Family Elder Law Expert Blog
Family Elder Law is pleased to offer the legal blog entitled “The Family Elder Law Expert Blog,” authored by Jason A. Penrod, B.C.S., CELA. Jason is board certified as an Elder Law Expert by the Florida Bar and the National Elder Law Foundation. He is also the founder of Family Elder Law with offices in Lake Wales, Lakeland, and Sebring, Florida. The blog addresses legal issues of particular interest to our readers. In addition, the blog will answer individual questions from the readership on a wide range of topics.
If you have an elderly family member or friend living in an assisted living or skilled nursing facility, it is imperative that you stay attuned to the signs of abuse to your loved one. The National Center on Elder Abuse reports the most common types of abuse include physical (29%), psychological (21%), gross neglect (14%), financial exploitation (14%), and sexual abuse (7%). While the facility's staff perpetrates the majority of these abuse cases, 22 percent of cases are a result of resident on resident abuse. However, these statistics reveal only part of the story.
A non-partisan advocacy group called The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) has a new analysis that asserts the federal government measuring tool to calculate the Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) is flawed. The decrease in social security benefit monies that are paid to seniors is eroding their financial protection against rising costs. Changes in the COLA is tethered to the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers Index (CPI-W), which determines the inflation rate for a basket of goods and services from one year to the next, affecting more than 64 million beneficiaries next year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has released its annual CPI-W data from Quarter 3 since 1975, providing the final inflation number needed by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to calculate a given year’s COLA.
Kiplinger.com is suggesting it is time to rethink your financial retirement portfolio. You may have built up a significant nest egg in a 401(k) plan, but it does come with serious baggage during your golden years. It is impossible to argue against the early stages of a 401(k) when employers match your contribution to the plan. You can take advantage of the tax breaks because contribution money comes out of your paycheck before calculating taxes and that money compounds every year. When you retire, however, the tax impact of a 401(k), 403(b), or traditional IRA can become significant.
If you are a part of the millennial generation or younger, there is a steady path you can pick that can over time make you a self-made millionaire. It does not require a unique set of skills, specialized knowledge, or even excessive risks. Americans who achieve millionaire and multi-millionaire status using this technique took an average of about 32 years to accumulate multi-million dollar wealth with some achieving it in as early as 18 years. They are called saver-investors, and when you encounter one, at first glance, they might not seem that rich.
Much attention over the last ten years has been given to the research for causes and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder, also known as ASD. The Combating Autism Act became a law in 2006, was reauthorized in 2011, then again reauthorized and renamed to Autism CARES Act in 2014 (Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education and Support Act) which provided federal funding for research and monitoring the prevalence of autism and for training providers in detecting and diagnosing autism. Even still, there is no one single test for autism, no definitive cause for autism in general, and no cure yet. To be able to continue valuable research, education, social programs, and services to support the autism community, the law needed to be updated so certain parts of it would not expire by the end of September 2019. With bi-partisan backing and passage through the U.S. Senate, President Trump signed the Autism CARES Act of 2019 into law on September 30, 2019. The 1.8 billion afforded by this law will allow the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to continue their work on autism.
Data breaches have been one of the hot topics this year in the wake of the Capital One data breach which compromised nearly 100 million Americans. But what hasn’t been receiving much major media coverage are the recent breaches affecting seniors.
The increasing number of seniors and near-seniors experiencing dementia in the United States is on a rapid rise. A hallmark of cognitive decline is a long pre-clinical phase followed by an actual medical diagnosis that progresses from early to middle and late-stage dementia. Poor memory, agitation, confusion, and understandable fear of the future are some of the first characteristics a senior may experience as cognitive decline takes hold. It is a frightening diagnosis for anyone’s future well-being.
No one likes to contemplate a future that involves needing long-term care. In fact, I have yet to meet a client that aims to achieve the goal of residing in a nursing home one day. When sitting with clients, and their families, it seems as though most would like to skip the long-term care conversation altogether.
When you dial 911 for emergency medical services (EMS) your transport may route you to a hospital that is not near your home. While you have the right to ask to be transported to the hospital of your choice, either out of preference or to stay in your insurance network of doctors, you might not be permitted to do so. While you do have rights, you also have limitations, so it is best to understand how these decisions are made before experiencing a medical emergency.
