Category: New & Events

All post for news and events.

Disability Rights CT Helps to Monitor Representative Payee for Misuse of Benefits/Financial Exploitation

Disability Rights Connecticut (DRCT) monitors the activities of Social Security Representative Payees appointed by the Social Security Administration to manage the funds of Social Security Beneficiaries.

Original Page: https://www.disrightsct.org/report-rep-payee

The Social Security Administration (SSA) reported that there are 6 million rep payees serving 8.3 million beneficiaries nationwide, responsible for $70 billion in SSA benefits, in 2018.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) pays benefits to certain eligible people, called beneficiaries. If a beneficiary cannot manage or direct the management of their SSA benefits, SSA appoints a representative payee (rep payee) to receive and manage the SSA benefits. A rep payee can be a person or an organization.

This complaint is not a substitute for a complaint to the Social Security Administration (SSA). Click on this website link: https://oig.ssa.gov/what-abuse-fraud-and-waste/misuse-benefits-representative-payee for more information on how to file a complaint with SSA.

Click here to find out more about our Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Representative Payees Program. https://www.disrightsct.org/program-and-services

Click here for the Social Security Monitoring Program Flyer.
https://www.disrightsct.org/s/Social-Security-Monitoring-Program-Flyer-85×11.pdf

What is a Representative Payee?
If the Social Security Administration decides that a beneficiary cannot manage his or her benefits, they appoint a Representative Payee. The main responsibilities of a Representative Payee are to use the beneficiary’s Social Security monies to pay for current and future needs and to save benefits not needed to meet current needs. A Representative Payee can be a family member, friend or other “interested individual.” An organization can also be a Representative Payee.

What Is DRCT Doing As Part Of Its Representative Payee Monitoring Program?
DRCT will be responsible for conducting monitoring reviews of individual and organizational Representative Payees. DRCT staff will interview representative payees and review the finances to ensure the representative payees are following Social Security requirements. Each review will also include interviewing the beneficiaries to confirm that the Representative Payee is meeting their needs. The findings of each review will be reported to the Social Security Administration.

Does A DRCT Review Mean There Is A Problem With Representative Payee? Not necessarily. The Social Security Administration (SSA) designed the program as a method of randomly checking on Representative Payees to ensure they are meeting the needs of the Beneficiary. DRCT staff, however, can make recommendations to SSA for monitoring reviews if they learn of a situation where a Representative Payee may not be needing Beneficiary needs.

What If I Know Of A Situation Where A Beneficiary’s Needs Are Not Being Met?
If you know of a situation where a Representative Payee may not be meeting the Beneficiary’s needs, you can contact DRCT to discuss it with one of the Social Security monitoring staff. They can be reached by calling (860) 297.4300 (local) or (800) 842.7303 (toll-free, in CT). Social Security Administration has to approve all reviews and therefore, DRCT cannot guarantee that it will review every situation.

Will DRCT Provide Any Other Services Under This Program?
In addition to the reviews, DRCT may be asked to recommend corrective action. Staff will also make referrals for outside services, assist the Representative Payee improve management of beneficiary funds, and provide education to Beneficiaries and representative payees. Reach out if you have questions about the Social Security Monitoring Program. Call (860) 297-4300 (voice), (800) 842-7303 (toll-free CT), (860) 509-4992 (videophone), email us at info@disrightsct.org, or visit www.disrightsct.org.

Online Form Click here for a print out of the Representative Payee Confidential Complaint of Misuse of Benefits/Financial Exploitation.
https://www.disrightsct.org/s/Rep-Payee-Complaint-Form-92419-3sxw.docx

AARP CT Webinar Wednesday Series – Please Join Them!

Join AARP weekly for their AARP CT Webinar Wednesday Series to participate in educational workshops and fun with purpose experiences.  The first of the series will be held at 1PM each Wednesday.  

Registration is free and open to people of all ages!

May 27, 2020 @ 1PM Caregiver Roadshow for CT Families:  Offers a journey through the experiences of family caregivers – the backbone of our health care system.  Learn tips and tools on supporting the caregiver, the care recipient and choices to live safely and independently at home. Learn specific tools for navigating and connecting with available services, gain an understanding of care options and costs, and stay informed on the legislative issues impacting seniors and family caregivers. https://aarp.cvent.com/May27Care

June 3, 2020 @ 1PM What I Need to Know about My Electric Choices: Offers a chance to learn about the electric supplier choices available in CT. Have your electric bill ready to view during the session in order to learn and understand its complicated components. Learn how to make informed decisions based on unique situations and where to go for the most reliable CT electric supplier information and data.  https://aarp.cvent.com/June3Electric 

