Elder law attorneys focus on legal matters that are of particular interest to senior citizens. Their services are in great demand at the present time because of an unusual demographic phenomenon that is unfolding.
The baby boomer generation is reaching retirement age, and this is transforming the makeup of the population here in the United States. To give you an idea of the impact, the Social Security Administration is accepting between 10,000 and 15,000 applications each and every day.
This has been going on for a while, and it is not going to change any time soon. Since so many people are preparing for their golden years, questions abound. In this post, we will endeavor to provide some answers so you can go forward with some useful knowledge.
Is there any one elder law issue that stands above the rest?
Yes, there is one matter that everyone should take very seriously. If you work and pay self-employment or payroll taxes for at least 10 years, you will qualify for Medicare when you reach the age of 65.
Since this is a health care program for senior citizens, it would be logical to assume that it is set up to cover nursing home expenses. In fact, this is not the case at all. Medicare will pay for custodial care after an injury or illness, but it does not pay for the custodial care that nursing homes provide.
Do a lot of elders actually need long-term care?
You may be unpleasantly surprised to hear that 70 percent of people that reach the age of 65 will need some form of long-term care eventually. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, 35 percent of seniors will reside in nursing homes at some point.
Are nursing homes expensive?
The average monthly cost for nursing home care is about $13,000 in Connecticut, and the average length of stay is 12 months. Married couples must brace themselves for two different rounds of nursing home expenses.
Can you purchase long-term care insurance?
Yes, this type of coverage does exist. However, it can be cost prohibitive if you get the coverage when you are up there in years.
Is there any other solution?
Medicaid is another government health insurance program that will pay for long-term care. You are probably aware of the fact it is only available to people that have very limited resources.
In Connecticut, there is a $1600 limit on countable assets, but the word “countable” is quite operable, because some things that you probably have in your possession do not count.
What are these items?
Your home is not countable, but there is an equity limit of $893,000 in Connecticut in 2020. One vehicle is permitted, and you can maintain possession of your wedding ring, your engagement ring, and your heirloom jewelry.
The things that you have around your house and your personal belongings are not countable assets for Medicaid purposes. Prepaid burial plots are exempt along with $1500 that is set aside for final expenses. Whole life insurance that is worth no more than $1500 is allowed, along with unlimited term life insurance.
Can you just give the countable assets to your children?
Yes, this can be done, but you have to act in advance. There is a five year Medicaid look back period. If you divest yourself of assets, you have to wait five years before you can obtain Medicaid eligibility.
Is there any other elder law matter that I should be aware of?
Elder financial abuse has become a major problem that is getting more and more attention. However, it is possible to protect yourself if you take the proper legal steps.
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