Justice in Aging: News from DC

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Here’s what we’re watching in Washington:

Advocates Unite Around Expanding Medicaid HCBS As part of the American Jobs Plan, President Biden committed to investing $400 billion in Medicaid home- and community-based services (HCBS). Aging, disability, and labor organizations are united around ensuring this commitment becomes law. We are inviting advocates and other stakeholder organizations to join us by signing onto a letter to Congress and the White House about how critical this $400 billion investment is to meeting the demands on our care infrastructure. The letter outlines our shared recommendations to advance a more equitable, high quality HCBS system by ensuring that the funding both expands access to services nationwide and supports the workforce. Read the letter and sign your organization on using this form by May 17, 2021. Learn more about the need to improve HCBS for older adults in our Primer.

Third Round of Economic Impact Payments Delivered to SSI Recipients in April Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients who do not typically file a tax return should have received their third economic impact payment (EIP) automatically in April 2021. Those who receive their SSI benefits electronically by direct deposit or Direct Express Card should have received their EIP in the same way around April 7. Those who receive their monthly SSI benefits by check in the mail were mailed paper check EIPs beginning April 9. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will not count any of the EIPs as income for SSI recipients, and the payments are excluded from resources for 12 months after receipt. As many SSI recipients are now approaching the end of the 12-month exclusion period for the first EIPs starting on June 1, 2021, SSI recipients and their payees must take care to be sure they have spent down their CARES Act EIP funds before 12 months have passed since they received the payment.  Learn more about the payments and how to be on the lookout for SSI recipients who have erroneously received a Notice of Overpayment or a Notice of Planned Action suspending their benefits because SSA incorrectly counted an EIP as a resource in this National Center on Law & Elder Rights alert.

Update on Federal Eviction Moratorium On Wednesday, a federal district court issued an order in Alabama Association of Realtors v. HHS finding the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) exceeded its authority by putting in place the federal eviction moratorium. The court immediately granted the Department of Justice’s request for a temporary administrative stay, which means that the CDC eviction moratorium remains in effect throughout the country. As a reminder, the moratorium is set to expire on June 30, 2021. It remains critically important for state and local governments to disburse the $45 billion in federal Emergency Rental Assistance included in the American Rescue Plan to help both tenants remain housed and support landlords who rely on rental income to pay their mortgages

Supreme Court Denies States’ Motion to Stay Judgment Vacating Public Charge Rule Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition filed by 14 state attorneys general led by Texas asking to restore the Trump Administration’s harmful public charge immigration rule that the Biden Administration has formally rescinded. The Court’s order instructed the states that they would have to pursue their motion to intervene in the case at the District Court. The Court’s denial means that the decision vacating the Trump Administration’s public charge rule nationwide remains in effect. Learn more about the current public charge policy on the Protecting Immigrant Families website.

New Justice in Aging Resources
Feedback on Discussion Draft of the Home and Community Based Services Access Act of 2021 (4/26)

New from the National Center on Law & Elder Rights (NCLER) Next Tuesday, May 11th, NCLER will present a webinar on Title II Auxiliary Benefits: Social Security Benefits You’ve Never Heard of and Who is Eligible for Them. Presenters will share information on eligibility requirements for Social Security benefits for children, spouses, and ex-spouses of retired, disabled, or deceased workers. Register and get more information on the NCLER website.  The recording and materials from last week’s webinar on Assessing Legal Capacity: Strategies for an Elder Rights-Centered Approach are now available: watch the recording, view the slides, and read the chapter summary.

New & Updated Federal Resources
Informational Bulletin on Extension of the Spousal Impoverishment Rules for Married Applicants and Recipients of Home and Community-Based Services (5/4)
FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Assistance FAQ (updated 4/28)
Nursing Home Visitation – COVID-19 (updated 4/27)
Interim Final Rule (IFC), CMS-3401-IFC, Additional Policy and Regulatory Revisions in Response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency related to Long-Term Care (LTC) Facility Testing Requirements and Revised COVID-19 Focused Survey Tool (4/27)
Updated visitation guidance to include recommendations for acute care facilities and Added guidance for communal activities and dining in healthcare settings (4/27)
CDC: Fully Vaccinated Adults 65 and Older are 94% Less Likely to Be Hospitalized with COVID-19 (4/28) Medicare COVID-19 Data Snapshot (updated with data through 2/20/21)

Other New Resources
Building on the Evidence Base: Studies on the Effects of Medicaid Expansion, February 2020 to March 2021, Kaiser Family Foundation
State Food Assistance Programs: Addressing Gaps in SNAP Eligibility for Immigrants, Food Resource & Action Center

Stay up-to-date on Justice in Aging’s COVID-19 Resources for Advocates Serving Older Adults webpage. Share This Contact Us Justice in Aging
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