Articles Posted in Elder Law

grandma-and-young-adult-head-to-head-300x200By Esther Corcoran

Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of growing older, as many people seem to think. It is a disease that impairs memory and intellectual abilities to the point where their daily life is being affected. When people notice things in their daily life changing, there are 10 early signs to be aware of and to keep into consideration before seeking medical help.

1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life. Memory loss is one of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s, especially forgetting recently learned information. Other instances include forgetting important dates or events; asking for the same information over and over; increasingly needing to rely on memory aids (e.g., reminder notes or electronic devices) or family members for things they used to handle on their own.

AdobeStock_158377229-300x200Applying for Medicaid benefits can be overwhelming.

Between the paperwork, the ever-changing rules and regulations, and the inevitable waiting game that you’re up against, there’s a lot you need to know.

Here is information to get you started and hopefully, to make it easier for you.

Dollarphotoclub_69690745-300x212In 2022, Americans with disabilities will receive a significant increase in their Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and in other Social Security benefits.

According to the Social Security Administration, monthly SSI payments are going up 5.9%, a change that started as of December 30, 2021 for SSI payments and Social Security benefits paid in January 2022.

The increase is a result of the yearly COLA (cost-of-living) adjustment and inflation and based on the Consumer Price Index determined by the U.S. Department of Labor. (The COLA increase is the largest since 1982!)

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.

Older Americans ProtectionThe Older Americans Act (OAA) originally passed in 1965, the same year Medicare and Medicaid were added to the Social Security Act. It was a banner year for older Americans, establishing funding for needed medical care and social services.

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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

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