Areas of law include advance directives, Medicaid, Medicare, elder abuse and financial exploitation, private insurance, housing, real property, social security, and other miscellaneous areas.  The successful candidate will supervise 8-10 students per semester, teach the weekly Elder Law Clinic seminar, and facilitate weekly Case Rounds discussions.  The Elder Law Clinic is a one semester clinic and part of the Office of Clinical Legal Education, which includes 7 in-house clinics and a large externship program.

Applicants should have clinical teaching or other supervision experience, expertise in the appropriate areas of law, and be admitted to practice in New York or eligible to be admitted pro hace vice pursuant to Rule 520.11 of the New York Rules of the Court of Appeals for Admission of Attorneys and Counselors at Law.

To apply, submit a cover letter, resume, and names of three references to Sue Davie, Clinic Administrator, at, as soon as possible and by no later than May 3, 2011.  Applications will be reviewed as they are received.  For further information, contact Mary Helen McNeal, Professor and Clinic Director, at

Syracuse University is an equal-opportunity, affirmative-action institution. The University prohibits discrimination and harassment based on race, color, creed, religion, sex, gender, national origin, citizenship, ethnicity, marital status, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, veteran status, or any other status protected by applicable law to the extent prohibited by law. This nondiscrimination policy covers admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in University programs, services, and activities.


April 25, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

AALS Aging and the Law Listserv April 21, 2011

Science Friday – NPR tomorrow (Friday, April 22, 2011) – Researchers Rewrite the Guidelines for Diagnosing Alzheimer’s:


Upcoming Event: Aging in America – 2011 Annual Conference of the American Society on Aging. San Francisco, CA; April 26-30. More information available at:


This Week's Material:


1.       Japan – An Aging Society not Prepared for Retirement:


2.       Elder Rights – California Home Care Cuts Target Ethnic, Immigrant Elders:


3.       Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, March 2011 Issue:


4.       New Department of Defense Program to Fund Alzheimer’s Research:


5.       Is America Failing Our Nation’s Seniors?


6.       Lost In the E.R. – Her Dignity:


7.       Poll Shows Americans Oppose Entitlement Cuts to Deal With Debt Problem:


8.       Engineering the End – How Planning for Loss Helped a Family Through it:


9.       Childhood Music Lessons Keep Aging Brain in Tune:


10.   Enrollment Begins in National Health and Aging Trends Study – Researchers to Study Aging Population to Improve Quality of Life Among Elderly:


April 21, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Latest issue of NAELA Journal now available online to NAELA members

Health Care Reform – The Affordable Care Act of 2010

Your issue of NAELA Journal is now online. You don’t have to wait to receive your copy in the mail to start reading now.

This issue is devoted to coverage of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) and how health care reform will affect Elder and Special Needs Law attorneys and their clients. The ACA is controversial, but many of its reforms are already having an impact. NAELA Journal Editor-in-Chief Bill Brisk has this to say about the issue:

This issue of NAELA Journal represents one of the most ambitious projects we have undertaken. Even if these reforms are revised or whittled down in appropriations and, indeed, even if their mandatory insurance provisions are declared unconstitutional, Elder and Special Needs Law Attorneys need to understand how the laws will change how medical care in the United States will be financed in the future.

Articles in this issue include:

Like to Submit an Article for Publication in NAELA Journal?
You’ll find guidelines for article submission on the NAELA website, or contact Nancy Sween, Director of Communications and Publications,, 703-942-5711, ext. 225.

The NAELA Journal is also accessible via Lexis and Westlaw.

