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2011 Advocates of the Year Awards

OK, kids, it’s time for the season’s swankiest event, the 2011 Advocates of the Year Awards. It’ll be on Thursday, March 10 at 6:30 pm at the Joffrey Tower, 10 East Randolph Street, smack in the heart of the Loop. And we’ll make it easy for you: order tickets right here. Here are this year’s honorees: Arick BucklesWhen Arick came to grips with his HIV diagnosis, he found himself embarking on a path of discovery that would allow him to overcome many personal challenges while becoming a fierce advocate for people with HIV. As a peer counselor, educator and advocate, Arick feels equally at home talking to policy makers about the needs of people with HIV as he does talking to clients about his own life, inspiring them to get the care they need. Arick Buckles personifies the spirit,...

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ADAP to the Rescue!

If you have private health insurance or Medicare, there are important changes in the Illinois AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) that may help you with some of your drug costs. Additionally, ADAP may make it possible for some people to afford comprehensive health insurance coverage under the new Illinois Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (IPXP). First and foremost: The income eligibility limit for Illinois ADAP is 500% of federal poverty. That means for 2011, your annual income must be less $54, 450 in order for you to enroll in any of ADAP’s programs. So let’s dig in and explain. For folks with private insurance: ADAP used to pay drug copays for people with private health insurance, but only if the copays were more than 20% of the drug costs or if a drug’s individual copay was more than $100. But...

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Illinois Civil Unions are Almost here.

The AIDS Legal Council is excited about the recent passage of the Illinois Civil Union Act. Beginning in June of 2011 Illinois same-sex couples will be able to enter into legally-recognized civil unions “with all the obligations, responsibilities, protections, and benefits afforded or recognized by the law of Illinois to spouses.” Before entering into a civil union, it is important for low-income individuals to consider the impact their civil union may have on their public benefits. Because the Civil Union Act is a state law, the changes will be primarily in state programs. But since it’s not always clear which programs are state and which are federal, this guide lists the main public benefits programs accessed by people with HIV and describes what effect, if any, the new law will have on them. INCOME PROGRAMS SOCIAL SECURITY — SSDI...

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Our New Hero

We’re adding a new member to the AIDS Legal Council’s Honor Roll of Really Groovy Attorneys We Love a Whole Bunch. Today we’re singing the praises of Ian Ackerman, an attorney in the corporate practice group of Kirkland & Ellis (a law firm we’ve adored for a heck of a long time). I’m sure you too will love him a whole bunch after reading about the way he handled a particularly messy case for one of our clients. Not long ago Anthony (not his real name) received a notice from Social Security informing him that his earnings records showed he had been working in 2008 and 2009, to the tune of nearly $10,000 a year. And since Anthony was receiving SSI during that time, Social Security believed it had overpaid him and wanted a big pile of money back,...

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A New National Strategy?

You’ve probably heard that the White House Office of National AIDS Policy just issued the National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States. Like many similar documents, it’s full of lofty language about all the marvelous things the federal government might consider doing to address the HIV epidemic. Those of you with a cynical side might be tempted to roll your eyes and throw the document out the window after reading no further than the “Vision for the National HIV/AIDS Strategy” which functions as the plan’s preamble: “The United States will become a place where new HIV infections are rare and when they do occur, every person, regardless of age, gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or socio-economic circumstance, will have unfettered access to high quality, life-extending care, free from stigma and discrimination.” Heck, all people with seasonal allergies will...

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