Tag: Medicaid Planning

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Planning for Your Future: Elder Care in the 21st Century

Credit: National Council on Aging

At some point in nearly everyone’s life, we must step up to care for our elderly parents. It is a notion that has grown to be a social standard for hundreds of years. In spite of that, the idea of what takes to properly care for one’s elders has vastly changed over the past 200 years. It was only in 1823 that the first home for the elderly opened in the United States, yet they didn’t become popular until the 20th century. Alzheimer’s, a disease we now know to impacts many elderly persons, was only coined in 1906. The increase of nursing homes and hospice care only happened after 1965, when Medicare and Medicaid were instituted

Credit: broadcastmed

Aging wasn’t actively studied until the 20th century. Due to the Baby Boom, which occurred roughly between 1945 and 1960, the United States’ population of seniors is at an all-time high, with thousands more joining the ranks every day. Traditional forms of geriatric care don’t cut it any longer. Some elders need constant monitoring and can no longer cook or clean. Some elders only need moderate assistance getting around the house.

There is a wide variety of ways to provide assistance to aged loved ones care—full-time assisted living homes, monitoring systems, hourly care-providers, and more—and each of them have something in common: expense. West Palm Beach elder law attorney, Mark Shalloway, says that nursing homes can average up to $10,000 depending on state. It’s a hefty price to pay for anyone, but the wealthy can usually cover it. Low-income families often have these costs at least partially covered by welfare services.

Credit: Clackamas County

So, what happens to the middle-class families that don’t qualify for coverage, and can’t pay the fees out of pocket? A good elder law attorney can help find a solution.

“The middle-class people struggle paying for this added monthly cost—$3,000 to $10,000 a month—for dressing, bathing, helping,” Mark Shalloway says. “Since these people need an aid and not a doctor, it isn’t covered, and we have to look into how Medicaid can benefit these people…We can’t shelter every asset, but with planning we can work something out so they can qualify for Medicaid and nursing home care and not be broke.”

Credit: Mass.Gov

Shalloway says elder law is different from many of the other practices of law, because the work they do is defined by the client, not the subject. Attorneys in this area of practice are looking to serve the elder community in any way possible. Clients can find assistance with more traditional aspects like wills and trusts, but also long-term care facilities and even taxes.

It’s through Medicaid planning that elder law attorneys can provide clients with the benefits they need to live out their golden years in comfort. Medicaid planning allows attorneys to find solutions to their clients’ struggle by helping them apply to plans that provide funds for elder care their loved ones (or themselves) the care they need. Through even covering just a fraction of the cost, elders are able to reap some of the benefits they not only need, but deserve.

Credit: 123Dentist

“Elder care lawyers look into these problems to find ways to benefit others,” Shalloway says. “That is the heart and soul of elder law.”

For more information about Mark Shalloway and his firm, call (561) 686-6200 or visit the Shalloway & Shalloway office.

1400 Centrepark Blvd, Suite #600, West Palm Beach, FL 33401

Case Study: How An Elder Law Attorney Can Help Families Save Thousands

Credit: Legacy Lawyers

Caring for an elderly loved one is an essential step everyone must take at some point in life. As the middle class shrinks, this is unfortunately not a financially easy thing to do. Whether being the one to supervise an elderly loved one, hiring an at-home aide, or sending them to an assisted living facility, to ensure a beloved senior lives a high-quality life for the remainder of their years a families often must pay a fortune in medical and nursing care. Total costs can easily climb upwards of $100,000!

Even if the at-home aide is only there for a few hours a week, the hourly cost quickly adds up. With all the necessary fees, assisted living centers can easily cost several thousand dollars a month.

Credit: Culpepper Place

Every year, these costs increase, making it difficult for the average family to stay afloat and afford quality care for their loved ones. While many families may earn too much money to qualify for certain government benefits, they don’t make enough to cover these costs of living on their own. This is where guidance from elder and special needs lawyer can help by offering a roadmap to finding proper care and benefits for your family.

An Elder & Special Needs Attorney Can Save Your Family Thousands of Dollars

The worst thing to do is try to tackle these costs on your own. With so many different benefits and the legal jargon surrounding it, figuring out what works best for your loved one can be as difficult as deciphering an unfamiliar language. For those who aren’t quite to this point, but want to plan for their future, figuring out a financial plan might seem like it would only be a few steps when it is so far from that.

Credit: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Don’t shoulder these important, financial decisions on your own. Unless you have a background in finance or law yourself, it is entirely possible that you will miss some detail that could have saved you even more money as incoming elder care costs.

Shalloway & Shalloway

Arnold Ruderman, a recent client of elder and special needs attorney Mark Shalloway spoke of his experience in looking for legal help for his estate and family law issues: I was in search of someone to help me with a will, financial and medical issue regarding my family and loved ones. We were in a position of trying to find the best financial options for our legal needs.” Mr. Ruderman described his experience with Mr. Shalloway thusly:

“Excellent, very professional, very thorough, easy, explained everything, transparent as far as the different options and we felt very comfortable with our attorney, Mark Shalloway, I felt he had valuable experience that I could trust and that could help me make the best legal and financial decisions for my family. He is very good at what he does.”

A quality elder law attorney will be able to take an unbiased approach to your case, opening doors for you that you never thought could be opened, and getting you exactly the results you require.

