Working While Receiving Disability Benefits Workshop – In-Person

This workshop is in-person for people receiving SSI and/or SSDI and working or planning to return to work.

Learn about how working affects eligibility to receive disability income, how to avoid costly pitfalls, and what to do if you receive an overpayment.

This workshop is free and open to the public; however, space is limited, and RSVP is required by June 29, 2023, at 8:00 am.  Please only register once to allow others to attend.

To RVSP for this workshop, click and follow the directions to register.

Fair Housing For People with Disabilities Virtual Presentation

This presentation is virtual for people living with disabilities, their caregivers, case managers, and providers.

Learn about:

  • How Fair Housing Laws work to “level the playing” field for tenants with disabilities
  • Reasonable Accommodations and modifications
    • Ex: emotional support animals, changing rental due dates, etc.
    • Ex: widening doorways, adding/removing carpet for those with mobility impairments, etc.)
  • When and how to request a Reasonable Accommodation in housing
  • Options for disabled tenants if their Landlord fails to accommodate their disability

This presentation is free and open to the public; however, registration is required.

To register go to this link:

6th Annual Mighty Real Gala, A Resounding Success

PRC is pleased to announce the extraordinary success of its 6th annual Mighty Real Gala on Friday, November 4, 2022. Taking place at the beautiful Four Seasons Hotel and attracting nearly 330 guests, this incredible evening raised more than $250,000 for PRC’s essential services for San Francisco’s most vulnerable individuals. 

The overwhelming support of this year’s Mighty Real Gala is a testament to this community’s commitment to helping San Francisco’s homeless and other vulnerable populations with whom we work every day. It was a powerfully emotional and momentous occasion as we symbolically passed the leadership torch and honored our retiring CEO Emeritus Brett Andrews for his visionary leadership of the organization for nearly 20 years. I’m honored and humbled to have had the opportunity to share this moment with our community and by the love and support I’ve received.” shared PRC Interim CEO Chuan Teng.  

Highlights of the evening included a heartfelt and symbolic transfer of the leadership torch from CEO Emeritus Brett Andrews to Interim CEO Chuan Teng and impassioned and emotionally expressive speeches from Gala Chair and PRC Board Member Nichole Wiley, PRC client Stafford Hemmer, and Senator Scott Wiener. The sentiment and devotion for PRC’s clients and services was brimming throughout the ballroom. The festivities were ushered in by Master of Ceremonies extraordinaire Kelly Russell, who presided over an exciting live auction and Fund a Need, and the afterparty was energized by the entertaining seven-piece band, Last Wave.  

Guests were also treated to award presentations of the Outstanding Corporate Partner Award to the Law firm, Pillsbury, Winthrop Shaw, and Pitman, the Keystone Service Award to The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, PRC’s first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award to retiring CEO Emeritus Brett Andrews, and the Sylvester Community Pillar Award to Latrice Royale. Between Tito’s specialty cocktails and a fabulous performance from Drag performer, recording artist, and reality TV Personality, Latrice Royale, the evening proved to be a touching tribute to those served by PRC’s services. 

We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to everyone who attended and supported PRC during the live auction and Fund a Need,  our dedicated volunteers, and our generous sponsors: Janice & Thomas Berthold, Chevron, David McCrory and Andrew Chen, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, AT&T, DivcoWest, Eastdil Secured, JLL, JP Morgan, Kaiser Permanente, Nuveen Real Estate, Quest Diagnostics, Revel Architecture & Design, Brian Schneider and Robert Liberman, Stockbridge, TMG Partners, ABM, Allied Universal, ARG Conservation Services Inc., CBF Electric & Data, East Bay Rental Housing Association, Giampolini Courtney Masonry Restoration, Landis Communications, Inc, Metro Services Group, Newmark, San Francisco Community Health Center, Skyline Construction, and Transwestern. 

If you would like to extend your support of this year’s Mighty Real Gala, you still can.

Photo Gallery from PRC’s 6th Annual Mighty Real Gala


Another Step in Combating Stigma Based on Gender

New social security policy allows for self-selection of gender.

