‘Tis Better to Give than Receive, but … It’s the giving season. Whichever holiday you celebrate, most enjoy showing their affection by giving gifts to loved ones. For larger families, these gifts can amount to a lot of money each year.
And that’s wonderful, but if you might need to apply for Medicaid long-term care benefits, you need to be careful. Giving away money or property can jeopardize your eligibility. Here’s why you need to speak with an experienced elder care/elder law attorney about gifting.
If you give assets away to someone other than your spouse within five years before applying for long-term Medicaid, you might be ineligible for benefits. Medicaid pays for some or all your care at home, in an Assisted Living Community, or in a Nursing Home.
The length of time you’ll be ineligible depends upon how much you give away. Even small gifts affect eligibility. The 2017 IRS rules allow gifts up to $14,000 a year, but Medicaid rules allow the government to deny benefits anyway.
And there is no exception for gifts to charities. So, gifts for holidays, weddings, birthdays, and graduations could all cause ineligibility. If you buy something for a friend or relative, this could also result in a denial.
If you face this problem, you can overcome it, but you’ll need help. To overcome a denial, you’ll have to prove by “clear and convincing evidence” that the purpose of the gift had nothing to do with becoming eligible for Medicaid. “Clear and Convincing” is almost the same as “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt.”
So, before giving away assets or property, check with your elder law attorney to ensure that it won’t affect your Medicaid eligibility. Contact us today with any questions you may have.
We know that Florida seniors often find themselves in a difficult situation. As their health care and living expenses increase, their ability to work and generate income decreases. It is an unsettling scenario, but one that the Veterans Administration may be able to help with for those eligible for VA pensions.
A VA pension is a tax-free monetary benefit paid to low-income wartime vets who are either age 65 or older, disabled, living in nursing homes, receiving Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income. An additional, and under-used, type of pension benefit that all impacted veterans should be aware of is called Aid and Attendance. This is available for veterans and the surviving spouses of veterans whose unreimbursed medical expenses exceed their monthly income. The purpose is to provide financial assistance for those who need help performing activities of daily living.
If you are not sure if you or your loved one qualifies, consider contacting an accredited VA attorney to help determine your eligibility or for information about how to access the VA Pension with the Aid and Attendance benefit. Remember, veterans whose income is above the limit for a VA pension also may qualify if they have large medical expenses that are not reimbursable. Your VA accredited attorney can discuss with you options to become eligible or how to find the long-term care support you need.
Aid and Attendance support is available for vets who served at least 90 days, with at least one day during wartime. It is not reserved for those with service-related disabilities. Veterans, and their surviving spouses, are eligible if they meet the above criteria and if they need aid from another person to help them perform basic living activities, such as:
- Assistance with personal care needs, like bathing, dressing and using the bathroom.
- Living in a nursing home.
- Are mentally or physically incapacitated.
- If they are bedridden.
- Suffer from extremely poor eyesight.
A second long-term care benefit tied to the VA Pension program is known as the Housebound Allowance. This underused pension feature offers an additional monthly monetary benefit for veterans who are significantly restricted to their homes because of a permanent disability. Eligibility rules may require a written statement from a doctor describing a qualifying vet’s needs and limitations and you will want to discuss this with your VA accredited attorney as well.
Finally, Aid and Attendance and Housebound Allowance benefits are paid on top of monthly pension payments. This means that they increase the overall pension amount, making people who are not normally eligible for a basic VA pension due to excessive income potentially eligible for these long-term care items.
We know this article may raise more questions than it answers for you. We encourage you to ask us your questions this Veterans Day or, at any time, schedule a consultation with attorney Scott Selis to get the elder care support you need.
Interested in becoming a volunteer for Seniors Got Talent? Just fill out this form by clicking here and email it to Mary Martinez at Mmartinez2@fhcp.com
Have questions? Just call 386 – 676 – 7100 Ext. 7293
Learn more about Seniors Got Talent here!
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Fill out the form and either fax it to (844) 422-1012 or send to email@example.com
Not sure what the Long-Term Care Scholarship is? Learn more in our blog. Don’t hesitate to contact our office with any questions you may have.
We all know that supporting the seniors in our community is important. In fact, to help seniors maintain independence, it is crucial that they are involved in their own care, remain active, and most importantly, continue to enjoy life! It can be difficult, however, to know how best to get involved with the seniors residing in your local community.
A few years ago, Attorney Scott Selis came across a local Seniors Got Talent show founded by The Riviera assisted living facility. He recognized this exciting event as a way to bring together the community and raise money for families in need of Elder Care, all while highlighting the amazing talent of the residents! Since this great event was founded, it has been a way for seniors to express themselves in a fun and active way, while also bringing together family and friends.
This year, The Ormond Beach Performing Arts Center will host the exciting two-night event in collaboration with Selis Elder Law of Florida, Alliance Foundation of Florida, Progressive Medical Research, and Kindred Hospice! Preliminaries will begin on October 28, 2018 with Finals taking place on November 4 from 2 – 5 p.m. As an attendee, you can enjoy two nights filled with singing, dancing, a live auction, raffles, and more!
To celebrate the 2018 Seniors Got Talent event, our goal is to raise $20,000 for our Long-Term Care Scholarship, which supports a local senior on the Medicaid Waitlist, and $10,000 for The Alzheimer Association Walk in both Volusia and Flagler County.
Are you ready to support your local seniors? Click the link below to purchase your tickets today! We hope you can join us for this exciting and worthwhile event. Do not wait to contact our office with questions about how you can get involved or to learn more about this event.
Every day, millions of Americans take prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines to treat a variety of ailments ranging from incontinence, to depression, to allergies and more. New research, however, shows that previously unknown risks associated with certain associated drugs may be contributing to elevated rates of dementia in aging adults.
Today, dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease are at near epidemic levels. They currently affect over 50 million people worldwide, and about 10 million more people are diagnosed every year.
Millions of Americans and their families have also been painfully impacted by the devastating effects of dementia. These can include, but not be limited to, severe memory loss and deteriorating judgement, decision making, and behavioral functions. Alzheimer’s Disease alone is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and there is no known cure.
Several groundbreaking studies in recent years have shed light on the issue by establishing a compelling link to a class of drugs known as “anticholinergics.” These include highly technical drug names like amitriptyline, dosulepin, and paroxetine, for example, and others like oxybutynin, solifenacin, and tolterodine.
In plain English, these are are used to treat depression and the loss of bladder control.
Other conditions regularly treated with anticholinergic drugs include asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and Parkinson’s disease. Some studies include diphenhydramine, an anticholinergic ingredient in many commonly used antihistamines. Common medicines containing diphenhydramine include Benadryl, Motrin, Midol and Robitussin — although it’s important to note that these medicines have not been shown to cause dementia, only that diphenhydramine has anticholinergic effects. Anticholinergics work by blocking a chemical messenger, or neurotransmitter, called acetylcholine that carries brain signals for controlling muscles.
A new British study found that long-term use of certain anticholinergics is significantly linked to dementia, especially those used to treat depression and Parkinson’s disease. But unlike other studies, it did not find a connection between antihistamines and dementia.
Shockingly, in some cases, a link was established for study participants who took anticholinergic drugs 15-20 years before being diagnosed with dementia. Scientists concluded that such cases reduced the possibility of mere correlation between these drugs and dementia.
While there’s much research to be done, every new study advises both physicians and patients to be vigilant about the use of anticholinergic drugs. We know just how hard it can be when a loved one faces a diagnosis like this. Do not wait to contact our office on this issue or any elder care issue you or a family member may be facing.