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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • March 26, 2014

    March 26, 2014   Medicaid Planning

    How Not to Lose the Nest Egg

    Retirees have often spent many years building their nest egg. Once retired, it is important to carefully watch this nest egg so it will last through the end of life.  For most people that could be 20 years or more. Unfortunately, many retirees make the same financial mistakes that can exhaust their nest eggs way too soon.  Many of you may have had clients that made similar mistakes. Here are five of the top mistakes retirees make, according to a recent article on wsj.com.  1)    Making Big Purchases  Sure, people want to reward themselves after a lifetime of work. But some retirees adopt a “You Only Live Once” attitude and go crazy. The author cites one man who bought a $50,000 boat soon after retiring. He had planned to try to live... Read More

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  • March 25, 2014

    March 25, 2014   Medicaid Planning

    Keep or Drop Long Term Care Insurance with Rising Premiums?

    As elder law attorneys, you are probably well versed in the staggering costs of long term care, along with the high premiums that your clients typically pay for long term care insurance. According to a recent New York Times article, over the last several years insurance carriers in this market have been seeking to increase premiums in order to cover their losses in this arena. Some insurance carriers have actually left the market, while others seek approval from state insurance commissions to dramatically increase premiums. Are you looking for information on how to counsel your clients on whether to keep or let go of their long term care insurance as prices skyrocket? In this article, ElderCounsel Principals Howard Krooks and Vincent Russo weigh in on parameters to consider when consultin... Read More

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  • March 10, 2014

    March 10, 2014   Medicaid Planning

    Caring for the Caregiver: New Book Offers Tips

    Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or any other form of dementia is a constant challenge. New problems arise almost daily. Just getting the person to take a bath may be an all-day battle. A new book, Support for Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregivers: The Unsung Heroes, by Dr. Judith London, details these issues by telling 54 different stories about different situations confronting caregivers. The book, according to an article in the New York Times, offers readers suggestions that could help other people in similar situations. The types of challenges outlined in the stories in the book include such things as convincing patients or other relatives that there is a problem in the first place. Many people are in denial or think some mental lapses are simply the re... Read More

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  • February 20, 2014

    February 20, 2014   Medicaid Planning

    Time to Renew Grandma’s Passport? Elder Care Outsourced Overseas

    In the last 30 years we have seen the outsourcing of large scale production and customer-service needs to countries such as China and India. However, a recent article discusses the possibility of a new trend in out-sourcing: elder care. The article describes a middle-aged Swiss woman who sent her 91 year-old mother to an assisted living facility after the mother became too challenging to care for in the home due to increased dementia. Increased costs in Swiss health care was a primary reason cited for the decision, as well as receiving more eldercare bang-for-the-buck in Thailand.The financial burden of saving for one’s retirement, the children’s college, and increased costs of living are taking their toll on families around the world, and Switzerland is no exception. The wides... Read More

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  • February 6, 2014

    February 6, 2014   Medicaid Planning

    Are Your Aging Loved Ones (and Clients) Safe From Exploitation?

    The population of aging seniors with Alzheimer’s disease is expected to double or even triple by the year 2050, according to a recent article. Last year in Massachusetts alone there were 21,000 reports of suspected elder financial abuse. The losses in 2011 for financial elder abuse nationwide is estimated to be around $2.9 billion, with women in the 80-89 age bracket falling in the most common victims and males in the 30-60 age bracket as the prime perpetrators, many of whom are family members, neighbors, and friends of the family. Though tests and initiatives are being devised to help thwart the increase in financial elder abuse, State Representative Paul Brodeur believes “that exploitation will be a growth industry.” Elders living alone are nearly twice as suscepti... Read More

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