As part of the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Equity Action Plan, on October 20, 2022, the Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Kilolo Kijakazi, announced that SSA will offer individuals the option to self-select their gender on their Social Security Number (SSN) applications and records. SSA is committed to decreasing the burden on those who identify differently from their assigned gender at birth. Acting Commissioner Kijakazi stated, “This new policy allows people to self-select their sex in our records without needing to provide documentation of their sex designation.”

Those who want to update their SSN records will need to apply for a replacement card. ( They will still need to prove their identity with current documentation, such as a passport or state-issued driver’s license or identity card. Although the gender field is not used in determining benefit eligibility, SSA is working with other agencies to allow millions of transgender people in the United States to update their most commonly used identification documents.

Unfortunately, the current SSA record system cannot include nonbinary or unspecified gender designation at this time. SSA is exploring options to support an “X” designation in the future.

This new policy began when President Biden signed Executive Order 13988, Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation on January 20, 2021.


Social Security Implements Self-Attestation of Sex Marker in Social Security Number Records (Abigail Zapote, Senior Advisor to the Commissioner, dated October 20, 2022)

An interview with retiring PRC CEO Brett Andrews 

After two decades of visionary leadership, PRC’s Chief Executive Officer Brett Andrews has decided to retire. Since stepping into the role in 2003, Brett has grown PRC from a staff of 18 and an annual operating budget of $1.25 million to a staff of more than 300 and an annual budget of more than $30 million. 
Brett’s dedication and passion for improving the lives and the health and economic outcomes of thousands of San Francisco’s most vulnerable adults have been truly inspirational to those of us who have had the honor to work alongside him. He has given us the confidence to continue his legacy, For that, we are eternally grateful and ready to carry on. As Brett hands over the reins to a new era of leadership, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to celebrate him and thank him for his service. Brett will receive PRC’s inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award during this year’s Mighty Real Gala on Friday, November 4. We look forward to sharing this heartfelt moment with our community.   

Before his official departure, we took the opportunity to sit with Brett to get a glimpse of what the past 20 years have been like. We invite you to read what Brett had to share about the lessons he’s learned along the way. We hope you find his reflections to be as insightful as we do.  

As you reflect on your 20 years with PRC, what stands out to you the most? 

“In the beginning, one thing really stood out to me. San Francisco was the first city — particularly at PRC — where I saw folks go out of their way to volunteer. There was a devoted core at PRC and so many other nonprofits who, every time you looked up, were donating their time. Volunteering is one of the hardest things to get people to do, yet there was this massive bank of volunteers, whether it was for Folsom Street, Dore Alley, the Richmond/Ermet Aid Foundation’s, Help is on the Way fundraising gala, or the Academy of Friends, these wonderful folks were always there. I just marveled at how many people — beyond what they needed to do in order to keep their life moving forward — were willing to volunteer in the nonprofit sector. That remains something that is extraordinary to me.” 

What accomplishments of PRC are you most proud of? 

“There was an early decision we made as a board and staff that the work we were doing in HIV was relevant to a broader population. In 2004, we formally expanded our mission beyond HIV. The work of what was then the Benefits Counseling Program and Employment Services is now Legal Advocacy and Workforce Development. If it was beneficial and helpful to one population that was disabled, we knew it was relevant for another population, and that was behavioral health. Through making that pivotal move, we were able to serve a larger population. But it also availed us of many great opportunities. I think we were successful in taking advantage of those opportunities, and they allowed us to create the organization that we have today. It’s because we took that big bold move that more people have been able to benefit from our services.” 

Who have been the community leaders who have inspired you the most along the way? 

“Senator Mark Leno stood out to me early on. He’s gracious, and he’s generous. I remember receiving two lovely handwritten notes in 2003 when I first came to PRC; One from Gavin Newsom, the mayor at the time, and another from Mark Leno, when he was an assembly member that said, “Good luck to you! We really love and believe in PRC, and its important services.” Mark later invited me to the state building to talk about his interests, my vision, and what my vision was for PRC. Mark has always been a valued thought partner, which one needs because the Chief Executive Director’s role is unique in that sometimes you only have yourself. You have a board of directors that you’re seeking to show a great deal of confidence and leadership. You have staff and other stakeholders who believe in you and the vision, and then where do you go when there’s indecision? Where do you go when you’ve reached a crossroads where you really could benefit from some counsel and have it not impact who you are as a person or a leader? And I found Mark Leno to be that for me over the years. I very much appreciate him for his thought leadership, thought partnership, and just the way in which he moves in the world with an open heart, kindness, and humanity.” 

