Florida Elder Law Blog - ElderLawAssociates.com
Florida Elder Law Blog - A blog by Elder Law Associates, South Florida's premier elder law attorneys, who handle elder law, medicaid planning, guardianships and much, much more.
Friday, December 30, 2011
South Florida Elder Law: Social Security Benefits to Increase for First Time in Three Years
After receiving no cost-of-living increase (COLA) for two years running, the nation's Social Security recipients, including Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries, will get a 3.6 percent increase in payments in 2012.
Starting in January 2012, the average monthly Social Security payment for a worker with disabilities will rise from $1,072 to $1,111 a month. The federal SSI payment standard will increase to $698 a month for an individual and $1,048 a month for a couple. The SSI student exclusion limit (the amount of earned income that an SSI beneficiary who regularly attends school may exclude from her SSI benefit calculation) will remain the same at $1,700 a month, with a yearly cap of $6,840.
Although the SSI resource allowance also remains the same at $2,000 for an individual and $3,000 for a couple, the amount of money that a person can earn without engaging in Substantial Gainful Activity (which triggers a process that can result in the loss of SSDI or SSI benefits) is going to increase to $1,010 a month for a person who is not blind and $1,690 for a person who is blind. The Trial Work Period limit of $720 a month stays the same.
For a complete list of the 2012 Social Security changes, please contact a qualified South Florida Elder Law Attorney
Labels: Elder Law Attorney, florida elder law, Florida Elder Law Attorney, Florida Estate Planning, Florida Wills
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Florida Elder Law: Average Cost of a Private Nursing Home Room Tops $87,000 a Year
leveling off last year, the cost of adult day care services went up by
4.5 percent to $70 per day. But the average cost of home health aides
and homemaker/companion service rates remained unchanged at $21 and $19
per hour, respectively.
survey also reports on the cost of a semi-private room in a nursing
home, which also increased 4.4 percent to $214 a day, or $78,110 a year.
The cost of a semi-private room in an Alzheimer's wing rose from an
average of $75,190 to $81,030 annually.
again, the highest rates for a private nursing home room in 2011 were
found in Alaska, where the average cost dropped slightly from $687 a day
to $655 a day. The lowest rates were found in Louisiana (with the
exception of Baton Rouge and the Shreveport area), at and average of
$141 a day.
cost of assisted living was the highest in the Washington, D.C., area,
at $5,757 a month and the lowest in Arkansas (except for Little Rock) at
$2,156 a month. Average home health care aide services ranged from a
high of $34 an hour in Rochester, Minnesota, to $14 and hour in the
Shreveport area of Louisiana. Adult day care services were highest in
Vermont at an average of $148 a day and lowest in the Montgomery,
Alabama, area, at $29 a day, a $2 drop from 2010.
Private room nursing home rates rose 4.4 percent to $87,235 a year or
$239 a day, while assisted living facility costs jumped 5.6 percent on
average to $41,724 a year or $3,477 a month.
Before making any final decisions, one should consult with an experienced South Florida Elder Law Attorney.
Labels: elder care, Florida Elder Care, florida elder law, Florida Elder Law Attorney, Florida Long Term Care Insurance, long term care
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Florida Elder Law: Make Sure Your Power of Attorney Complies with Federal Privacy Law
power of attorney (POA) and a health care proxy are two of the most
important estate planning documents you can have, but in some instances
they may be useless if they don't comply with the federal privacy law.
POA allows someone you designate (your "agent" or "attorney-in-fact")
to make decisions for you if you become incapacitated. A health care
proxy specifies who will make medical decisions for you.
these documents to be effective, your agents may need to be able to
access your medical information. However, medical information is
private. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
protects health care privacy and prevents disclosure of health care
information to unauthorized people. HIPAA authorizes the release of
medical information only to a patient's "personal representative."
can be a problem especially if you have a "springing" power of
attorney. A springing POA does not go into effect until you become
incapacitated. This means your agent doesn't have any authority until
you are declared incompetent, but, under HIPAA, the agent won't be able
to get the medical information necessary to determine incompetence until
the agent has authority.