April 21, 2011 in Health Care/Long Term Care | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Aging and the Law Listserv 4/15/2011

1.       Aging Faster With AIDS in Africa:


2.       Poll Reveals Baby Boomers’ Retirement Fears:


3.       Malawi – Elderly Women Suspected of Witchcraft Jailed:


4.       Why it’s Harder to Multitask as You Get Older:


5.       Study – Popular Alzheimer’s’ Drug Ineffective for Mild Cases:


6.       Downsizing Boomers Looking to Sell Their Stuff:


7.       Who Rules America? Retired People:


8.       Brain Shrinkage May Predict Alzheimer’s:


9.       Health Care on a Budget – The Financial Burden of Health Spending by Medicare Households:


10.   Projecting Income and Assets – What Might the Future Hold for the Next Generation of Medicare Beneficiaries?


11.   AgeWell Study on Human Rights of Older Persons in India:


April 19, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 18, 2011

AoA to host webinar on ACA--Community-based Care Transitions, April 20

On Wednesday, April 20, the Administration on Aging (AoA) will continue its training series focused on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (also known as the Affordable Care Act, or ACA) and its impact on the aging network.  Please join us for this call which will present a detailed look at the Community-based Care Transition Program. This call will be co-sponsored by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation.

 Title:   Partnership for Patients: The Community-based Care Transitions Program

 Date:   Wednesday, April 20, 3:00-4:30 pm Eastern

 Call-in:       1- 888-831-8966

(Space is limited, so please dial in as early as possible – up to 20 minutes before the call begins.)

 Participant Passcode:     AOA  

 Description: Preventing avoidable hospital readmissions is a major goal of both the ACA and the Partnership for Patients, a new national public-private partnership recently launched by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  The Community-based Care Transition Program (CCTP), funded under Section 3026 of the ACA, offers a unique funding opportunity aimed at improving care transitions for people with Medicare and their families while reducing these costly readmissions.  This call will offer an overview of the CCTP solicitation, and the opportunities for the aging network that lie within.

 Speakers:     James Hester, Senior Advisor, Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

 Joe McCannon, Senior Advisor to the Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

 Juliana Tiongson, Social Science Research Analyst, Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

 Moderator:   Marisa Scala-Foley, Office of Policy, Analysis and Development, Administration on Aging

 Please note:

Slides will be posted on the AoA web site ( by 10 am on Wednesday, April 20, so that you may access them in advance and view them during the call.  We will also post the recording and transcript of this call on our site soon after it concludes.

 While there will be opportunity to ask questions on the call, we invite you to submit your questions in advance to  We will synthesize these questions and try to answer them during the call as much as possible.

April 18, 2011 in Health Care/Long Term Care | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Two symposium issues take on elder law

Teaching Elder Law

Stetson Law Law Review, Volume 40, Number 1, Fal 2010

    Rebecca C. Morgan
Elder Law as Proactive Planning and Informed Empowerment during Extended Life
    Richard L. Kaplan
Everything You Ever Needed to Know about Good Lawyering, You Can Learn from Elder Law
    Linda S. Whitton
The Accidental Elder Law Professor
    Kim Dayton
Ethics and Elder Law: Teaching Students to Ask the Right Questions
    Roberta K. Flowers
The Human Touch: Clinical Teaching of Elder Law
    Kate Mewhinney
The Lesson of the Irish Family Pub: The Elder Law Clinic Path to a More Thoughtful Practice
    Katherine C. Pearson
Teaching Elder Law at the University of Hawaii—Integrating Health Law and Cultural Issues
    James H. Pietsch
My Approach to Teaching Elder Law
    Craig C. Reaves
A Values Approach to Teaching Elder Law
    Charles P. Sabatino

The Future of Elder Law

William Mitchell Law Review, Vol. 37, Issue 1, Fall 2010

Rebecca C. Morgan
The Future of Elder Law Practice©

Nina A. Kohn
The Lawyer’s Role in Fostering an Elder Rights Movement

Dr. Israel (Issi) Doron
Municipal Elder Law: An Exercise in Legal Futurism

Marshall B. Kapp
Older Clients with Questionable Legal Competence: Elder Law Practitioners and Treating Physicians

Kathryn Tucker
Elder Law: Counseling Clients Who Are Terminally Ill

Alfred J. Chiplin, Jr., Christine Fung, and Gilly Knox
Medicare Coverage of Power Mobility Devices: Tips and Reminders

Kristina Ebbott
A “Good Death” Defined by Law: Comparing the Legality of Aid-in-Dying Around the World