You are known for your ability to give inspiring speeches. What advice do you have for somebody that would like to be as skilled a speaker as you are? 

“For me, it was both a personal and a professional journey toward authenticity. I look back at times when I gave speeches or remarks at galas or commencements, and the best speeches I gave were the ones where I was most authentic. In my earlier years, I couldn’t be as authentic as I wanted or needed to be because I was still processing both my professional and personal life and what that meant. I was a black queer boy, and I was trying to show leadership in a world that was new to brown leadership. I was also dealing with my own health challenges, how to look strong and confident, and not show any weakness. Yet in the weaknesses was often where the answers came from, and not just in a performative way. My recommendation for everyone is that you must have the courage to step into that authenticity. It’s not easy work. It’s hard. But over the years, I’ve been more pleased with myself and the consistency of the speeches I’ve given because I know they are a direct result of the work that I have done to be more authentic.”  

Would you say that it’s important to embrace vulnerability? 

“It’s about being courageous enough to be vulnerable around people, particularly those who you may not know well while understanding that one must still be careful. But I was willing to take a chance because, at some point, all I was going to be left with was myself. You’re interacting with people who in many ways trust you to be authentic and to provide a framework where they can thrive and succeed in life. We live in a culture where we’re expected to put on a brave face, which is why I think PRC’s services are more relevant now than ever. When considering the mental health challenges that come with working so hard to put on that brave face, compared to what you ultimately end up with when you’re home all by yourself, you can create fissures and fracture yourself. We’re not tempered glass. We can’t go from hot to cold like that. We must be integrated. And these compartmentalized ways in which we live life ultimately can do lasting and arguably irreparable damage if you don’t address it. You must learn how to be an integrated person so that the “you” that one person sees, is the same person everyone sees, and that there’s a continuity of you. It’s important that there’s a throughline, a connection that says, I’ve met Brett and I know him. One of the greatest compliments that can come from that is having people who’ve known me over a period say, yep, that’s who Brett is. Those are his values. That’s what he stands for. And that process takes work.” 

Your compassion, drive, and determination to improve the lives, health and financial outcomes of our clients have been truly commendable. What would you like to say to the staff at PRC who will carry on in your legacy?  

“At times it can be very isolating in this job. A lesson I learned that I would offer others is that you’re not in it alone. It can be hard to recognize there are people here to support you, at all levels of the organization, from management down. So one: you’re not alone. Challenge yourself to reach out when you’re feeling alone. Find a colleague or two who you really enjoy having conversations with and know that you can bounce ideas back and forth in order to get through these periods of indecision and isolation. It’s important to be courageous and reach out for support along the way.” 

“Also, be unapologetic and proud of the work you do. Talk up the organization you’re working with. Talk about the work you’re doing and be immodest about the role you play in it. Many of the jobs we do aren’t celebrated so you can’t sit around and wait for somebody to come and pat you on the back or give some great sense of hope or wisdom or words of support. Sometimes you have to be that for yourself. Remind yourself: I’m doing an extraordinary thing here. I play a key and important role. I like the role that I play and I’m going to play it tomorrow and the day after. I believe in self-encouragement, and I was an old man before I learned that I was waiting for that pat on the back. I was waiting for the cheering on to success. As it turns out, it was always in there. It was already there for me. I just needed to do it for myself. So those are my words of encouragement.”  

“And to everyone who’s committed to staying in this work, In my eyes, you’re already knighted and canonized because you’re committed to doing the work but be modest about your contribution to the world. I think it was Marianne Williamson who said: “Your playing small does not serve the world.” 

If you could gather all the fundraisers and volunteers who over the years helped to build PRC into the organization that we know it to be today, what would you like to say to them? 

