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The Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Program (HICAP)

By Jenna MacRae

The US Census estimates that 6.4 million seniors live in poverty throughout the United States. It can be difficult to make ends meet. The Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Program (HICAP) is a program of Elder Law & Advocacy that provides free, unbiased Medicare counseling to beneficiaries and their representatives. HICAP is increasing its efforts to assist low-income beneficiaries who struggle to afford their Medicare Part D costs and Medicare premiums.

Social Security’s Extra Help low-income subsidy (LIS) helps to reduce the Part D prescription drug plan costs by reducing the monthly premium, lowering co-payments and eliminating the “donut hole.” CMS estimates that 2 million people qualify for Social Security’s Extra Help Program and are not yet enrolled. Medicare Savings Programs help pay for the monthly Medicare Part A or Part B premiums and automatically qualify an individual for LIS.

Our goal is to inform Medicare beneficiaries of these programs and assist those who may qualify to apply.  HICAP is scheduling individual appointments for beneficiaries. To schedule an individual appointment, call 800-434-0222 or 858-565-8772 (San Diego County), or 760-353-0223 (Imperial County).

 

Upcoming Event

East County Premier Senior Health and Wellness Fair

HICAP will be participating in East County’s Premier Senior Health and Wellness Fair on 03/15/17.

We will be posting more information soon.

 

Fellowship Application Announcement

ELDER LAW & ADVOCACY

SUMMER 2017 FELLOWSHIP APPLICATION ANNOUNCEMENT

AND APPLICATION PROCEDURES

Elder Law & Advocacy’s Summer 2017 Fellowship is a paid summer position, designed to assist low-income, monolingual or bilingual Spanish speaking clients in a court-based clinic setting located in El Centro, California.  The ideal candidate will be bilingual with a passion for using their legal skills and education to better the lives of others.

The selected Fellowship candidate will assist clinic participants with both landlord/tenant matters and elder abuse restraining orders under the direct supervision of the clinic’s lead attorney.  Applicants must be either a 2L/3L or recent law school graduate.

____________________________________________________________________________________

Please submit the following documents electronically in a single PDF file in the order indicated below to creilly@seniorlaw-sd.org by the close of business on January 31, 2017.  Please title the email “(Your Name) –Fellowship Application”.

1.Signed fellowship application

2.Letters of recommendation (2 total) from a

  • Former employer;  and
  • Law school professor

3.Writing sample

For the application please follow the link below:

Elder Law Summer Fellowship Application 2017

This fellowship is supported by the California Bar Foundation and San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association Scholarship Fund.

Fellowship Application Announcement

ELDER LAW & ADVOCACY

SUMMER 2017 FELLOWSHIP APPLICATION ANNOUNCEMENT

AND APPLICATION PROCEDURES

Elder Law & Advocacy’s Summer 2017 Fellowship is a paid summer position, designed to assist low-income, monolingual or bilingual Spanish speaking clients in a court-based clinic setting located in El Centro, California.  The ideal candidate will be bilingual with a passion for using their legal skills and education to better the lives of others.

The selected Fellowship candidate will assist clinic participants with both landlord/tenant matters and elder abuse restraining orders under the direct supervision of the clinic’s lead attorney.  Applicants must be either a 2L/3L or recent law school graduate.

____________________________________________________________________________________

Please submit the following documents electronically in a single PDF file in the order indicated below to creilly@seniorlaw-sd.org by the close of business on January 31, 2017.  Please title the email “(Your Name) –Fellowship Application”.

1.Signed fellowship application

2.Letters of recommendation (2 total) from a

  • Former employer;  and
  • Law school professor

3.Writing sample

For the application please follow the link below:

Elder Law Summer Fellowship Application 2017

This fellowship is supported by the California Bar Foundation and San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association Scholarship Fund.

Scam Alert

This informative article on scams was written by attorney Seena Gressin of the Division of Consumer & Business Education.

IRS Warns of a New Tax Bill Scam

We certainly understand if the latest IRS imposter scam makes you queasy: it involves a fake IRS tax notice that claims you owe money as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

The IRS says the fake notices are designed to look like real IRS CP2000 notices, which the agency sends if information it receives about your income doesn’t match the information reported on your tax return. The IRS says many people have gotten the bogus notices, which usually claim you owe money for the previous tax year under the Affordable Care Act.

