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WINGS MN News
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WINGS MN NEWSLETTER
Vol. 5, No. 1, April
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WINGS Minnesota (Working Interdisciplinary Network of Guardianship Stakeholders) is a collaborative dedicated to supporting elders, persons with disabilities, family members and helpers, service providers, guardians and conservators through education; building a system that prioritizes supportive decision making and less restrictive alternatives to guardianship, and that maximizes autonomy for persons under guardianship; and sustaining a cooperative conversation where all guardianship stakeholders work to improve outcomes and increase self-determination for people who may need assistance making legal or medical choices.

Become a WINGS Member

While WINGS members are comprised of an active group of stakeholders, we need our Minnesota-based community to contribute your ideas and talents to keep the Network strong and vibrant.  
  • We are recruiting members to help broaden the network to ensure we are representative of Minnesota; we are specifically recruiting members from Tribes and individuals / families with lived with guardianship and/or supported decision making experience.  
  • we publish articles in this newsletter of events, collaborations, and developing best practices happening throughout Minnesota: we need your contributions to help us build strong networks throughout Minnesota.  
Please reach out to our Facilitators with your ideas and ability to volunteer, (jamie.majerus@courts.state.mn.us or araymond@voamn.org
 
News & Announcements

Last call to register for the WINGS MN Spring Webinar!  
        Registration Deadline is Monday, April 19, 2021


Don’t miss WINGS Spring Webinar:

 

I Want to See Him – But Not Her!
(Vacillations in Visitation)
on 
Wednesday. April 21, 2021, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

 

 A panel presentation discussing visitation conundrums from the perspectives of the court, guardians, & attorneys representing guardians & people subject to guardianship, factoring in the delicate balance
between rights & safety. 

Click here for more details

The Minnesota Elder Justice Center will be hosting the 2021 Minnesota World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Conference virtually June 14-16th, from 9am-noon each day.  

The WEAAD conference elevates issues of elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation and provides education on best practices for prevention and response. This year's keynote speaker is Ai-jen Poobest-selling author and an award-winning labor organizer.  The conference registration cost is $65 and provides access to all three days. CEU, CLE, POST credits and a general certificate of attendance are included. For the full conference schedule and details, please visit the MEJC website. 


SSA New Feature in "My Social Security"
 gives You more control

 

By: Brian Rudolph and Rhonda Whitenack, Social Security Public Affairs Office

The future can be uncertain.  However, Social Security’s new Advance Designation program can help put you in control of your benefits if a time comes when you need a representative payee to help manage your money.  Advance Designation enables you to identify up to three people, in priority order, whom you would like to serve as your potential representative payee.

The following people may choose an Advance Designation:

o   Adults applying for benefits who do not have a representative payee.

o   Adult beneficiaries or recipients who do not have a representative payee.

o   Emancipated minors applying for benefits who do not have a representative payee.

o   Emancipated minor beneficiaries or recipients who do not have a representative payee.
 

If you fall into one of the above categories, you may provide and update Advance Designation information when you:

o    File a claim for benefits online.

o    Use the application available in your personal my Social Security account at www.ssa.gov/myaccount.

o    Call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

SSA Representative Payee webpage: https://www.ssa.gov/payee/   Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates: https://www.ssa.gov/coronavirus/  (click subsection: Representative Payees)

Needs of Low-Income Older Adults

 

Justice in Aging has been preparing to work with the Biden Administration and the 117th Congress to enact policies and programs that will integrate the health, economic security, and housing needs of low-income older adults and build a more equitable future for us all as we age.

Read more about our health policy priorities, including expanding Medicare and Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services, and our economic security priorities, including protecting and expanding Social Security, SSI, SSDI, and more. You can find these health and economic security priorities on our website, where you can also find our recommendations for meeting the long-term care and housing needs of older adults. 


 

COVID-19 / Coronavirus
Resources & Announcements

COVID VACCINES INFORMATION!
 
MN Department of Health has a wealth of information regarding the Vaccine, communicating to communities, rollout plans, and more.  
 


Fraud Alert: COVID-19 Scams

 

As the number of people and communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic grows, so do the scams associated with it.

Older adults and people with disabilities are at greater risk for serious illness from COVID-19, they may target these populations.
 


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other public health officials may contact you if they believe you may have been exposed to the virus, they will NOT need to ask you for insurance or financial information. 


Be vigilant and protect yourself from potential fraud concerning COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.

For More Information:  COVID-19 Fraud (smpresource.org)

 

Emergency Broadband Benefit

 
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a digital divide that exists for many older adults.  For older adults who already have great social or economic needs, technology barriers are exacerbating existing challenges.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has authorized a new Emergency Broadband Benefit. This benefit will provide a discount of $50 per month for eligible low-income households or $75 per month for households on Tribal lands to cover internet bills, as well as provide discounts on some devices. This program can also be combined with Lifeline benefits. The FCC has developed a consumer FAQ, which provides information about eligibility and program details. Enrollment is expected to start by the end of April.

On April 15th, 2021, presenters from the Administration for Community Living and the Federal Communications Commission will share more information about the new Emergency Broadband Benefit program in a webinar on Increasing Connectivity with the Emergency Broadband Benefit. Legal assistance and aging services programs can get more information on how to help their communities access this benefit.
Center for Excellence in Supported Decision Making 


Guardianship Information Virtual Drop-in Clinics


Volunteers of America MN's Center for Excellence in Supported Decision Making offers a statewide Guardianship Information Line, a no-cost resource for families, individuals, and professionals for in-depth phone-based consultation from experienced, empathetic, knowledgeable social workers.  And now, in partnership with Estate & Elder Law Services, we offer  Guardianship Information virtual drop-in clinics on the First Wednesday of every month from 12 - 2 p.m.
 
