Archive for the ‘Veterans Issues’ Category

Different Types of Assisted Living Facilities Meet Different Needs

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Assisted living facilities are residences for senior citizens where help is provided with daily living activities, as needed. This can include making doctor’s appointments and taking medication, as well as bathing, dressing and grooming. Meals and housekeeping are also provided at such facilities. In the state of New York, all types of assisted living residences are licensed as adult care facilities by the Department of Health. However, there are different types of adult care facilities, which may also be called enriched housing programs or adult homes.

First, all adult care facilities are distinguished from nursing homes in that they are for people who do not need round-the-clock medical services or skilled nursing. People who need for medical staff to be present on a continuous basis are better served by a nursing home.

The two kinds of adult care facilities in New York, enriched housing programs and adult homes, both offer long-term care in a residential setting, including meals, laundry, housekeeping, supervision and assistance with personal care and medication. One major difference is that the law has stricter supervision requirements for adult homes, although a number of enriched housing programs may offer the same level of supervision. In addition, enriched housing programs usually provide apartment-style residences, while adult homes generally provide private rooms or two-person rooms.

The same types of service provided in enriched housing programs and adult homes may also be provided by assisted living residences and assisted living programs. In order to refer to themselves as providing “assisted living,” these facilities must meet additional requirements of providing certain disclosures and rights for residents. The goal of assisted living facilities is to provide the care necessary to allow individuals to live as independently as possible, emphasizing personal dignity and freedom of choice.

Finally, an assisted living residence that offers aging-in-place services and obtains additional certification may be designated an enhanced assisted living residence. A special needs assisted living residence is an assisted living residence that provides specialized care and meets additional certification requirements.

For more information, refer to the New York State Department of Health’s website on assisted living, available at


New Program Enlists Doormen to Watch for Elder Abuse

Friday, December 13th, 2013

A new program in New York City is training doormen who work in apartment buildings to watch for elder abuse.

The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Center for Elder Abuse Prevention, part of the Hebrew Home at Riverdale, developed the program, which offers free training for doormen, porters, concierges and other building staff, at the building where they work.

Joy Solomon, the director of the Weinberg Center, said that many elderly people who were being abused did not come forward on their own, so advocates realized they would have to reach out to others who might be likely to spot the signs of abuse. The center has already helped to educate people such as estate lawyers, speech therapists, and those who deliver hot meals to seniors. Now building staff are being enlisted to help as well.

Many buildings in the city have a growing population of elderly residents. An analysis of census data by Queens College found that by 2040, an estimated 21 percent of adults in New York City will be age 60 or older, an increase from 17 percent in 2010.

At a training she led recently, Ms. Solomon told of an elderly resident of an Upper East Side apartment building, who was taken advantage of by a woman. Building staff witnessed the woman removing valuables from the man’s apartment, but did not step forward, perhaps because they did not want to overstep their bounds. Solomon said that when a staff member knows that something is wrong, it is important to take action. Several older apartment building residents said they would much prefer that building staff say something about a situation that does not appear right, rather than staying quiet out of a fear of prying into someone else’s business.

For elderly residents who do not have frequent visits from friends and family, a doorman may be the first person to notice an injury, signs of confusion, or other evidence that the person needs help.

Solomon said that the training would be provided initially to buildings with large populations of older people, but would eventually be available to anyone requesting it.


Sequester Cuts Will Harm Seniors, Veterans

Monday, April 1st, 2013

As Congress failed to take action, the cuts required by the Budget Control Act, commonly referred to as the sequester, began taking effect on March 1.  Spending cuts of $85 billion are being imposed across federal programs, both military and domestic.  While many of the core programs that seniors and veterans rely on are exempt from the cuts, other programs will be affected, some of which protect the most vulnerable.

First, the good news: funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare is exempt from the cuts.  However, while those benefits will not change, the federal workforce that administers them will be reduced, causing delays and limits to access.

In the case of Medicare, for instance, there will be no change in benefits, but doctors and other Medicare providers will see a two percent reduction in their payments.  This could lead some doctors to drop Medicare patients, resulting in longer waits for doctors who do accept Medicare.

While Social Security benefits will not change, services provided by the Social Security Administration may be cut back, including closing some offices.  The large backlog of disability claims will likely grow even larger.

While these core programs are spared the full force of the cuts, other needed programs will be drastically affected.  Meals on Wheels and other senior nutrition programs will see cuts resulting in 18.6 million fewer meals being served to needy people, according to the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging.  The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program will discontinue help to approximately 400,000 households, often low-income seniors that rely on the assistance to heat and cool their homes.

