Medicaid is a government program which provides assistance to those who cannot afford to pay for their own care out of their income or assets. Many in the community don't apply for benefits because they don't know they qualify.
We often read about how much Medicaid and Medicare programs are struggling. Both programs are going to have to clamp down to find a way to survive, and they will start asking more questions and making more applicants and recipients accountable for their actions. They have no choice if they want to be around for the taxpayers who are currently feeding the funds.
The best planning for Medicaid is done ahead of time. There is nothing wrong with creating a trust as part of an estate plan. There is nothing wrong with transferring or gifting assets to those you love. Don't wait until the unexpected day you are admitted to the nursing home or are told you need 24-hour supervision to put a plan in place.
Start looking at the possibilities as you face your retirement and are doing your long-range planning. Set up that revocable or irrevocable trust ahead of time. Transfer assets to your children - for their future or yours - ahead of time. Take a look at long-term-care insurance, part of a successful long-term-care plan.
The more dollars you have, the more options you have. If you are reading this and are facing care costs and decisions now, you still may have options you don't know about.
Contact a reliable, objective, honest professional to assist you in the proper planning techniques. Care managers will help you sort through the maze of options and costs and help you choreograph a plan that works best for you. Ask if he or she can explain the "penalty period" to you. If he or she can't, he or she is not the right one for you.
Planning ahead with the right advisers will help you avoid disputes at a time when it may be all you can do to get through another day of sickness or disability. We all make better decisions when we are unpressured, healthy and resilient.
Don't waste any more time saying, "It will never happen to me." Hope for the best, plan for the worst, and you will be prepared for the future.
KateMcGahan is executive director of CNY Elderplanning and author of "The Medicaid Primer: What You Need to Know to Apply for and Receive Benefits in New York State."
"Kate McGahan's skill, experience, and availability were invaluable to me in getting my recently widowed mother the care that she needed. My mother unrealistically wanted to continue living alone in her own home, and I did not have the wherewithall to convince her of the clear need for an assisted living arrangement in short driving distance of where I live.
Kate skillfully navigated Mom through a comprehensive three-hour interview to learn of her current situation, needs, and concerns. Kate's professional but relaxed, concerned, attentive manner helped my mother to relax and consider making significant changes that she never would have accepted directly from a family member, even if I had known what to propose and how to say it, which I did not. Kate built such a rapport that Mom asked after her in the days following the interview.
Kate's follow-up written assessment was clear, pointed, balanced, and invaluable to me when taking my mother to new doctors and her new residential care apartment near me in an adjacent state. Her timely, professional assistance illuminated for us the future path my mother needed, and elicited from my mother cooperation that I never would have gotten without Kate's help. Finding Kate was for me the single most important and valuable step in an urgent and critical process."
New York State enacted legislation which permits you to provide for your pets after your death. Under this law, you can set aside funds to be held in a Trust to maintain the health, welfare and comfort of your pets.
Under this Pet Trust law, you decide the amount of funds you want to set aside and designate someone (Trustee) to manage the funds and provide for your pets pursuant to the requirements you set forth in the Trust. The Trustee cannot use the funds for any purpose other than to care for your pets.
The Trust must end on the earlier of the death of your pets or within twenty-one years after the date of your death. You designate under the terms of the Trust who inherits the remaining balance of your Pet Trust at the time of termination.
A Pet Trust can be written as part of your Last Will and Testament or as part of the beneficiary provisions of your own Revocable or Irrevocable Living Trust.
Thank you to the Koldin Law Firm in Kirkville New York for this information
Contact the Social Security Administration to get your earning's record. Your former employer's federal employer identification number (EIN) will be on record. Then use the EIN to search for the company at www.freeerisa.com Also, check with the pension benefit guaranty corporation (www.pbgc.gov), the federal agency that insures corporate defined-benefit plans. Another place to check is the nonprofit pension Rights Center at www.pensionrights.org which helps employees and retirees understand and enforce their legal rights.
This from the AARP Bulletin
601 E. St. NW
Washington DC 20049
(Thank you to August 1, 2006 issue of Bottom Line Personal for reprinting.)
A Brainstorm of Ways You Can Help Your Loved One at Home
· Regular Visitation · Regular Phone Calls· Grocery Shopping · Food Preparation · Help with household chores · Assist with mail/bills as needed · Take out trash/recyclables, empty wastebaskets · Water plants · Mow the lawn, rake leaves, shovel snow · Weed the garden · Drop off/Pick up dry cleaning · Fix small appliances/Handyman services · Take the car for an oil change/gas/inspection · Polish the silver · Fill the birdfeeder (or provide one if there isn’t one!) · Transportation to doctor’s appointments/social events/etc · Cards/Notes from Children/Grandchildren · Videotape Recorder w/videos of family, local & out of town · Make computer literate for email, internet, games, correspondence · Board Games · Puzzles · Organize a card or scrabble game w/friends · Books & Books On Tape · Create a music cassette of favorite/meaningful music · Tape a church service if unable to attend and bring it home · Send an audio letter if you live faraway · Clip interesting articles from papers/magazines · Organize family photos- create albums/collages/personalized calendars · Create a scrapbook of memories “This is Your Life” and celebrate. · Find any reason to celebrate something like “Happy Thursday!” · Help write “The Book of My Life” for future generations · Drop off magazines/periodicals/circulars of interest · Take dictation of notes/letters and mail them · Schedule your visit to watch a sporting event or video together · Bring children to visit · Bring pets to visit · Call now and then with neighborhood gossip · Take for a ride in the car · Visit a zoo, park, mall, movie – wheelchairs are often provided · Give a gift certificate for a manicure, facial, massage · Give a gift certificate for long distance calling · Create a coupon book as a gift with blanks for the fill-in of things you may not have considered · Create a tradition of visiting at the same time each week to give something to look forward to · Organize a social or church group to adopt seniors as secret pals and send cards, gifts, remembrances · At gift-giving times, forgo the gifts and send a train/plane ticket to someone who wouldn’t normally be able to visit · Set up a fish aquarium/bird cage and maintain · Prepare a window garden · Contact a local columnist to recognize the person for a special life achievement · Help decorate for the holidays · Create a visitation schedule/calendar so others know where the visitation gaps will be and plan accordingly (this is also a reminder how involved family and friends actually are)
· Have medical information handy so that visitors know what to do in case of emergency.
· Communicate with other family/friends/visitors when there is a need to be filled that comes up within the context of your visit.
· Stay alert, work together, support one another as a team would work together for the good of their mission. Help one another as needs arise so that you can continue giving to the issue(s) at hand.
This will warm your heart............... Just when you have lost faith in human kindness... Someone who teaches at a Middle School in Safe Harbor, Florida forwarded the following letter.The letter was sent to the principal's office after the school had sponsored a luncheon for the elderly. An old lady received a new radio at the lunch as a door prize and was writing to say thank you. "Dear Safe Harbor Middle School:
God bless you for the beautiful radio I won at your recent senior citizen's luncheon. I am 84 years old and live at the Safe Harbor Assisted Home for the Aged. All of my family has passed away. I am all alone now, and it's nice to know that someone is thinking of me. God bless you for your kindness to an old forgotten lady. My roommate is 95 and always had her own radio, but before I received one, she would never let me listen to hers, even when she was napping. The other day her radio fell off the nightstand and broke into a lot of pieces. It was awful, and she was in tears. She asked if she could listen to mine, and I told her to kiss my ass. Thank you for giving me that opportunity.