June 10, 2020 @ 1PM Understanding CT’s New Paid Family & Medical Leave ProgramOffers an exploration of the new program, who qualifies and how to navigate and access it to care for yourself and those in your life when it launches.   https://aarp.cvent.com/June10PFML

June 17, 2020 @ 1PM AARP Fraud Watch NetworkThe Con Artist PlaybookOffers insights into the psychology behind ID theft, fraud & scams through actual testimony of scammers, insights and advice. Participants will walk away armed with the tools they need to keep themselves and their families safe. https://aarp.cvent.com/June17Fraud

Please visit www.aarp.org/ct  regularly for more sessions and a variety of offerings. To request a free AARP CT conversation in your community contact Erica Michalowski at emichalowski@aarp.org  (860) 548-3163.

AARP Connecticut Survey Finds Majority of Connecticut Adults Using Payment Apps Unaware of Danger Posed by Scammers

AARP Connecticut Survey Finds Majority of Connecticut Adults Using Payment Apps Unaware of Danger Posed by Scammers

Be Aware of P2P Risks When Paying for Groceries, Other Services During Pandemic (Link to Direct AARP Article)

According to a new AARP survey of adults 18 and older, about two in three (66%) Connecticut consumers rely on peer-to-peer (P2P) payment platforms to send money to someone else’s account – a relatively quick and easy way to transfer money. Nationally, seven in ten (71%) of survey respondents rely on P2P payment methods.

The poll also found that more than half of those surveyed in Connecticut (55%) and the U.S. (52%) believe they are able to reclaim money sent in error. While the platforms are convenient, the difficulty of recovering funds sent through them makes the technology, and those who use it, uniquely vulnerable to scammers. This may especially be the case as more people use delivery services for groceries and other necessities during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Scammers are following their playbook – using current events to find ways of stealing money or sensitive personal information,” said Erica Michalowski, AARP Connecticut community outreach director. “A growing number of consumers are turning to peer-to-peer payment platforms during the coronavirus pandemic, and while these methods are quick and easy, the survey shows a need for more education about the risks and how these platforms operate.”

A heightened fear and anxiety caused by the coronavirus is creating opportunities for criminals to exploit people, and AARP’s survey shows that many consumers may be at risk:

·         Nearly seven in ten Connecticut adults (67%), and 71% of the respondents in the U.S., report using P2P payment platforms.

·         More than half of those surveyed in Connecticut (55%) and the U.S. (52%) incorrectly answered a quiz question about being able to reclaim their money if they made an error while sending through a P2P payment platform.

·         Many consumers are using P2P payment platforms to send money to people they don’t know. When making a purchase through an online bidding site, 42% of survey respondents in Connecticut and 53% across the U.S. send the money to a seller with whom they have previously never done business. In addition, 50% of Connecticut and 61% of U.S. adults send the money to a seller rated highly for fulfilment and delivery.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, there were over 14,000 reports of scams and fraud in Connecticut and nearly $14 million lost to fraud last year.

Common P2P payment platforms include PayPal, Venmo, Zelle, Square, Google Pay and Apple Pay. The Peer to Peer Payment Practices and Associated Risks: A Connecticut Survey of Adults 18-plus details how often people are using these platforms, reasons for using them, and the risks associated with using them. The report also highlights the widespread misuse of P2P tools due to insufficient understanding of how the platforms work.

The survey was conducted by NORC, on behalf of AARP, from November 4-8, 2019. This report reflects results from a larger survey among 801 Connecticut adults ages 18 and older which highlights people’s experiences with peer-to-peer payment platforms. The survey has a sampling margin of error of ±4.6 percent. This survey was also conducted nationally and in three other states: Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Washington. To view the national and state reports and/or the full study methodology for these studies, please go to www.aarp.org/p2prisks.

The AARP Fraud Watch Network launched in 2013 as a free resource for people of all ages. Consumers may sign up for “Watchdog Alert” emails that deliver information about scams, or call a free helpline at 877-908-3360 to report scams or get help from trained volunteers in the event someone falls victim to scammers’ tactics. The Fraud Watch Network website provides information about fraud and scams, prevention tips from experts, an interactive scam-tracking map and access to AARP’s hit podcast series, The Perfect Scam.

Contact: Mike Humes at mhumes@aarp.org or 860-548-3164

About AARP

ARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation’s largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit http://www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.

