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  • September 22, 2014

    September 22, 2014   Practice Building Ideas,   Medicaid Planning

    Hiring a Medicaid Paralegal: Creating Profits and Value for Your Elder Law Practice

    By Alisa Spirit of the Wind

    Following on the series of interviewing ElderCounsel and Office Management members to provide an opportunity for them to share success stories and tools that have worked particularly well for them, and offer tips for colleagues, this month I had the pleasure of interviewing Michael Luizzi with the Pierro Law Group in upstate New York. I spoke with Mike about his role as Medicaid and Long Term Care Paralegal at the Pierro Law Group and his journey to become a dedicated paralegal in this arena. We also discussed the benefits an elder law practice can realize through hiring a paralegal dedicated to this area of work and how attorneys can find qualified candidates for this position.   Mike’s Story Mike began in the Medicaid field by working as a Welfare Examiner in a local Departmen... Read More


  • September 8, 2014

    September 8, 2014   Medicaid Planning

    Idaho Further Expands the Definition of "Estate" for Recovery Purposes

    ElderCounsel is committed to sharing pertinent case information with our members and the entire elder law community. As such, we hope you find the memorandum below, prepared by Rene Reixach, J.D., a member of the ElderCounsel National Advisory Board, informative as it discusses a recent case in Idaho that bears relevance for the definition of estate subject to Medicaid recovery and how relief can be sought through an appeal on the federal level.   The Idaho Supreme Court has again adopted a very expansive definition of the property which is subject to Medicaid estate recovery.  In Idaho Dep’t of Health & Welfare v. Peterson, 2014 Ida. LEXIS 217 (Aug. 13, 2014), the court held that the remainder interest in a home in which the deceased Medicaid recipient had reserved a l... Read More


  • September 2, 2014

    September 2, 2014   Medicaid Planning

    Shockingly High Percentage of Seniors Report Financial Exploitation

    A new study reported recently in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found an appallingly high percentage of senior citizens reported being taken advantage of financially.   Just as sadly, more often than not a relative of the victim, the study found, perpetrated this form of elder abuse.   “Financial exploitation of older adults is a common and serious problem, and especially happens to elders from groups traditionally considered to be economically, medically and socio-demographically vulnerable,” Janey Peterson, of Weill Cornell Medical College was quoted as saying in a press release announcing the publication of the study. “In addition to robbing older adults of resources, dignity and quality of life, it is likely costing our society dearly in the form o... Read More


  • August 18, 2014

    August 18, 2014   Medicaid Planning

    Planning Required in Naming Retirement Plan Beneficiaries

    Some retirement plans live on after the retired person no longer is alive.   What happens after the death of the person with whom the 401(k) or other instrument originated can get messy without proper planning, but a recent article on the website Bankrate.com quoted an expert on Individual Retirement Accounts as saying that often that planning doesn’t take place. Things can become especially complicated if circumstances dictate that the beneficiary should be someone other than the spouse of the retired individual.   “Choosing your retirement plan beneficiary is one of the most far-reaching financial decisions you can make, yet most people give it very little thought,” according to the article by Sonya Stinson. “But if you want control over where the retire... Read More


  • August 5, 2014

    August 5, 2014   Medicaid Planning

    Few Have Long-Term Care Insurance, But Most Will Need It

    A 2010 poll by the SCAN Foundation, “an independent, non-profit public charity devoted to transforming care for older adults in ways that preserve dignity and encourage independence,” found that not many Californians are taking steps to accomplish dignity and independence for themselves as they age, according to a recent story in the Los Angeles Times.   The study, conducted in conjunction with the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research found that most residents 40 and older don’t have long-term care insurance, mistakenly believing that Medicare is there for that purpose.   “When you ask them, ‘Does Medicare cover long-term custodial care?’ only a third know that the answer is no,” Steven Wallace, associate director of the UCLA Center for... Read More


  • June 30, 2014

    June 30, 2014   Medicaid Planning

    IRAs as Countable Assets for a Community Spouse

    ElderCounsel is committed to sharing pertinent case information with our members and the entire elder law community. As such, we hope you find the article below informative as it discusses the usage of IRAs as countable assets for a community spouse.   The latest in a line of cases from various states holding that an IRA or other retirement account of a community spouse is not exempt in determining Medicaid eligibility for the institutionalized spouse is Ark. Dep’t of Human Svcs. v. Pierce, 2014 Ark. 251 (May 29, 2014).  This is a problem in many states, and it may become a problem in other states which currently exempt spousal retirement accounts but may change their policies in the future.   Mr. Pierce entered a nursing home in July, 2010, but it was not until Decemb... Read More


  • June 27, 2014

    June 27, 2014   Medicaid Planning

    General Accountability Office Releases New Report on Medicaid Eligibility

    By Valerie Peterson

    The title of the report, released June 23, 2014, is “Financial Characteristics of Approved Applicants and Methods Used to Reduce Assets to Qualify for Nursing Home Coverage.”  The General Accountability Office (GAO) reviewed 294 approved Medicaid nursing home applications in 3 states:  New York, Florida and South Carolina as part of its study. The study is 52 pages long and can be found on the GAO website, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-473.  Below are a few of the findings made in this extensive study:   1.  41% of applicants had total resources, countable and noncountable, of $2,500 or less.  14% had over $100,000 in total resources.   2.  The GAO report identified 4 “main methods” used by applicants to reduce count... Read More


  • June 24, 2014

    June 24, 2014   Medicaid Planning

    When Is Improved Pension Countable Income for Medicaid Purposes?

    ElderCounsel is interested in sharing pertinent case information with our members and the entire elder law community to support you in staying abreast of changes that are relevant to this practice area. Below is a summary of a recent case in New Jersey that analyzed the SSI and federal rules to explain the interplay between improved pension and Medicaid.   The interplay between benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (the “DVA”) and the Medicaid program can be confusing both to beneficiaries and to Medicaid agencies, in part due to the sometimes cryptic notices issued by the DVA.  It will come as no surprise to attorneys in New Jersey that its Medicaid program has persisted in being “confused” about this, even in the face of several lawsuits. ... Read More


  • May 28, 2014

    May 28, 2014   Medicaid Planning

    How to recognize when elders are neglecting themselves

    We know that it gets harder for people to care for themselves the older they get. Yet signs that our elders are failing to take proper care of their own needs are often missed. Family members who serve as caregivers must learn to recognize when their loved ones are failing to care for themselves properly. This includes such things as hygiene, home maintenance and finances, for example, according to an article on familyprivatecareinc.com.  Those who are neglecting themselves often display these signs:   *  Not eating properly or not eating enough   *  Inadequate personal hygiene, including not doing laundry   *  Failing to get proper medical attention   *  Being isolated   *  Hoarding behavior   *  Not making home repairs... Read More


  • May 21, 2014

    May 21, 2014   Medicaid Planning

    New NIH Tool Helps Deal with Issues Around Dying

    There has been lots of talk lately about the need for initiating conversations with aging family members over their end-of-life wishes.  The talk is usually over the need for advance directives to avoid extraordinary measures being taken to extend life when the person doesn’t want that done. But nobody really talks about what to expect when death is close, as highlighted in a recent article in the New York Times. Issues that are typically avoided include:   *  How to deal with pain   * How to deal with dyspnea or shortness of breath   *  How are palliative care and hospice care different?   *  What are the actual physical and emotional signs of approaching death?As noted in the article, these are issues that “nobody wants to talk abo... Read More