Melissa Negrin-Wiener, a senior associate attorney with the Melville-based Elder Law and Estate Planning firm Cona Elder Law PLLC (Cona Elder Law), is a recipient of the 2009 LI Public Interest Attorney Award given by the Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center. The award will be presented on April 1st at Touro’s Goods and Services Auction where Ms. Negrin-Wiener will be honored for her commitment to public interest and pro bono work.
Over the past six months, Ms. Negrin-Wiener, a resident of Smithtown, spent hundreds of pro bono hours to help 20 veterans complete the complex and lengthy 20 page application for Aid and Attendance benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Ms. Negrin-Wiener is one of only a handful of attorneys on Long Island accredited by the agency to prepare, present and prosecute claims before the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Continuing to head up this pro bono project on behalf of Cona Elder Law, she meets with the veterans and their families to gather extensive information and documentation regarding their military service, condition of discharge, asset and income information, medical issues, and the type of assistance needed with the activities of daily living (i.e., dressing, feeding, bathing, etc.). In addition, she advises the veterans about any future Medicaid eligibility consequences that may arise from their planning for the Aid and Attendance benefit.
The additional income available through this program enables veterans to stay at home with care giving assistance or it can be applied toward the costs of an assisted living facility. “As an elder law attorney practicing in this current economy, I see a real need for seniors to avail themselves of any benefits and programs for which they are eligible to help age in place or in a setting that suits their needs and wishes,” says Ms. Negrin-Wiener.
As a senior associate at Cona Elder Law, Ms. Negrin-Wiener concentrates her practice in the areas of: asset protection planning, Medicaid planning, guardianships, Veterans benefits and estate planning. Appointed by the Supreme and Surrogate Courts, she is a State Certified Guardian ad Litem and Court Evaluator.
Ms. Negrin-Wiener is a member of both the Nassau and Suffolk County Bar Associations Elder Law Committees, and the Elder Law Section of the New York State Bar Association. She is also the co-chair of the Suffolk County Women’s Bar Association Elder Law Committee. Her other affiliations include: the Senior Umbrella Networks of Nassau and Suffolk Counties, the Gerontology Professionals of New York, the Advanced Elder Law Focus Group, the Library Connection and the Smithtown Lioness Club, where she is the past secretary.
She is a frequent lecturer on a variety of Medicaid and estate planning topics at professional organizations, assisted living facilities and senior citizen groups. As the chair of Cona Elder Law’s Charitable Events, a not-for-profit organization, Ms. Negrin-Wiener dedicates much of her time to raising money for charitable causes to enhance the quality of life for the elderly and underprivileged.
Ms. Negrin-Wiener graduated from Binghamton University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy, Politics and Law. She received her Juris Doctor from Hofstra University.
Genser Dubow Genser Dubow & Cona is recognized as a leading elder law and estate planning firm on Long Island. The firm provides a full range of services and has been featured in many publications including: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Newsday, L.I. Business News, Reader's Digest and many others. Cona Elder Law attorneys have appeared as guests on WNBC-TV, CNNfn, News 12, News 55, Channel 21 "Act II With Newsday" and many radio stations including WOR, WCBS AM and WFAN.