“I would say the work is hard and often thankless. That’s why it’s important to find the motivation inside of yourself. Because in the end, all of us in our own unique ways are seeking love: to love and be loved. I believe the root of it all — the volunteer efforts and the contributions — are based on the fact that we love and care about humanity. Let that be your true north. Let it be as campy as it may. Let nothing stand in the way of that. Let it be expressed in your words and your thoughts. And certainly, for everyone who has lifted a pen and written a check and volunteered, let it be expressed in your deeds. That’s our quest.” 

White text holder
White text holder

We would like to thank Brett for his decades of guidance, compassion, and work ethic, and for his genuine heart of gold. Working in partnership with him has been truly motivational and rewarding on many levels. We believe that Brett has prepared us to remain successful for our clients for as long as our services are needed. Brett’s successor, Chuan Teng, has worked closely with Brett for more than a decade and shares his commitment to PRC’s clients. For those who have yet to meet her, we invite you to join us as we symbolically pass the leadership torch at our Mighty Real Gala on Friday, November 4th.

If you would like to honor Brett and his dedication to PRC’s clients, please consider making a donation in support of continuing his legacy.  

Joanie Juster, A Super Volunteer, Advocate, and All-Around Beautiful Human Being!  

Last spring, we sat down with Joanie Juster, one of our super volunteers, who was previously on staff and served on the board of the AIDS Emergency Fund (AEF), the precursor to PRC’s Emergency Financial Assistance (EFA) program. Joanie has supported AEF, PRC, and so many SF nonprofits since the early 1980s. When we spoke, she had just authored an article about Jeopardy’s superstar consecutive winner Amy Schneider for her column in the Bay Area Times and had ventured to the Castro to grab some printed copies before meeting with us. We were thrilled to listen as she shared her history, experiences, and several old AEF newsletters that we had not previously seen.   

Joanie moved to San Francisco from Santa Cruz in September 1978 and landed a studio apartment in the Fillmore for an unheard of $210 a month. Her grandmother had lived in the area, so it was the only section of the city she was familiar with. Her move was only two months before the tragic assassination of Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone by Supervisor Dan White. Being so new to the city, Joanie still regrets that she was unable to make her way to the candlelight vigil from the Castro to City Hall.   

“I was watching it on TV and sobbing because I didn’t know how to get there to join them. I literally didn’t know how to find this march. And in those days, you had to call a cab to go anywhere but I didn’t know where to tell the cab to take me. I also didn’t have cash. This was before ATMs and debit cards so even if I could figure out how to get there, I wouldn’t have been able to pay for the ride. Ever since then, I’ve made it to every anniversary march that I was able to.”  

Joanie had long been active in theatre and through her charming and welcoming personality, has grown a large network of friends, many of whom are part of San Francisco’s gay community. She witnessed the AIDS pandemic take the lives of those around her, and she couldn’t just watch from the sidelines. The growing pandemic weighed heavily on her. She knew she wanted to do something to help but didn’t know where to start. Her first step was making a panel for the AIDS Memorial Quilt. She had been volunteering with them and continues to do so to this day. Her first AIDS Walk was in 1988. She has been actively involved ever since. The next step was becoming a practical support volunteer for Shanti Project, providing one-on-one care for Shanti’s clients. If there was ever a need for support, Joanie would provide as much as she could.  

Eventually, Joanie joined the AIDS Emergency Fund Board, and later as part of the staff, she issued checks sometimes for amounts as small as $7.00 per grant to pay utility bills, medical expenses, and housing assistance. She expressed how amazed she was that an amount so small could make a difference in someone’s life and keep them going another month.   

“That’s where I needed to be! Someplace where that little amount, an amount that even I could afford to donate, could make a difference for someone. That’s why I will always do grassroots fundraising, and that’s why I am forever devoted to AEF, which has now become EFA. My life would have been far less gratifying if I hadn’t done this. It changed everything for me. The people I’ve met have totally enriched my life: the living, and the dead. They’re all with me, all the time. It really does take a village, and we’ve all been a part of it.”  