Florida no longer allows springing powers of attorney to be executed on
or after October 1, 2011, a springing power of attorney in existence
prior to October 1, 2011 is still valid in Florida.
make sure your agent doesn't get caught in this "Catch-22," your POA
and health care proxy should contain a HIPAA clause that explains that
the agent is also the personal representative for the purposes of health
care disclosures under HIPAA. You should also sign separate HIPAA
release forms that explain what medical information can be disclosed,
who can make the disclosure, and to whom the disclosure can be made.
Contact us to make sure your POA and health care proxy do not conflict with HIPAA.
Labels: Elder Law Attorney, Florida Elder Care, florida elder law, Florida Elder Law Attorney, Florida Health Care Surrogates
Monday, December 12, 2011
Florida Elder Law: Recognizing the Need for Outside Help in Caregiving
Caregivers often don’t recognize when they are in over their heads,
and often get to a breaking point. After a prolonged period of time,
caregiving can become too difficult to endure any longer. Short-term the
caregiver can handle it. Long-term, help is needed. Outside help at
this point is needed.
A typical pattern with an overloaded caregiver may unfold as follows:
- 1 to 18 months - the caregiver is confident, has
everything under control and is coping well. Other friends and family
are lending support.
- 20 to 36 months - the caregiver may be taking
medication to sleep and control mood swings. Outside help dwindles away
and except for trips to the store or doctor, the caregiver has severed
most social contacts. The caregiver feels alone and helpless.
- 38 to 50 months - Besides needing tranquilizers or
antidepressants, the caregiver's physical health is beginning to
deteriorate. Lack of focus and sheer fatigue cloud judgment and the
caregiver is often unable to make rational decisions or ask for help.
It is often at this stage that family or friends
intercede and find other solutions for care. This may include respite
care, hiring home health aides or putting the disabled loved one in a
facility. Without intervention, the caregiver may become a candidate
for long term care as well.
With the holiday season upon us, caregivers feel even
more stress -- with planning, shopping and participating in holiday
activities. This is a perfect time for family and friends to step up
and provide some respite time and caregiving help. Whether it is
provided personally or arranged as a gift of services to be provided by
a professional respite company or home care provider, it is a welcome
An article in “Today’s Caregiver”
“Nearly one in four caregivers of people with
Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias provide 40 hours a week or more
of care. Seventy-one percent sustain this commitment for more than a
year, and 32 percent do so for five years or more. One of the best
gifts you can give someone caring for Alzheimer’s is something that
relieves the stress or provides a bit of respite for the caregiver.
The Gift of time: Cost-effective and truly meaningful
gifts are self-made coupons for cleaning the house, preparing a meal,
moving lawn/shoveling driveway, respite times that allow the caregiver
time off to focus on what he/she needs.”
It is also important to note that hiring professional
care provider services can provide valuable ongoing support to an
overloaded caregiver. A financial planner, care funding specialist or a reverse mortgage specialist may find the funds to pay for professional help to keep a loved one at home. A care manager
can guide the family and the caregiver through the maze of long term
care issues. The care manager has been there many times -- the family is
experiencing it for the first time.
A South Florida elder law attorney
can help iron out legal problems. And an elder mediator can help solve disputes between family members. There are also cash benefits for Veterans, who served during a period of war, that pay for home care or assisted living.
If you are the one providing daily care for a loved one, you owe it to yourself to seek help.
Take care of yourself and your needsm, both physically and
mentally. Seek out professional help that will ease your burden and
look for community service organizations that offer respite help.
Labels: Florida Elder Care, florida elder law, Florida Elder Law Attorney, Florida Long Term Care Insurance
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
South Florida Elder Law: Estate Planning Considerations for Out-of-State Property
is not uncommon for Florida residents to own real and tangible personal
property, directly or indirectly, located in one or more of the other
49 United States. It is somewhat less common for this property to be
integrated into a comprehensive estate plan that takes into account the
additional probate and state estate and inheritance tax issues that may
be caused by the ownership. Although the issues raised by such ownership
and the solutions available will vary greatly from situation to
situation, this article briefly covers some of the more important estate
planning considerations to keep in mind when dealing with ownership of
non-Florida property by a Florida-based client.
to read the full article by Patrick J. Lannon in The Florida Bar Journal.
Labels: florida elder law, Florida Elder Law Attorney, Florida Estate Planning
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