Long Term Care Ombudsman Program Launches Facebook Page with Weekly Live Sessions

With the visitation limitations enacted by the Department of public health continuing to be in effect throughout Connecticut nursing homes, The Connecticut Long Term Care Ombudsman Program has started hosting regular Facebook live interactive discussions with our State Long Term Care Ombudsman Mairead Painter every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 5:30pm. The COVID-19 pandemic has continued to evolve, and information continues to come out each day to help protect our most vulnerable population. The LTCOP wants to ensure that residents and families are kept abreast and fully informed throughout this pandemic. So if you reside in or have a loved one in a skilled nursing facility in Connecticut, please join along in the discussion about the current state of affairs and guidance as it pertains to skilled nursing facilities and the corona virus outbreak.

Like and follow their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/CTLTCOP to ensure that you are notified each time new content is uploaded or they go live for the information sessions.  If you have specific questions or concerns related to your nursing home, you can contact the Long-Term Care Ombudsman’s office toll-free at: 1-866-388-1888.

Connecticut Long Term Care Ombudsman Program Launches New Website

The Long Term Care Ombudsman program works to improve the quality of life and quality of care of Connecticut citizens residing in nursing homes, residential care homes and assisted living communities.

The LTCOP responds to, and investigates complaints brought forward by residents, family members, and/or  other individuals acting on their behalf.  Ombudsmen offer information on consultation to consumers and providers, monitor state and federal laws and regulations, and make recommendations for improvement.  The program also recruits, trains, and  supervises Volunteer Resident Advocates who assist residents in resolving concerns.

The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program has historically been a great resource for residents and families of individuals who reside in long term care settings and The Elder Justice Coalition is happy to announce that The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP) has launched it’s new website. http://www.portal.ct.gov/ltcop. With a wealth of information already on the site, it should continue to be a great resource for individuals who have questions about their rights as residents of long term care settings.

NEW Factsheet: How Hospice Can Be a Force for Justice for Older People

Hospice Care Providers are in a unique position to provide vital, compassionate care to those experiencing terminal illness.  November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, and we’re raising awareness of How Hospices and Hospice Care Providers can be a coordinated, collective force for justice for older people. Whether we have a terminal illness or not, we all deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.  Please read and share this factsheet widely.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a 2019 report that identified deficiencies that can cause harm to Hospice Medicare beneficiary patients, many of whom are older people. These deficiencies can risk elder mistreatment, an injustice that erodes older people’s safety and dignity by subjecting them to physical, emotional or sexual abuse, neglect or financial exploitation. The report showed us that we can and must do better in providing fair and quality care for older people during their end-of-life chapter. We all have a role to play in ensuring the safety and well-being of every community; Hospice Care Providers are in a position to provide vital, compassionate care to those experiencing terminal illness. Understanding the areas of improvement that the OIG report presented can be our first step in preventing elder mistreatment and promoting justice.

Read the CAPE November ’19 Newsletter (see upcoming events in CT)

The Coalition for Abuse Prevention of the Elderly (CAPE) is a collaborative effort of citizens, agencies, and businesses in Fairfield County, who champion the safety and well-being of older adults. The group aims to prevent abuse and help victims through advocacy, awareness, and professional training and support. The group was started with an initial grant from the National Center for the Prevention of Elder Abuse in 2008, and jointly pursued by the Center for Elder Abuse Prevention, a program of The Jewish Senior Services, and The Southwestern Connecticut Agency on Aging. For assistance, please call:  The Center for Elder Abuse Prevention helpline 203-396-1097.

Read the CAPE November ’19 Newsletter here.  See upcoming events in Connecticut and helpful information.

 

CMS adds new alert for nursing homes accused of abuse, neglect

FROM POLITICO

CMS adds new alert for nursing homes accused of abuse, neglect. Starting Oct. 23, the online tool consumers use to compare nursing homes will include a “consumer alert icon” next to nursing homes cited for incidents of abuse, neglect or exploitation, POLITICO’s Rachel Roubein reports. The agency says it’s aiming to increase transparency, make it easier for consumers to find this information and give it to them faster than waiting for CMS’ quarterly updates. (The icon will be updated monthly).

But some advocates said they want more. Bob Blancato, the Elder Justice Coalition’s national coordinator, wrote in an email that the policy change “still leaves the glass more than half empty” and that “transparency would be better achieved if it included a process by which data submitted to get a rating was subject to periodic audit to ensure its accuracy.”