One of the events that Joanie loves volunteering at most is the annual PRC client Christmas Eve Dinner. For more than 30 years, local hotels, caterers, and chefs have donated their time to provide beautiful foods and desserts for the event. Each year, more than 100  volunteers served more than 1,200 clients over multiple seatings.  Lee Harrington, who retired in December 2021 after 24 years as EFA’s Director of Client Services, would show up every year to sit and socialize with his clients and was known to never miss a happy holiday. For a few years, Joanie’s desk was positioned near Lee’s, and she shared how much she admired him for his dedication to EFA’s clients.  

“The fact that Lee stayed with EFA for 24 years is just epic. I really don’t know of any other way to explain it. That man is truly one of my heroes.” 

Joanie has a keen understanding of how important it is to document historical information, especially regarding the HIV/AIDS pandemic. She took it upon herself to collect as many of the old AEF newsletters as she could. During the current pandemic, she found herself with some free time and organized her collection to provide complete sets to friends who value them as much as she does. She even sent a set of these newsletters to the Smithsonian after they had indicated that they had limited material documenting the early days of AIDS in San Francisco, and they were thrilled to receive them. She’s single-handedly ensuring that AEF’s history is never forgotten, and even has plans to digitize them so that anyone can access them.   

“What made AEF so unique was that it was built out of a grassroots community response. I used to run the school program, and we had dozens of schools bringing jars of pennies to Union Square for Every Penny Counts Day for a big public counting. It was amazing that all those kids learned about fundraising and compassion. They were able to learn about AIDS directly from volunteers who were living with the debilitating disease and would go out to the schools and tell them how their pennies help. Could you imagine doing that today?”  

During Joanie’s tenure with AIDS Emergency Fund, their sister agency, the Breast Cancer Emergency Fund (BCEF) was born, and Joanie became part of that team as well. She continues supporting people with breast and ovarian cancer to this day. In 2020 BCEF became a program of Bay Area Cancer Connections (BACC), and Joanie is now on their team. She also continues volunteering for other organizations and causes.

Joanie truly has a heart of gold and inspires us all with her passion to be there when others need support. She still manages to find time to volunteer for PRC events, and we couldn’t be more grateful for everything that she does.   

If you’ve enjoyed learning about Joanie and the compassion that led her to a life of serving those in need, please consider making a donation in her honor. You can learn more about all of PRC’s services on our website. 

AIDS Emergency Fund Continues Serving Clients as PRC’s Emergency Financial Assistance 

As the city of tolerance and the birthplace of gay rights, San Francisco has been a sanctuary and home to hundreds of thousands of LGBTQ+ individuals since World War II, when many landed here after being dishonorably discharged from the military solely for their sexual orientation. To this day, San Francisco stands as a symbol of hope for gay men, women, and non-binary individuals from less progressive towns throughout the country and the world. Sadly, San Francisco is also one of the cities most heavily impacted by the HIV/AIDS pandemic that has taken the lives of millions and continues to affect countless individuals to this day. At its onset, HIV/AIDS primarily affected gay men, who were not acknowledged or given assistance from the federal government, forcing them to fend for themselves.     

It is no surprise, therefore, that San Francisco spearheaded efforts for HIV/AIDS support services and medical advancements. San Franciscans have long been a leading example of how communities can come together to support each other. In the four decades that have passed since the first documented cases of AIDS, many of the grassroots organizations that formed in response have either merged with others or faded into memories. PRC’s Emergency Financial Assistance program has stood the test of time and continues to support the basic financial needs for low-income HIV+ San Francisco residents.   

If you were living in San Francisco in the 1980s and 1990s, you probably recall seeing penny jars on the counters of local merchants, bars, restaurants, and offices, politely asking for donations. Simple displays prompted you to leave the change from your purchase or lighten your pockets to support a local cause. It was an effort spawned out of desperation by a community witnessing friend after friend fall victim to the deadliest pandemic of their time. These penny jars meant something, not only to the people wanting to help friends and partners, but to those who relied on these donations to pay for utilities, medical bills, housing, and even funerals. This “Every Penny Counts” grassroots effort was one of the many fundraising tactics utilized by the AIDS Emergency Fund (AEF), now known as PRC’s Emergency Financial Assistance (EFA) program, which has distributed more than $35 million dollars to clients since its founding in 1982.   