Robert A. Mead
Unpublished Opinions and Citation Prohibitions: Judicial Muddling of California’s Developing Law of Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse Committed by Health Care Providers                   




April 10, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, April 7, 2011


A grandfather from London and his three-man crew have successfully crossed the Atlantic on a raft made of pipes after 66 days at sea.  Anthony Smith, 85, wanted to complete the 2,800-mile (4,596km) voyage to highlight the fact a billion people worldwide live without clean water.  The former BBC Tomorrow's World presenter hopes to have raised £50,000 for the charity WaterAid.  They set sail from the Canary Islands and reached the Caribbean on Wednesday.  Mr Smith recruited the team of "mature and intrepid gentlemen" - aged between 56 and 61 - by placing an advert in the Daily Telegraph.  It read: "Fancy rafting across the Atlantic? Famous traveller requires 3 crew.  "Must be OAP. Serious adventurers only."

Anthony Smith, David Hildred, Andrew Bainbridge, John Russell Anthony Smith, David Hildred, Andrew Bainbridge, John Russell on board An-Tiki

The 85-year-old was a science correspondent and presenter on the BBC programme, which was axed in 2003 after 40 years.

Read more at the BBC.

April 7, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

April 30 is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

Help older adults in your area empty their medicine cabinets of unwanted or expired medications at the second National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. Older adults constitute just 13% of the US population, but they consume 35% of all prescription drugs in the US. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and its National and community partners are giving the public a chance to prevent accidental overdose, abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.

On Saturday, April 30, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. local time, DEA and its partners will hold their second National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day at sites nationwide. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

To locate a nearby collection site, visit and click the “Got Drugs?” icon. This icon will link you to a database where you can enter your zip code for a full listing of collection sites in your area.

April 7, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

HHS Recommends Actions to Improve the Health and Well-Being of LGBT Communities

Recently the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced additional steps HHS will take to improve the lives of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) individuals.

President Obama directed HHS Secretary Sebelius to provide recommendations as part of his April 2010 memorandum regarding hospital visitation and medical decision-making. Among the recommendations announced were: a commitment to collecting LGBT health data through federally-funded surveys, guidance to states regarding access to federal welfare programs for LGBT families, guidance to states regarding protection of a same-sex partner's assets when his or her partner uses Medicaid for long-term care, and expanded outreach regarding the range of HHS funding opportunities for organizations that serve the LGBT community.

For a summary of HHS activities in support of LGBT people to date as well as actions to be taken moving forward go here.

April 7, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

May is Older Americans Month

The Administration on Aging has available online materials to assist its partners at the national, state, and local levels plan for activities in commemoration of Older Americans Month. This year’s theme is "Older Americans: Connecting the Community".

To view and download the Older Americans Month 2011 logo and poster in both English and Spanish as well as other materials, please visit the AoA's Older Americans Month web page.

April 7, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

NAELA Student Journal Is Now Available Online

The NAELA Student Journal, featuring the best papers submitted last year as part of the NAELA student writing competition, is now available on-line.  Click here to start reading the top eight papers submitted to the 2010 Student Writing Competition. Here’s what you’ll find:

Behind Closed Doors: The Use of Pre-Dispute Arbitration Agreements in Nursing Home Admission Contracts (Clarissa Brya)

Are We Setting the Standard High Enough? Reassessing the “Charitable” Benefit Requirement Nursing Homes Must Fulfill to Maintain Their Nonprofit Status ( Kristin Roshelli, J)

Geriatric Corrections: Aging Behind Bars (Laura K. Key)

Medicare Advantage … or Disadvantage?  (Emily E. Tow)

New Methods of Promoting Quality of Care in Nursing Homes (Elisa Mar)

Bracing for the Boom: Ohio’s Need for a Reformed Medicaid Estate Recovery Program (Brittany O’Diam)

Current Standing of Medicaid Annuities (Emily Fishe)

Extreme Makeover: Medicare Needs More Than A Facelift (Peggy Bodi)

You can access past volumes on NAELA Student Journal through the NAELA web site, Log on to the site and look under Library > Publications. NAELA Members will have access to past issues of NAELA News and NAELA Journal here as well. The NAELA Student Writing Competition is meant to encourage law students to focus on the issues of Elder and Special Needs Law as a legal specialty. Submissions can address any topic regarding legal issues affecting seniors or people with disabilities. For more information, go to and look under Professionals>Law Students>Student Writing Competition. For tips on using online publications, click here.