Complete this form to help us plan & receive a invitation link to join

 

Families with questions related to a person's decision-making ability, use of supported decision making, need for guardianship, availability of alternatives, or related concerns are encouraged to drop in during clinic hours to meet with our social workers or attorney for educational information and to get their questions answered in real time: no appointments, no voice mail, no phone tag, just direct access to our social work and legal team members!

    

  

 


Supported Decision Making Mentoring and Technical Assistance Now Available!


Attorney John Kantke of Estate and Elder Law Services is excited to announce that he is available for free mentoring to attorneys on supported decision making and guardianship matters.  If you are an attorney that has questions about how to integrate supported decision making into your practice, how to craft a limited guardianship, or need advice regarding an existing client matter, please contact John at Estate & Elder Law Services.  This mentorship is made available with financial support from the Minnesota Board on Aging.  This mentoring is also available to non-attorney professionals who are supporting individuals and families in supported decision making and other realms: you are welcome to contact cesdm@voamn.org 
 

Guardianship Information Line:   Ask an Expert


Question: My sister has a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder. She’s been refusing to take her medications and keeps getting kicked out of housing. Her Psychiatrist told me I should consider becoming her guardian. I just want to help her and don’t know what to do.

Answer:  Decisions about the need for guardianship are complex and should never be based purely on a diagnosis of any disease or disability. Guardianship is rarely needed in situations where someone has a mental illness if there are supports available and/or the person is not resisting help. Depending on the severity of your sister’s disease process and her abilities to express her preferences and wishes, many alternatives can be considered such as appointing a health care agent who can ensure necessary services are received when the person is unable to make that decision or completing an advance psychiatric directive.  You or another support person can talk with your sister about signing a Release of Information, allowing you to to be involved in conversations with providers about medical and psychiatric care.
Even if a person is “refusing,” services or supports available to them, families and providers have to consider whether guardianship will address that.  Even with the full scope of guardianship authority to make medical decisions or secure housing, a guardian cannot force the person to take their medications or follow policies set forth by leasing companies to ensure they aren’t evicted.  For more information on this topic, check out our fact sheet on Mental Health and Guardianship: Q&A Mental Health

What creative approaches have been tried, or can be tried again, to minimize the risk to the person?  A civil commitment may be needed in extreme situations where the person’s mental health crisis places themselves or others in danger: sometimes this is the best way to help a person stabilize psychiatrically, creating opportunities for cooperative, supported, decision making and planning for future mental health crises.

Each situation has unique nuances, so please reach out to CESDM, VOA MN at 952-945-4174 or CESDM@voamn.org for further consultation.


Remember - the statewide Guardianship Information Line is available for families, individuals and professionals for in-depth consultation about your specific situation. CESDM also seeks to provide outreach and education: let us know if you'd like to discuss hosting a training or educational presentation in your area.           
                                                    

National Scope: WINGS & 
Supported Decision Making News, Tools, Resources 


WINGS Briefing Paper: Advancing Guardianship Reform and Promoting Less Restrictive Options


The Commission on Law and Aging of the American Bar Association announces a groundbreaking publication, “WINGS Briefing Paper: Advancing Guardianship Reform and Promoting Less Restrictive Options.” Please forward to your networks.

The WINGS Briefing Paper presents the Commission’s project findings and conclusions about WINGS and (1) describes the challenges of adult guardianship reform and the rationale for creating WINGS; (2) discusses the potential for applying a national Court Improvement Program model to the adult guardianship system; and (3) makes recommendations for next steps in federal policy.

Supports and Tools for Elder Abuse Prevention (STEAP) Initiative Toolkit Updates
 
Educating our communities on how to prevent elder abuse means we are doing our part to support everyone as we age. The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) is pleased to release the updated, refreshed Supports and Tools for Elder Abuse Prevention (STEAP) Initiative Toolkit with customizable elder abuse outreach tools and resources!
 
NEW & UPDATED Elder Justice Tools:
  • Brochure & Fact Sheets
  • Outreach Calendar
  • Presentation Materials
  • Social Media Graphics

The STEAP Initiative was launched by the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), in partnership with the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a), in an effort to educate and empower communities to create a sturdy structure of support to notice, report, and prevent abuse. Learn more, here.
 

Guardianship in the News

 

WINGS 6th Annual (mini) Summit
A Virtual Success! 


The 2020 WINGS Summit welcomed 169 attendees for a lively 90-minute panel discussion that covered real-life-based scenarios involving supported and substitute medical decision-making.  We explored the various roles and perspectives that the person, the family supporters, lawyers, social workers, and medical providers face when working through  these challenging situations.  

A panel of experts included Jamie Majerus (family supporter, from the Minnesota Judicial Branch and WINGS MN co-chair); Melissa Johnson (LGSW, from Care Management and Consultation Services at Volunteers of America MN); Lucas Spaeth (JD, from Estate and Elder Law Services at VOA); and Victor Sandler (MD, from the MN Network of Hospice and Palliative Medicine Physicians).  Panel moderator was Jennifer Wright, JD; Chat Moderator was Kathleen Carlson, LSW, from the Center for Excellence in Supported Decision-Making; and Zoom Wrangler was Anita Raymond, LISW, from the Center for Excellence and WINGS MN co-chair.


Thanks to our panelists, the planners & helpers & to all attendees!   

Please take a moment to let us know what you think? Do you find this newsletter valuable?  Even just a brief email message would help us know if this is a helpful resource to you! 
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