Most people understand that by paying into Social Security throughout their careers, they can receive health care benefits through Medicare starting at age 65. Individuals under age 65 who qualify to receive Social Security Disability benefits are also covered under Medicare, as well as anyone of any age who has Lou Gehrigs disease, known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), or has been diagnosed with permanent kidney disease (end-stage renal disease) that requires dialysis or a kidney transplant. But many people may not understand what is covered when long term care is needed.
According to the American Psychological Society, elder abuse is the infliction of physical, emotional/psychological, sexual or financial harm on an older adult. Elder abuse can also take the form of intentional or unintentional neglect of an older adult by the caregiver. Elder abuse has a variety of causes. It is important that family members and caregivers of senior adults be aware of the causes of elder abuse in order to prevent abuse and keep senior loved ones safe and secure.
Before you retire or leave full-time employment for other pursuits, consider the impacts of your decision on the financial well being of your future. The transition to your next phase of life, whether full or semi-retirement, adventure seeking, or family driven, requires thoughtful planning to avoid needless surprises that can mean the difference between financial success or financial stress. Whether you have been planning your retirement for decades or days, contemplating these six key retirement elements can help you avoid unexpected problems.
According to the American Association for Retired Persons (AARP), every single day 10,000 baby boomers are turning 65 years old. The deluge of aging Americans and the increase in longevity in the already 65 plus population are the main reasons why the Social Security and Medicare programs are expected to have financial insolvency issues in the coming decades. Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of baby boomers agree that it is critical to preserve Social Security benefits even if it requires an increase in taxes paid into the system by working Americans. Payroll taxes by far account for the majority of monies available to pay for social security benefits.
According to a recent government report, available here, Medicare and Social Security are at risk of insolvency. Unless action is taken, Social Security will exceed its income by 2020, whereas Medicare is projected to exceed its hospital insurance fund by 2026. Social Security will have to start spending down, potentially including massive cuts in payments to recipients by 2035. Likewise, Medicare will be forced to leave patients on the hook for more and more of their hospital and nursing home expenses.
This is a common question we hear. Read on for information to help figure out whether you need a trust and, if so, what kind fits your specific situation.
Rachel was a caregiver for her 85 yr-old mother. Rachel still worked full time and would help her mom in the evenings and weekends. Unfortunately, Rachel was in a serious car accident and would be out of work for at least 8 weeks. She now faced the challenge of paying her bills while out of work, and finding someone to help her mom until Rachel could get back on her feet.
Estate planning for the future inheritance of your children and grandchildren should include protective measures to keep assets from disappearing or being claimed by a creditor. A simple way to achieve inheritance protection is through a trust. A trust can pass your wealth bypassing probate. This allows specific trust provisions to ensure the money left to a beneficiary is neither squandered or through ill-advised spending or divorce action of the beneficiary.
While the US economy is in a cycle of more than ten years of economic growth, its citizens, even the “wealthy” ones, are worried about running out of cash and are scared to spend. Bloomberg.com is reporting many retirees, and near-retirees are sitting on their wealth in much the same way large corporations are hoarding stockpiles of cash. Even famed investor Warren Buffet and his multinational conglomerate holding company Berkshire Hathaway Inc are side-lining cash in excess of $122 billion.
There are federal regulatory standards that nursing homes must meet for providing qualified registered nursing staff. According to McKnight’s.com, fully three-quarters of nursing homes seldom meet the federally registered nurse (RN) staffing level guidelines. In particular, on the weekends, nursing homes are often understaffed, or staff is not there at all according to data gleaned from a year’s worth of payroll data as assessed by Harvard and Vanderbilt medical schools.
The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) projects the number of Americans in need of long-term care (LTC) by 2020 to be roughly 12 million with nearly half those seniors exhibiting some form of dementia. According to Forbes.com, about half of all long-term care insurance claims are from policyholders living with dementia. The federally run program Medicaid is the primary financing mechanism of LTC where most of the monies are spent on institutional care settings which are ill-equipped to handle an increasingly large and longer living elderly population. Federal initiatives have been incentivizing States to utilize Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS) waiver programs to address the growing long-term care needs of aging Americans. This shift to home and community-based services is often seen as having an obvious benefit. HCBS is seen as an easy fix to offset the increasing demands for long-term care. Evaluation of health outcomes, social equality, and the costs of both settings is necessary to create the most beneficial and efficient systems to care for the aging.