Every Penny Counts Founder Fred Skau passed away in 1993

You may wonder how collecting pennies could ever translate into millions of dollars. Also, who collected and counted them, and who decided how much money to give to each person? How much does that amount of coins even weigh? These are all important questions that need to be answered. Starting with the easiest to visualize, 100,000,000 pennies, or $1 million dollars, collectively weigh 551,000 pounds, roughly the equivalent of 16 semi-trucks. Granted, not all the donations came in pennies. Other coins, bills, and checks were also accepted. Still, collecting and counting was no light task.    

Volunteers were the lifeblood of AEF by delivering empty coin jars around town, picking them up when filled, cleaning and sorting the coins, working directly with recipients of the fund, and writing grant checks. Each year on December 2nd, following World AIDS Day, hundreds of volunteers, sponsors, and even school students would gather in San Francisco’s Justin Herman Plaza, then years later at Union Square, for Every Penny Counts Day to sort and count donations. Bodybuilders from World Gym would do the heavy lifting as coin bags were filled, and Radio station Wild 107 awarded a dance party and a mixer to the top two schools that raised the most pennies per student each year.   

In 1982, AEF’s first year in operation, $6,500 was raised, and by 1992 they were distributing more than $1,000,000 annually in the form of emergency grants to low-income individuals experiencing HIV/AIDS. To qualify for a grant, a client’s monthly income had to be less than $1,456. However, most recipients were living on $900 or less. Each qualifying recipient could receive up to $500 per year with a lifetime benefit of $1,000. Although the grant amounts seem small, they managed to keep people housed, their basic utilities on, and provide some relief to the already overwhelming stresses associated with the debilitating disease. By 1996, EFA was distributing more than $1.6 million annually with 75% going to requests for emergency housing payments, and the remaining 25% supporting utilities, medical bills, and funeral costs.  

In 1997, AEF operated with a four-person staff, donated furniture, and a phone system that was on its last leg. Still, they stayed true to their mission to assist as many people as possible. AEF was also operating at a deficit and for the first and only time, was forced to reduce grant amounts to $400 per year with a lifetime cap of $800. Grant amounts returned to $500 per year in March of 1998, and clients who had met the reduced lifetime maximum of $800 were informed that they could receive the additional $200.   

Providing nearly 4,000 individuals per year with a grant of up to $500 required AEF to raise an additional $500,000 annually, and collecting pennies was not enough. As HIV/AIDS continued taking lives and more people tested positive, the number of individuals needing assistance also continued to grow. Once again, the community responded by creating a variety of fundraising events in bars, homes, and community spaces. Some even put AEF in their wills, their final gift as many joined the ever-growing list of AIDS victims. The creation of the Bare Chest Calendar in 1994 joined the annual AEF Awards Dinner in funneling its proceeds directly to AEF grants. Ambassador James Hormel, who sadly passed last year, announced the Hearts of Gold Campaign at the AEF Awards dinner in 1997, asking the community to pledge recurring yearly donations of $500 or more to help support the growing need.   

In 2016, AIDS Emergency Fund merged with PRC (at that time known as Positive Resource Center) and was renamed Emergency Financial Assistance (EFA). PRC had been assisting HIV/AIDS clients since 1987 as AIDS Benefits Counselors by offering legal assistance in securing Social Security and disability benefits and helping to navigate through the cumbersome process. The merger was a natural fit for these two organizations serving the same population and provided a continuum of services that clients could move through on their path to better health and financial outcomes.  

The need for PRC’s Emergency Financial Assistance continues to this day. To keep up, PRC has grown in its operations and in its fundraising efforts. It now partners with the city and other public funders, foundations, and corporate donors in addition to individual supporters. This growth has helped to secure the funds needed to provide individuals with an annual maximum benefit of $500 with no lifetime maximum, and the possible addition of a $1,000 stipend to assist with a deposit for housing or to prevent an eviction. We are infinitely grateful for the continued support of all our donors who make this grantmaking possible and remain forever thankful to the countless staff and volunteers who helped build AEF and bring it into a new era, all of whom have a lot to be proud of.  

If you enjoyed reading about the history of the AIDS Emergency Fund and its transition to become PRC’s Emergency Financial Assistance and would like to support our programs, please consider making a donation. You can learn more about all of PRC’s services on our website. 