The nursing home lobby, American Health Care Association, said it supports transparency but thinks CMS should create a “standard and rational definition” of abuse and neglect. It also wants CMS to add customer satisfaction capabilities to the Nursing Home Compare tool, so consumers can see reviews.  10/08/19

 

FROM CMS

Oct 07, 2019

https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/trump-administration-empowers-nursing-home-patients-residents-families-and-caregivers-enhancing

Trump Administration Empowers Nursing Home Patients, Residents, Families, and Caregivers by Enhancing Transparency about Abuse and Neglect Administration delivers on “Transparency” pillar of a five-part approach to ensuring nursing home safety and quality, giving patients unprecedented information about nursing home quality

Today, the Trump Administration and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a major enhancement of the information available to nursing home residents, families, and caregivers on the Agency’s Nursing Home Compare website. Later this month, CMS will – for the first time – display a consumer alert icon next to nursing homes that have been cited for incidents of abuse, neglect, or exploitation. By making this information accessible and understandable, CMS is empowering consumers to make the right decisions for themselves and their loved ones. This critical move toward improved transparency is yet another way CMS is delivering on the Agency’s five-part approach to ensuring safety and quality in nursing homes, which Administrator Seema Verma announced in April 2019.

“The Trump Administration and CMS are committed to ensuring that nursing home residents are safe from abuse and neglect. Through the “transparency” pillar of our five-part strategy to ensure safety and quality in nursing homes, we are giving residents and families the ability to make informed choices,” said Administrator Seema Verma. “With today’s action, the Trump Administration is putting critical information at consumers’ fingertips, empowering them and incentivizing nursing homes to compete on cost and quality.”

The already robust Nursing Home Compare tool displays an array of information about nursing homes – including whether a facility meets federal standards with respect to health and safety compliance inspections, staffing levels, and quality measure performance. Previously, consumers could learn about past instances of abuse citations at a nursing home, but finding this information from its health inspection reports available on Nursing Home Compare required multiple steps. Through today’s action, CMS is minimizing the steps, making it easier than ever for patients, residents, and their families and caregivers to quickly identify nursing homes with past citations for abuse.

Patients and families will see CMS’ new alert icon for Nursing Home Compare, shown above.

Beginning October 23, 2019, the new alert icon will be added to the Nursing Home Compare website for facilities cited on inspection reports for one or both of the following: 1) abuse that led to harm of a resident within the past year; and 2) abuse that could have potentially led to harm of a resident in each of the last two years. To ensure CMS is providing the latest information, the icon will be updated monthly, at the same time CMS inspection results are updated. This means consumers will not be forced to wait for CMS’s quarterly updates to see the latest -related information – and nursing homes will not be flagged for longer than necessary if their most recent inspections indicate they have remedied the issues that caused the citations for abuse or potential for abuse and no longer meet the criteria for the icon. This icon will supplement existing information, including the Nursing Home Five-Star Ratings, helping consumers develop a more complete understanding of a facility’s quality.

There are many factors that indicate a nursing home’s quality, and the Star Ratings may not capture some nuances. For example, a nursing home cited for an incident of abuse may have adequate staffing numbers and provide excellent dementia or rehabilitative care. Previously, consumers would clearly see this facility’s performance in these areas through the Star Ratings, but abuse complaint allegation information may not have been as clear. Under the CMS action announced today, this facility would have an alert icon displayed, allowing consumers to see both its Star Ratings and the icon, helping them easily weigh the facility’s quality. In addition, we are continuing our work to improve the usefulness of the Star Ratings.

Today’s announcement is part of CMS’ larger push initiative to keep nursing home residents safe – Administrator Verma’s five-part approach to ensuring safety and quality in America’s nursing homes. The approach includes the following pillars: Strengthening Oversight, Enhancing Enforcement, Increasing Transparency, Improving Quality, and Putting Patients over Paperwork. This framework is informing all CMS work related to nursing home safety.

Read the October ’19 CAPE Newsletter Here

Read the CAPE Newsletter here.

CAPE:  The Coalition for Abuse Prevention of the Elderly (CAPE) is a collaborative effort of citizens, agencies, and businesses in Fairfield County, who champion the safety and well-being of older adults. The group aims to prevent abuse and help victims through advocacy, awareness, and professional training and support. The group was started with an initial grant from the National Center for the Prevention of Elder Abuse in 2008, and jointly pursued by the Center for Elder Abuse Prevention, a program of The Jewish Senior Services, and The Southwestern Connecticut Agency on Aging.

For assistance, please call: The Center for Elder Abuse Prevention helpline 203-396-1097.

NCLER Training for the Month of October

The National Center on Law and Elder Rights (NCLER) is presenting two free webcasts in the month of October:

On October 8th, a webcast on “Issues at the Intersection of Social Security and Medicare,” presented by Georgia Burke and Trinh Phan of Justice in Aging. You can find more information and register here.

On October 16th, a webcast on “Eviction Defense 2.0: Challenging Issues Facing Older Tenants At Risk of Eviction,” presented Kara Brodfuehrer, Staff Attorney at the National Housing Law Project. You can find more information and register here.

Please feel free to share this announcement with anyone that may be interested. All trainings are free! To stay updated on upcoming trainings, please join email list here.