April 6, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

NAMI report documents effect of Medicaid cuts on mental health services

Excerpt:  One in 17 people in America lives with a serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, major depression, or bipolar disorder. About one in 10 children live with a serious mental disorder. In recent years, the worst recession in the U.S. since the Great Depression has dramatically impacted an already inadequate public mental health system. From 2009 to 2011, massive cuts to non-Medicaid state mental health spending totaled nearly $1.6 billion dollars. And, deeper cuts are projected in 2011 and 2012. States have cuts vital services for tens of thousands of youth and adults living with the most serious mental illness. These services include community and hospital based psychiatric care, housing and access to medications.

To make matters worse, Medicaid funding of mental health services is also potentially on the chopping block in 2011. The temporary increase in federal funding of Medicaid through the stimulus package will end on June 30, 2011. Medicaid is the most important source of funding of public mental health services for youth and adults, leaving people with mental illness facing the real threat of being cut off from life-saving services. Communities pay a high price for cuts of this magnitude. Rather than saving states and communities money, these cuts to services simply shift financial responsibility to emergency rooms, community hospitals, law enforcement agencies, correctional facilities and homeless shelters.

Massive cuts to mental health services also potentially impact public safety. As a whole, people living with serious mental illness are no more violent than the rest of the population. In fact, it is well documented that these individuals are far more frequently the victims of violence than the perpetrators of violent acts.

For more info: visit NAMI's website

April 5, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

GOP budget plan guts fundamentals of Medicaid, Medicare

VIA John Nicholson, BNA


Posted April 5, 2011, 10:34 A.M. ET

The House Republican budget resolution for fiscal 2012 would decrease federal deficits by $1.649 trillion over the 2012-2021 period by cutting spending by almost $6 trillion, according to a summary of the proposal released April 5.

 The plan would set the stage for major changes in the two biggest federal health care programs, Medicaid and Medicare, and put in place "enforceable spending caps" to restrain outlays. It would also make permanent the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts and repeal the 2010 health care overhaul.

In the area of changing Medicare, the House budget document said current program beneficiaries would not be affected. When younger workers become eligible for Medicare, they would be able "to choose from a list of guaranteed coverage options, enjoying the same kind of choices in their plans that members of Congress enjoy today. Medicare would then provide a payment to subsidize the cost of the plan. In addition, Medicare will provide increased assistance for lower-income beneficiaries and those with greater health risks."

And for Medicaid, the summary said the Republican budget proposal would end "an onerous, one-size-fits-all approach by converting the federal share of Medicaid spending into a block grant that gives states the flexibility to tailor their Medicaid programs to the specific needs of their residents."

According to the summary, the resolution would cut spending by $5.812 trillion compared to projections under current law by the Congressional Budget Office. In comparison, the CBO said March 18 President Obama's budget would raise outlays by about $412 billion over the same period, mostly to pay for interest costs on debt.

But the deficit-reduction impact of the spending cuts would be offset by revenue cuts almost as large. The summary showed revenues would fall by $4.162 trillion over the 2012-2021 period, much more than$2.331 trillion revenue loss seen in the Obama budget. Much of that revenue loss is in both cases is tied to the costs of extending the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts.

Even with additional tax cuts, the GOP budget would decrease the deficit, in contrast with the Obama plan. The CBO said the Obama plan would add $2.733 trillion to the deficit over the 10-year period.

 Text of the budget summary will be available at


April 5, 2011 in Health Care/Long Term Care, Medicaid, Medicare | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

We're baaaaaackkkk

Prof. Ann Murphy, Gonzaga, will be joining the blog as a co-editor.  The blog will be back in its full glory within the next week or so.  Thanks for your patience as we took our little hiatus.




April 5, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)