People sometimes procrastinate about certain responsibilities, and they fail to take action because they do not really know how they should proceed. This enters the picture when it comes to planning ahead for the eventualities of aging.
In fairness, when you are going through the different stages of life, your senior years can seem like they are a world away. However, time does fly, and before you know it, matters that are of interest to senior citizens may become quite relevant to you.
If you are looking for information about the eventualities that you may face during your elder years, you may want to discuss the future with an elder law attorney. These legal professionals are dedicated to the interests of seniors, and you should certainly act in an informed manner so that you can brace yourself for some of the challenges that elders often face.
In this paper, we will provide you with a bit of basic information as we provide a question-and-answer exchange. You can obtain comprehensive answers to these questions if you set up a consultation with a licensed elder law attorney in your area.
Will my retirement needs be met by Medicare and Social Security?
It is true that most people will qualify for Medicare and Social Security. You obtain eligibility through the accumulation of retirement credits. In 2016, you get one credit for every $1260 that you earn, and you can earn up to four credits in a year. Once you have 40 credits assigned to you, you will qualify for these programs when you reach the respective eligibility ages.
We are using “ages” in the plural because the eligibility age for Medicare is different than the eligibility age for Social Security. Everyone who is qualified becomes eligible for Medicare at the age of 65. Depending on the year of your birth, you will qualify for your full Social Security benefit when you are between 66 and 67 years of age under currently existing laws.
These benefits will help, but the answer is no, all of your needs are probably not going to be met by Medicare and Social Security. The average Social Security payout is only $1341 a month for an individual in 2016, and the average for a couple when both people are receiving a benefit is $2212.
This amount of money is not going to get you on many cruises during your golden years, so you should certainly take steps to develop a nest egg and some added sources of income.
When it comes to Medicare, there are out-of-pocket expenses to contend with for covered treatments and services. These would include deductibles, co-payments, and monthly premiums.
Does Medicare pay for long-term care?
The answer to this question is a resounding no. Medicare does not pay for nursing home care, because it is considered to be custodial care rather than medical or convalescent care.
Are nursing homes very expensive?
That would depend upon your definition of expensive, but most people would say yes. In the state of Connecticut where we practice law, the median charge for a year in a nursing home is just over $160,000, and people often spend multiple years receiving nursing home care.
Is there any government assistance available to people who need long-term care?
Medicaid is the solution for many people. This is a government health insurance program that does pay for long-term care, but it is intended for people who have very limited financial resources. There is a $2000 limit on countable assets.
As a response, people often give gifts to their loved ones before they apply, but it takes careful planning to do this effectively.
Advance planning is important because there is a five-year look-back period. If you give gifts to your loved ones to get personal property out of your own name to qualify for Medicaid, you have to completely gift giving at least five years before you apply.
If you violate this rule, your eligibility is delayed. The duration of the delay would be determined based on the amount of the divestitures as they compare to nursing home costs in Connecticut. For example, if you gave away enough to pay for one year of nursing home care, your eligibility would be delayed by one year.
Schedule a Consultation With an Elder Law Attorney
If you would like to have your own question and answer session with a licensed elder law attorney, we are standing by to help. Our firm offers no obligation consultations, and we can get to know you and answer any questions that you may have.
To set up an appointment, call us at 860-548-1000 or send us a message through our contact page.