Articles Posted in Elder Law

Worried womanIf you want Medicaid in Connecticut to pay for your long-term care, one thing you should NOT do is give away your assets – unless you think you won’t need Medicaid within the next five years.

When you apply for Medicaid for long-term care in either a nursing facility or in your home, you are required to provide financial records for the past five years. This is called the “look back” period. Continue reading

Medicare-300x169While Medicare does not pay for long-term care, it will cover up to 100 days of care in a skilled nursing facility (SNF). There are, however, some fairly stringent and somewhat confusing qualifications patients must meet before Medicare will extend this benefit. Unfortunately, because there is some nuance to the rules, many patients find themselves having to pay for SNF care they assumed would be covered.

To help you navigate the ins and outs of Medicare’s SNF benefit, we put together a quick cheat sheet that explains the basics and a few of the details that are not always so obvious.

The Basic Requirements: Hospital Stays, Observation, and Skilled Care

Safe and moneyBy Lara Schneider-Bomzer

Purchasing annuities is a good way for married couples to protect assets, but doing it wrong could mean huge penalties. Here is what you need to know about annuities as it relates to Medicaid planning in Connecticut:

If your spouse is residing in a nursing home or is in need of home care, chances are you’ve read our blogs about the ways to protect your assets and qualify your spouse for Medicaid benefits. But not all strategies apply to all couples.

Just as a refresher, under the Medicaid rules, the Institutionalized Spouse (IS) may only have a maximum of $1,600 in assets in his name.  The Community Spouse (CS) may have a house, a car and up to half of a maximum of $130,380, called the Community Spouse Protected Amount (CSPA).  While there are income requirements for the IS, the CS may have as much income as she receives with no limit.

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social-security-300x200If a loved one has named you as their POA (Power of Attorney), you now have written permission to help manage that loved one’s financial decisions during his or her lifetime.

It’s a powerful document.  It puts complete trust and authority in you to handle the financial matters of the person who has named you as their agent.

Depending on how the document is constructed, as POA, you may have the authority to oversee transactions such as changing beneficiary designations, accessing a safe deposit box, dealing with the IRS and the State on tax matters, or creating, funding, and requesting distributions from trusts.

Ask-the-question-300x200Many a well-intentioned family member has taken on the responsibility of caring for an aging parent only to realize that they’ve committed to more than they can handle on their own.

And many more people will need to step into a caregiver role in the coming years.

The U.S. Census Bureau projects that the population of people 65 and older will grow by approximately 50% over the next 30 years!

Mature Couple Calculating Coin In The PiggybankIf you haven’t heard of the Medicare Savings Program, today may be your lucky day. You could save thousands of dollars a year on medical costs courtesy of the State of Connecticut and Medicaid.

The Medicare Savings Program covers

  • out-of-pocket expenses for premiums,
  • deductibles
  • co-pays
  • and subsidizes your prescriptions drug costs if you are an eligible Medicare beneficiary.

Do you meet the criteria?  Continue reading

Who Blue cubes. Part of a series.

There are many ways a trustee of a special needs trust could cause harm to a beneficiary, however unintentionally. This is why many people choose to have a disability planning attorney take on this critical role.

Here are 10 things to consider when deciding who should administer a special needs trust:

1. SSI, SSDI, Medicare, Medicaid… sound confusing? It can feel like alphabet soup to the uninitiated. Does the prospective trustee understand the differences between these public benefit programs and the rules that govern them? A trustee with limited understanding could unwittingly jeopardize a beneficiary’s eligibility.

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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

pen in hand writing on the white page

The day your loved one enters a nursing facility is not a great day. Aside from your own emotional strain you will try valiantly to let your loved one know that you will stay close and advocate for his or her needs.

And then there’s the paperwork. Lots of it.

Should you sign the nursing home agreement right then? Do you understand what it all means and that if you’re not careful, you could end up in nursing home litigation?

Consider this story…

Robert, a family man in his fifties, agreed to bring his wife’s Uncle Jack to the nursing facility and to get him settled in.

When they arrived, Jack was brought to his room and Robert was shepherded to the admissions office where he sat down in front of the admissions coordinator.  Sitting in front of Robert, stacked a couple of inches thick, were admissions documents Continue reading

StethoscopeMoneyA federal court ruled that hospitals may retain a patient in their building under “observation status” rather than formally admitting them, and that such “observation status” does not count as a hospital stay for nursing home Medicare qualification purposes.

Medicare (not to be confused with Medicaid or Title 19) provides a limited nursing home benefit. If a nursing home resident spends three nights in a hospital and then is discharged to a nursing home for some type of rehabilitation services, the nursing home resident is entitled to Medicare benefits at the nursing home for up to 100 days. Medicare will pay the entire bill for the first 20 days and, for the next 80 days, Medicare will continue to pay a portion of the bill and the nursing home resident must pay a portion. In 2021, the nursing home resident must pay $185.50/day and Medicare pays the balance (many nursing home residents have a Medicare supplemental insurance policy to cover the $185.50/day). The Medicare benefit can save a nursing home resident tens of thousands of dollars.

So what does “observation status” have to do with all of this?

Under Medicare regulations for hospitals, if a hospital admits a patient and Continue reading

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