A new award has been created to honor one of the nation’s preeminent legal advocates for the elderly, whose voice has been tempered by illness. The Center for Medicare Advocacy (CMA) has established the Alfred J. Chiplin, Jr., Social Justice & Advocacy Award for “Chip” Chiplin, a Senior Policy Attorney with the organization. The “Chip Award” will be given annually to an individual who works to advance civility in society and social justice for all.
This is something that Chip has done for decades, first as a consulting attorney with the Consumer Coalition for Quality Health Care, then as a staff attorney for the National Senior Citizens Law Center, and since 1995 at the CMA. Chip has also been an integral part of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA). He is a NAELA Fellow and served on the academy’s board of directors, including the executive committee. For many years, Chip has been co-editor-in-chief of the annually updated Medicare Handbook (Wolters Kluwer) as well.
Chip was diagnosed with cancer in 2015 and has been working while undergoing numerous treatments since then. He recently began a medical leave to try a new, hopeful treatment. This means that, for the first time in many years, the elder law community is without Chip’s unfailingly polite but tireless advocacy for the legal rights of seniors.
Members of the elder law community may be unaware of Chip’s non-legal interests and accomplishments. In addition to being a lawyer he is an ordained minister who has served in many pastor and chaplain capacities. And then there is his musical side: he sang in a chorus at Washington, D.C.’s National Cathedral, and he plays the piano and has written the lyrics to a number of musical pieces with a friend who composes the music. In addition to these pursuits, Chip adores his two nieces and his dog, Homer T.
“Chip is without doubt one of the most decent human beings I’ve ever known,” said the CMA’s executive director, Judy Stein. “He is kind, courteous, keenly intelligent and full of good humor. He is a determined advocate and has used his special blend of care and lawyering skills to truly be a ‘counselor’ at law for myriad individuals and important systemic change. His integrity and grit are a model for all. I count his friendship as one of life’s great blessings.”
The Chip Award will be presented at the Center for Medicare Advocacy’s annual National Voices of Medicare Summit & Sen. Jay Rockefeller Lecture on March 30th in Washington, D.C. The inaugural awardee will be Ben Belton, Senior Advisor to the Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration during the Obama Administration.