Long-Term Care Insurance Policies

While long-term care insurance costs are up in general, some policies are going down in 2018, according to the 2018 Long Term Care Insurance Price Index, an annual report from the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI), an industry group. A married couple who are both 60 years old would pay an average of $3,490 a…

Avoid Sibling Disputes Over Caregiving

Caring for an elderly parent can be stressful for families. Siblings may disagree over how to provide care or where a parent will live, and if these squabbles escalate into a guardianship battle, it can cost the family thousands of dollars. To avoid this, lawyers have begun drafting sibling agreements (also called family care agreements)….

What Happens When a Nursing Home Closes

A nursing home closure can be traumatic for residents who are forced to move. While there may not be much that can be done to prevent a closure, residents do have some rights. Moving into a nursing home can be a stressful experience on its own. If that nursing home closes, residents can experience symptoms…

Home Health Care Patients With Chronic Conditions

Medicare is supposed to provide up to 35 hours a week of home care to those who qualify, but many Medicare patients with chronic conditions are being wrongly denied such care, according to Kaiser Health News. For a variety of reasons, many home health care agencies are simply telling patients they are not covered. Medicare…

Discharged Student Loan Debt

Among its many other provisions, the newly enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act offers significant tax savings for people forced to default on their student loan debt due to a disability. Generally, it is almost impossible to have student loan debt forgiven. It is not even dischargeable in bankruptcy. In fact, the Higher Education Act provides for just two…

How to Earn Additional Income Without Losing SSI Benefits

Although Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients are subject to rigid asset limits, the federal government has provided a few avenues for beneficiaries to earn income that supplements their SSI benefit. The Social Security Act imposes a $2,000 asset limit on SSI beneficiaries, a figure that has remained frozen since 1989. For couples, the limit is $3,000.  For…

Most special needs trusts give their trustee wide authority, often appropriately so, to respond to unforeseen circumstances. But for those concerned about placing some checks and balances on the trustee’s authority, one possible option is a care committee. Special needs trusts are trusts designed to protect the assets of a person with disabilities. The trustee is…

Medicaid Work Requirement

In guidance released to state Medicaid agencies, the Trump administration announced January 11 that it would allow states to experiment with creating work requirements for certain recipients of federal Medicaid benefits.  In states adopting the guidance, some Medicaid recipients would be required to work in order to stay eligible for benefits. The 10-page guidance document specifies that the work…

give away tax free in 2018

After staying the same for five years, the amount you can give away to any one individual in a particular year without reporting the gift will increase in 2018. The annual gift tax exclusion for 2018 is rising from $14,000 to $15,000. This means that any person who gives away $15,000 or less to any one individual…

Medicare Launches Hospice Compare Website

Patients looking for hospice care can now get help from Medicare’s website. The agency’s new Hospice Compare site allows patients to evaluate hospice providers according to several criteria. The site is a good start, but there is room for improvement, experts say. Medicare’s comprehensive hospice benefit covers any care that is reasonable and necessary for easing…

© 2015 MATTHEW L. MERCER | Attorney at Law

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