“When families reach out they are often middle-class– but not necessarily very wealthy,” according to Mark Shalloway, president of West Palm Beach elder law firm Shalloway & Shalloway says. “Some of our clients are pro-bono, but most are middle class. The middle class fall through the cracks because they don’t fit the requirements for benefits, and they are not quite wealthy enough to hire independent caregivers around the clock. They work hard—they could be teachers, or doctors, or journalists, or other good, hard working people who have saved and are facing Alzheimer’s, stroke, Parkinson’s, or have a spouse or child with special needs. They can face these diseases for years—for the rest of their lives—and that can impoverish you. If we can do Medicaid planning, that can help.”

For 30 years, Shalloway & Shalloway has been South Florida’s premiere firm for all things elder law. The umbrella of elder law is a wide one, and the firm will cover it all– elder care, veterans benefits, Medicaid planning, estate planning, wills & trusts, and more. Mark Shalloway is known for his “plain English” approach to law. He lays everything out on the table for clients, because he wants them to be absolutely confident in the decisions they make. During such a stressful time in one’s life, clients need an attorney who will be honest and transparent with them. Shalloway and his staff will do just that.

Free Consultations & Free Virtual Seminars

If a client wants to learn a little more about the world of elder law before scheduling an appointment with Shalloway, they can attend one of his monthly seminars. This virtual program occurs via Zoom, and can help clients more comfortably navigate any of the areas of practice elder law encompasses.

Credit: Sami Stoloff

The law firm of Shalloway & Shalloway also offers free consultations for those who have many questions in are in need of some direction.

For more information on Shalloway & Shalloway, call 561-686-6200, or fill out this contact form.

1400 Centrepark Blvd. Suite #600, West Palm Beach, FL 33401

Medicaid Planning and Assisted Living

Nursing homes, assisted living, and homecare services for an elder in need are a difficult expense for many middle-class families to manage. Home health care can be anywhere from $2,000 to $12,000 a month. Assisted living can be anywhere from $3,000 to $8,000 a month. Nursing homes can be anywhere from $9,000 to $14,000 a month. The responsibility to help pay for these services falls on the shoulders of the elder’s children, and while it is a reality many don’t want to face, when their parent frequently falls, wanders, or drives when they should not be, it becomes exceedingly clear just how important extra care is to the elder’s wellbeing.

Things Nursing Homes Are Not Allowed to Do
Credit: Investopedia

A few typical diseases that require long-term care versus short-term care are:

  • Alzheimer’s
  • Parkinson’s
  • Stenosis
  • Neuropathy
  • “Dementia“
  • Stroke

Medicare will not pay for care unless you specifically purchased “long-term care
insurance.” All other insurances, including the military Tri-care for Life, will not pay for so-called “unskilled” or “custodial” care. Medicare and its various Advantage Plans and Supplemental policies cover “short-term skilled” care and will not pay for care longer than about 100 days– be that in a nursing home, your personal residence, or anywhere else. The situation isn’t any better for veterans. Many veterans and their families mistakenly believe the VA will pay for at-home health aides, assisted living, and nursing home care because they use VA doctors and get their prescriptions from the VA. Typically, only service-connected disabled vets are an exception, but not for their spouse.

Hands of an old woman and a young man. Caring for the elderly ...
Credit: Savvy Tokyo

Medicaid is often the answer for those who need help. Financially, the demographics that benefit most from Medicaid planning are middle class married couples worried about impoverishment, a spouse due to the diseases and conditions above, a widow or widower, or an elder’s kids worried about running out of money for their parents and having to pay out of pocket.

So how can Medicaid help relieve some off that strife?  There are three key places:

  • Free home aids up to 5 hours a day. Medicaid will also pay for optional adult day care, diapers, prescriptions, medical transportation, physical and occupational therapy, and more. You can add or hire more hours a
    day to this on your own if you need.
  • Care at the assisted living facility. You pay for room and board (rent and food), and Medicaid will pay the care portion of the monthly bill. For example, if the assisted living costs $3,200 a month, Medicaid will pay $1,200 for care, and you pay $2,000 for rent for the apartment and food for the month.
  • Medicaid Pays the entire nursing home bill after your personal monthly income copay. Your share of cost in a nursing home is never more than your personal monthly income.I f you are married, your spouse may be entitled to keep a portion of your income for his or her own living expenses, lowering your care costs even more.
As America's population ages, demand for elder law attorneys grows
Credit: ABA Journal

There are many variables that go into one’s qualification for Medicaid, which is why an elder law attorneys is so crucial throughout the process. One wants a lawyer who can handle their particular legal situation and has expertise in the area of law relating to one’s legal needs. While all lawyers are allowed to advertise, only certified attorneys are allowed to identify themselves as “Bar Board Certified” or as a “specialist”. Certification is the highest level of recognition by the state Bar of the competency and experience of attorneys in the areas of law approved for certification by the state Supreme Court.

 

Certified Elder Law attorneys deal with legal issues involving health and personal care planning, including: advance directives, lifetime planning, family issues, fiduciary representation, capacity, guardianship, power of attorney, financial planning, public benefits and insurance, resident rights in long-term care facilities, housing opportunities and financing, employment and retirement matters, income, estate and gift tax
matters, estate planning, probate, nursing home claims, age or disability discrimination, and
grandparent’s rights.

To be certified, the lawyer was required to have substantial involvement in all aspects of planning for aging, illness, and incapacity in the five years preceding certification. Each certified lawyer has passed peer review, completed 60 hours of continuing legal education within the three years immediately preceding application, and has passed a written
examination demonstrating knowledge, skills, and proficiency in the field of elder law to justify the representation of special competence.

When scheduling a board-certified elder law attorney, clients can rest easy knowing they are working with a professional who not only knows what they are doing, but cares about their clients’ well-being. To those going through such a hard time, this is a relief.