The Area Agencies on Aging reports that other important services to seniors will also be cut, including in-home help with bathing and dressing and transportation to medical appointments or to buy groceries.  Seniors are put at risk by these cuts, and any savings to the federal government are offset by the cost to society of the inevitable increase in health care needs when seniors are not able to get help with daily living.

While there will be no change in VA benefits, some veterans will still be affected by the cuts.  Some homeless veterans will no longer be able to receive assistance from a housing program run by the Department of Housing and Urban Development that provides grants to the states to help people find housing.

In addition, because of the sequester, some job-training programs for veterans will no longer receive funding from the Labor Department, affecting tens of thousands of vets.

Active duty personnel will also be affected by the suspension of the Tuition Assistance Program, which helps service members with the cost of courses toward high school and college diplomas.  The program provided hundreds of thousands of active duty military personnel with up to $4,500 per year for tuition at accredited schools.

These arbitrary spending cuts are more onerous because they were never supposed to happen and are the result not of careful lawmaking but of Washington gridlock.

For more information, visit

Facebook Launches New Tool to Aid Veterans and Service Members in Distress

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

A new program launched by social media giant Facebook aims to assist veterans and active members of the armed forces by directing them to helpful resources when their content is flagged as suicidal or harmful.

The initiative expands on a program that Facebook started in December, which allows concerned friends to identify potentially suicidal material by clicking a link next to it.  The user in distress then receives an email from Facebook with information about suicide prevention and resources.

Blue Star Families, an organization for military support, joined with the Department of Veterans Affairs to help Facebook launch the program for service members.  Blue Star Families said in a statement that while military families could already take advantage of Facebook’s existing program, “there are several specific resources provided to our nation’s military that we wanted to make sure they were aware of at their time of need.”

Engineers at Facebook determined a way to identify past and present members of the armed forces.  If these users post comments that are flagged as suicidal, they will receive information about resources such as The Veterans Crisis Line.

Suicide among American military family members is a grave and growing concern.  Blue Star Families conducted a survey of 2,891 members of military families and found that 10% had contemplated suicide, while 9% knew a service member who had considered suicide.

Many participants in the survey said that there is still a stigma within the military about mental health counseling.  Rather than recommend such programs, military leaders will often tell distressed service members to “soldier on” or “suck it up.”

Facebook may be an effective way to refer service members or veterans in crisis to the resources they need, as 86% of military families who use Facebook say they use it every day.

For assistance with questions regarding veterans’ disability benefits visit our website at

Writing Workshops Offered To U.S. Veterans

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

The Veterans Writing Workshop gives veterans the tools and confidence they need to bring their stories to life. Veterans meet once a week for peer support and feedback on their writing. These workshops are free of charge to all U.S. Veterans. The workshops will conclude with the publication of a print anthology of veterans’ writing and public readings.

The first workshop series starts February 23 from 6-8PM and concludes on May 3 at Fordham University’s Lincoln Center Campus,  Room 703, 113 West 60th Street, NY, NY.  The second workshop series begins February 27 from 6-8PM at Fordham University’s Westchester Campus, Room 120, 400 Westchester Avenue, West Harrison, NY.

For more information or to register, please click here or email

Bernard A. Krooks to Speak on Financial Abuse of Seniors

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Bernard A. Krooks, Esq., managing partner of Littman Krooks LLP, will teach a seminar on “Fraud and Exploitation of the Elderly” at Pace Law School in New York City on June 16. The course is being conducted in recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15. World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was established in 2006 to increase understanding of the problem of elder exploitation and neglect and to protect the dignity, rights and financial security of seniors.

The seminar will focus on the financial exploitation of seniors, in many cases committed by a close relative or other trusted person. Lessons from the Brooke Astor case will be used as illustration. In addition, recent changes to New York’s power of attorney law will be examined, some of which were designed to prevent elder financial abuse and to protect seniors from the mismanagement of their affairs by caregivers.

“This is a timely and socially significant topic,” explains Krooks. “The current economic climate is increasing the number of multi-generation households, as families seek to control living expenses. The temptation is there, and seniors, as well as concerned family members, need to be aware of steps to protect against abusive behavior that can result in both economic disaster and emotional scars.”

Bernard Krooks has been recognized as one of the “Best Lawyers in America” and as a “New York Super Lawyer.” He is the newly elected president of the Estate Planning Council of Westchester County, a former president of NAELA (National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys), and a past chair of the Elder Law Section of the New York State Bar Association.
Littman Krooks LLP offers legal services in several areas of law, including elder law, estate planning, veterans’ benefits, special needs planning, special education advocacy,  and corporate and securities.  The firm’s offices are located at 655 Third Avenue, New York, New York; 399 Knollwood Road, White Plains, New York; and 300 Westage Business Center Drive, Fishkill, New York.  For more information about Littman Krooks LLP, visit