For the rest of the article please click the link below.

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/irs-warns-new-tax-bill-scam

EL&A In Action

Elder Law & Advocacy Assistance Helps 89-Year-Old Client to Preserve Her Social Security Income

Our 89 year old client with disabilities was charged with an overpayment by the Social Security Administration. Since she had less than $2,000, she and her daughter were perplexed as to why they were accused of being over the resource limit and why her Supplemental Social Security was going to be cut off.

Client’s daughter faxed all of the relevant documents to the EL&A staff attorney. The issue was a burial insurance policy.  After the policy was reviewed, it was clear that the issue had been the “cash value” of the policy, which would count towards the Social Security resource limit. Client was advised by the EL&A staff attorney to apply for a Request for a Waiver.  Client, with the help of her daughter, took their Request for Waiver to the SSA office. The documents were reviewed while they were in the office, and the original decision was reversed. The client was allowed to resume her SSI payments and she was assured that as long as she did not borrow against the policy, no adverse action would be taken. Client and her daughter thanked EL&A profusely for having helped avoid destitution for this 89 year old woman

Executive Director’s Message

By Carolyn ReillyCRPHOTO

The election is right around the corner and election fraud has become a concern for some of our older citizens.  While there are legitimate voter registration drives, there are some who may be committing elections code violations using the California Vote-By-Mail Application.  Here is what to look out for:

THE PROBLEM:  An absentee ballot allows you to vote by mail.

You receive a pleasant visit at your apartment complex or home from someone who offers to fill in a Vote-By-Mail application for you.  This nice person offers some money or a little gift in return.  You agree, thinking there is no harm in it, and give them your information.

WHAT TO DO:  Be cautious!

Make sure all of the form is filled in correctly, otherwise the person offering to register you may:

Convince you to register even though you know you are not eligible. This is a form of fraud and is against the law!  Registering to vote or registering another person, knowing you or that person is not entitled to register is a crime.  CA Elections Code Section 18100; Penal Code Section 1170(h)

Choose a new political party preference for you. This is a form of fraud and is against the law!   When someone changes your political party without your permission, they have committed a crime.  CA Elections Code Section 18100; Penal Code Section 1170(h)

 

IF YOU HAVE ALREADY RECEIVED YOUR ABSENTEE BALLOT:

 

The ballot contains the names of candidates and proposed initiatives and is for you to consider and then make your choices.

 

Never let anyone you do not know and trust fill in your ballot for you!

If you have questions or concerns, contact your county elections office:

San Diego County (858) 565-5800

Imperial County (442) 265-1060

Age Prejudice in America

“Age discrimination in employment is illegal, but two-thirds of older job seekers report encountering it.”

Please click on the link/photo below for the full New York Times article.

Executive Director’s Message

By Carolyn ReillyCRPHOTO

Many of us want to help the environment.  Others are looking for ways to save money on their energy bills.  Some hope to do both.

Door-to door sales and mailers are advertising solar products, energy efficient windows and other energy upgrades, with rebates and various financing options.  These products and deals may sound good but many have problems which can end up costing far more than originally quoted.

Older consumers have contacted us with reports of home improvement contractors using telemarketing and door-to-door sales to misleadingly negotiate the terms of agreements and loans.  Some of these contractors enter consumers into agreements or loans using a cell phone or tablet to obtain an electronic signature, providing no paper documents and giving the consumer no time to review the terms. Some of the financing agreements are through a government program which sets up payment through the homeowner’s tax bill.  These consumers are not aware that the financing becomes a lien against their home and can affect their current mortgage, ability to re-finance and the future sale of the home.

Before entering into any energy upgrade agreement or loan, ask questions and make sure you understand all of the terms.  Make sure you have documents you can review and take the time to review and understand them.  If you cannot get the documents you need or are being pressured into signing before you are ready, walk away.  Call Elder Law & Advocacy at 858-565-1392 for free legal advice from one of our legal services attorneys who can help you understand the legal aspects of that energy upgrade contract.