Tue, 29 January 2008
I was speaking with someone the other day who told me her Social Security monthly check declined from 2007 to 2008 and asked if that was possible or a mistake. While the government does on occasion make mistakes (hard to believe), an increase in the Medicare Part B premium may have resulted in the decrease. Part B generally covers outpatient services, such as doctors visits and home health services. Medicare recipients pay a portion of the premium for this benefit, which increases every year. (In 2008 the premium is $96.40.) The monthly Social Security benefit also increases, resulting in a net increase in the monthly check from year to year.
This year, however, for the first time, higher income beneficiaries will pay a higher premium for Part B. Individuals with income between $82,000 and $102,000 per year will pay a monthly premium of $122.20. Married couples with income between $164,000 and $204,000 will pay the same premium amount. There are 3 other income levels which result in higher premiums, the top level being $205,000 per year of income for individuals and $410,000 for married couples. The premium in that case is $238.40 per month.
Category:Medicare -- posted at: 9:00am EDT
Fri, 18 January 2008
Every so often, I come across a situation that illustrates so clearly the dangers of going it alone or getting bad advice when dealing with the common issues and dilemmas that are aging in America. I received a call this week from a son in Mississippi. Mom and Dad, no longer able to live at home alone, moved in with Son. They owned their home in New Jersey which they transferred to Son.
Dad's health deteriorated to the point where he needed nursing home care. The couple then spent down their assets and applied for nursing home care for Dad. Meanwhile Son placed the New Jersey home up for sale.
Much to their surprise, the family was informed that the state Medicaid office denied Dad's application. Why? Because the transfer of the home to Son caused a Medicaid ineligibility period. Dad cannot receive Medicaid for 4 and 1/2 years. In other words, Son must give the money back to Mom and Dad and they must spend it down before Dad will receive Medicaid.
Son said that he was prepared to pay for Dad's care. I advised him to seek the advice of an elder law attorney in his state familiar with the Medicaid laws there before he does that. It may make more sense for Mom to take some of the money and buy a new home which would be exempt from Medicaid. There are other strategies that may be beneficial as well and should be explored in greater detail.
The lesson to be learned is to consult with a professional before making any decisions. There is a maze of laws and services in this country that affect seniors. It is easy to get tripped up by them and the cost to your family could be enormous.
Tue, 1 January 2008
In the debut of his podcast, Elder Law Today, Yale Hauptman, a practicing New Jersey elder law attorney, explains what elder law is and how an elder law attorney can be a valuable counselor to seniors and their families. Learn how elder law differs from traditional estate planning. A will, while important, addresses only one scenario, what happens when one dies. Elder law, however, encompasses so much more, what can be termed life planning or long term care planning. In other words, what happens if I don’t die, but instead have a lengthy illness, need increased care, (ie. home care, assisted living, or nursing home care) and do not have the funds to pay for it indefinitely.
Yale discusses the need to have a plan in place, one that includes the necessary documents (ie. power of attorney, health care directive, will, trust) but also brings the family together to work towards a common goal of assisting the senior family member to tackle head on the legal and social issues associated with aging and navigating through the maze of laws and available government benefits.
In the second segment, Yale interviews his first guest, Matthew Glass, a certified special needs advisor. Matthew explains how he assists young families with special needs children. Yale and Matthew then discuss how special needs planning will increase in frequency as parents age and are faced with their own long term care needs. Because that care is expensive, without proper planning they may be forced to spend most or all of their assets on their own care, leaving nothing for their children with special needs. A specifically tailored plan, usually involving a special needs trust, can avoid this drastic result and provide peace of mind to families.
To listen to the show click here
Here is how you can contact Matthew Glass
732-632-5854 or 800-333-7964 visit the The RHG Group Website
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Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:40pm EDT