Big Changes in Medi-Cal Programs for 2022!

By Jason Cinq-Mars, Esq.

The State of California has made some significant changes to the Medi-Cal program in 2022. As of May 1, 2022, eligibility for full-scope Medi-Cal has expanded to include adults who meet Medi-Cal eligibility requirements and are aged 50 or older, regardless of immigration status. This expansion will immediately impact individuals who are on restricted scope benefits, also known as emergency Medi-Cal. These individuals will not need to take any action to receive full-scope Medi-Cal, but will automatically be transitioned to it. If you are not on restricted scope Medi-Cal, then you will need to complete and submit an application to apply. However, while a social security number and/or immigration status may be requested, it is not required to complete the Medi-Cal application.

Additionally, as of July 1, 2022, the State of California has increased the asset limit for non-MAGI Medi-Cal programs. Non-MAGI Medi-Cal programs include the Aged, Blind and Disabled, Medi-Cal with a share of cost, 250% Working Disabled Program, long-term care, and Medicare Savings Programs. Eligibility for these programs require participants to meet an asset or resource limit in order to qualify for benefits. Effective July 1, 2022, the asset limit will be increased from $2,000 for a single person and $3,000 for couples to $130,000 for a single person plus $65,000 for each additional family member. This substantial increase in the asset limit will allow beneficiaries on these programs to save and build their resources without jeopardizing their Medi-Cal enrollment.

Alisa Jackson, An Advocate for All!

“I get to see clients grow, access benefits, find housing, and become stable. It’s been really gratifying to work for PRC this long.” 

For many of PRC’s clients, Alisa Jackson is the first person they interact with on their quest for support. Having advocated for herself and countless others for nearly two decades, she’s appropriately earned the nickname Queen Bee of the legal team. She’s the go-to person when anyone has a question, and she does it all with compassion and a warm welcoming smile.  

A true San Francisco native, Alisa was raised in the Bayview and later in Pacifica, the result of her grandparents moving her family to the Bay Area from North Carolina in the 1960s. Following her roots, Alisa studied at the University of North Carolina but returned to San Francisco to pursue an additional degree in Paralegal Studies. Today Alisa lives in Oakland with her nine-year-old son, who shares her passion for philanthropy and social justice. Prior to the pandemic, Alisa and her “little buddy”, as she calls her son, were highly active in community service, delivering fresh produce from a friend’s co-op to the homeless encampments in East Oakland. When the world transitioned to working from home, her son got to witness Alisa working with clients firsthand. Since then, he has become an advocate in his own right in being respectful of people’s correct pronouns and does not hesitate to speak up and protect his friends. To Alisa and her son, no one is a stranger, and everyone is a friend.

What brought you to PRC? 

“While I was in college, I noticed that there weren’t many services in North Carolina, and I wanted to get involved. The variety of services in San Francisco was another aspect that stood out to me.  I decided that if there’s a way for me to be involved in the services that are helping my community, then I can also share this knowledge with friends and family members outside of San Francisco. With this information at my disposal, I can say: these are the resources that are out there. You may not have them in your state but in San Francisco, we have everything, so let me help you to navigate and find those resources in your community.

“Initially, my plan was to go to law school. I volunteered at the Eviction Defense Collaborative and thought, before I go to law school, I should find a job in the field and make sure this is what I want to do. I completed my paralegal certificate at City College and began looking for work at a nonprofit. PRC’s mission really spoke to me. I liked the idea of helping people who are HIV positive or living with mental health struggles. At that time, people with HIV weren’t living as long.  The mission is close to my heart because I have family members who have passed away from HIV. When I saw the posting for PRC, I thought, that sounds like something I can do. I decided to pursue more of a legal assistant role and try to earn some money before acquiring law school debt. I’ve done really well utilizing the skills I earned with my paralegal certificate, but law school is still on the table in the near future.”

Can you describe your role as the Supervising Legal Assistant? 

