Articles Posted in Elder Law

Hand with marker writing the word Bewareby Carmine Perri

You want to apply for Medicaid – a complicated process – but you’ve heard that hiring an attorney specializing in Medicaid planning is expensive.

So why not use one of those services that say they’ll do the same thing for less?

But do they really do the same thing? Continue reading

Nursing home written on a sticky noteCurrently there are more than 1.1 million Americans residing in nursing homes (over 19,000 in Connecticut) and it is estimated that more than 3,000 new nursing homes could need to be built to keep up with demand.

Among the factors leading to the need for increased high-quality nursing home facilities and care are industry-wide staffing shortages, rising costs, and an aging (baby boomer) population.

Consider these expected population trends and the nursing facility numbers in Connecticut and nationwide:

AdobeStock_714895354-300x300An RV (recreational vehicle) is a home away from home on wheels that gives you the ability to enjoy a romantic lifestyle of freedom and adventure on the open road. It’s a fabulous way to see the country, and often a cost-effective way to travel. 

It is also, however, a potential liability when it comes to qualifying for critical SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and Medicaid. 

Continue reading

AdobeStock_136516459-300x208Being a caregiver to an aging parent is both an act of love and a journey of challenge. Even if your parent doesn’t have any major health issues, you will likely face a variety of situations that are entirely unfamiliar.

It’s easy to end up feeling overwhelmed, out of your depth, and at a loss about how to make the right choices. And if there is a health issue or crisis, the stakes are that much higher, and the scenarios that much more complex. 

If you have the means to pay out of pocket for supplemental support, a geriatric care manager can help alleviate your anxiety, cover gaps in your knowledge, and even manage coordinating family engagement with caretaking. 

iStock_$GiftAs your parents age, their ability to take care of themselves will inevitably deteriorate over time. The changes may seem drastic, especially if you don’t see them often. How can you help them make their savings last and get the care they need where they want it – in their own home? A good plan with the help of an estate planning and elder law attorney can make all the difference.

Does this sound familiar?

There’s no place like home for the holidays. But now that the dishes are put away after the annual Thanksgiving feast, you begin to notice that Mom and Dad’s house is a little more chaotic than you remember.

You check in on them often by phone, but living several hours away from their home in Connecticut you don’t have much time for visits, except around the holidays.

Now, it’s pretty obvious that things are going downhill. Dad’s fine. Mom – the rock of the family – says she’s fine, too, but she has had a few falls recently and is having trouble Continue reading

AdobeStock_610049353-300x200In most cases, the Social Security benefits of a deceased spouse do pass to the surviving spouse, but there are some specific considerations to keep in mind when it comes to who is entitled to which benefits and how to apply for them. 

People are often unaware that they may be able to collect Social Security benefits from their deceased spouse — called survivors benefits — but it’s important to investigate the options as part of your financial planning. 

In addition to the surviving spouse, other family members — including certain children/dependents and parents of the deceased — may also be eligible. But for the purposes of this article, we will focus on spousal benefits. 

AdobeStock_637141132-300x168No one looks forward to applying for Medicaid. It’s a complex and grueling process, the rules are always changing, and there are so many things that can go wrong.

Unfortunately, as is often the case, there are companies that are only too willing to take advantage of this situation. These companies claim to be able to process your Medicaid application at a low cost.  But these non-attorneys may cause their customers great harm – putting Medicaid applicants at risk for a number of serious issues including denial of eligibility, severe tax liability, loss of spousal assets and other situations that may threaten the client’s life savings and other assets.

Often it is a nursing home that refers Medicaid applicants to these companies, so there is the very real possibility of a conflict of interest.

AdobeStock_165010797-300x200Elder law attorneys are often asked by clients about the difference between Medicare and Medicaid. While the names of these government-sponsored programs sound very similar, each has a distinct purpose and serves a specific audience. 

MEDICARE is a federal health insurance program. No matter what your income is, you can obtain Medicare benefits if you are 65 and over, or have a qualifying disability. The program is not free – you must pay part of the costs through deductibles for hospital stays and you must pay monthly premiums for coverage.

MEDICAID is a federal and state financial assistance program for people over 65, people with disabilities, children, pregnant women and parents of eligible children. To be eligible for Medicaid benefits, individuals from these groups must also have low income. Because it is run jointly by the state and the federal government, rules and eligibility requirements vary state by state

caution-cropped-300x291On March 31st, a change to Medicaid eligibility that was brought about by the onset of COVID-19, is scheduled to come to an end.

A federal policy that had allowed states to temporarily suspend redetermination – the process by which renewal of Medicaid benefits for recipients is reconfirmed – will stop.

Further, the Medicaid continuous coverage requirement will no longer be contingent to the end date of the COVID public health emergency.

Dollarphotoclub_86843572-300x200Transfers of assets generally raise a red flag when it comes to applying for Medicaid. They can trigger a penalty period, or a period of ineligibility.

The good news is the Connecticut Department of Social Services (DSS) will allow certain types of Medicaid asset transfers. For example, a family caregiver can be compensated for providing care to a loved one if the care they provide is necessary.

The rationale is this: DSS recognizes that when family members pitch in and provide needed care for a loved one, they are helping that person delay or avoid placement in a nursing home.

Making a caregiver agreement

Although your loved one can’t just give away his or her money to qualify for Medicaid, he or she can pay a family member who is providing care without jeopardizing eligibility for Medicaid. An individual must demonstrate a functional need for assistance with one or more activities of daily living. The type of care provided must be spelled out in a caregiver agreement, and certain conditions must be met. Continue reading

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