“Essentially I’m the go-to resource for all the different departments. I supervise a total of five legal assistants, and I work closely with the supervising attorneys and the managing legal director. I’m the gatekeeper because I navigate the calls that come in. Whether clients need help with social security, health care, or other legal needs, those calls come to me. I have a plethora of knowledge regarding PRC and the community members that we work with. My function is to support the attorneys in their role with helping people get their claims approved.“

How long have you been the Supervising Legal Assistant? 

“It’s been a solid six years now as the Supervising Legal Assistant. I advocated for a Senior Legal Assistant title by writing a letter explaining why I deserved the promotion after the first six years with PRC. Prior to that, the Senior title didn’t exist. I love my job and I enjoy helping others. I like to think that I help advocate for both staff and clients as well. I advocate for a lot of things. But I don’t try to force my way. I choose my battles. If I feel like something is wrong, I’m going to speak up about it.” 

What aspects of your job do you find rewarding?

“Clients who accessed services way back when our offices were located on Market Street are frequently surprised that I’m still here after so many years, and they are always so happy to see me. When I greet our African American clients, I get to see the pride and joy in their faces knowing that someone that looks like them will be representing them. I’m in a position of power and also a position of help. Representation is incredibly important. These types of connections are really special to me.”

There tend to be a lot of stigmas surrounding homelessness and mental health issues. For anyone who holds these feelings, what would you tell them to help change their perspective? 

“I was raised to respect all people, no matter what. There’s a lot of stigma or bias for people of color, African American women, the LGBT communities, or simply being part of certain groups. I say be respectful of all people, no matter what, because at the end of the day, when it comes to being homeless, especially in San Francisco, it can happen to anyone. One day you may lose your job. And you’ll be in the same position. My main objective is to put things in perspective. You never really know what a person has gone through, so be mindful of that.” 

For somebody who wants to help out, what’s the best way for them to get involved?

“Find an organization whose mission is dear to your heart and volunteer. There are so many organizations and many of them were created during COVID as people either lost their job or saw that there was a need and wanted to help. Do an online search. Look on Instagram. Find a local organization and volunteer once a week or month. Then spread the word and tell your community: hey, I’m helping such and such organization with a, b, and c, and try to bring friends. Start somewhere close to where you live. That way you’ll be making a direct impact on your local community. And if you have the means, please donate.”

What do you do to combat compassion fatigue? 

“I remind myself frequently that it could be me in the client’s shoes. There have been so many times where I’ve had a rough day, then I go to talk to a client, and they tell me that I just made their day. I gave them information that they didn’t know. Then I feel a lot better, and that puts me back on track. Sometimes I get overwhelmed, and then the phone will ring, and I think, should I take it? Then someone will tell me that they’re so thankful and grateful that I took the time to talk to them, and that always reminds me of why I’m here, and it makes it all rewarding.”

You’ve seen PRC grow for nearly 17 years. Do you see a difference in how clients feel coming into our new office building compared to how they felt when they accessed services at the Market Street location? 

“Due to COVID, we’re no longer in the office five days a week like we were, but we strive to help as many people as possible. We try our best, and I feel that for the most part, we succeed. For clients who received services at the old building, when they come into our new office and I see the expression on their face, they love it. I hope they see the new building as our commitment to them and providing a comfortable home-like atmosphere where they feel appreciated and valued.”  

Is there anything that you feel that our readers should know about the work being done here by you and your colleagues?

“Keep believing in PRC because we’re here for the long run. I know a lot of nonprofits don’t survive, but we’re still here. And there are still a lot of great people coming in and out. We serve San Francisco’s most vulnerable population, and they need your help too. Be kind, give smiles instead of judgment, and do the right thing, even if it’s the harder option. If you can, give back when you are able.” 

If you enjoyed getting to know Alisa and the impactful work she does for PRC’s clients, please consider making a donation to support our mission. If you would like to learn more about Legal Advocacy, PRC’s programs, or the wonderful staff at PRC, you can read more stories on our blog or visit our website.

In History: Medicare and Medicaid Celebrates the 55th Anniversary

On July 30, 1965, Medicare and Medicaid programs were establish when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the legislation them into law. This year marks the 55th anniversary of these important healthcare programs and they have continued to protect the health and well-being of millions of families, saving lives, and improving the economic security in the United States.

To learn more about Medicare and Medicaid in San Francisco follow this link: