Planning for Life

Elizabeth Stepakoff

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The Difference Between SSI and SSDI

Posted by Elizabeth Stepakoff on November 29, 2016

by Karen B. Mariscal, Esq. 

There is a lot of confusion about the difference between SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and SSDI (Social Security Disability Income).  Although SSI and SSDI both provide supplemental income to disabled people, and have similar names, they are completely different programs.

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Topics: special needs planning

SNAP (Food Stamp) Benefits for Disabled Young Adults Living at Home

Posted by Elizabeth Stepakoff on November 15, 2016

By Karen B. Mariscal

Massachusetts funds the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, to assist low income households with affording food. While an individual can qualify for SNAP benefits upon reaching the majority age of 18, there are certain nuances that disabled young adults living at home with their parents should be aware of before applying for this program.

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Topics: special needs planning

Margolis & Mariscal Chapter Published

Posted by Elizabeth Stepakoff on November 15, 2016

Margolis & Bloom, LLP, is pleased to report that Harry Margolis and Karen Mariscal co-authored a chapter in the book, Drafting Irrevocable Trusts in Massachusetts,  revised in September 2016 and published by the Massachusetts Center for Legal Education.  Drafting Irrevocable Trusts in Massachusetts includes sections from nearly two dozen experts from the Commonwealth's estate planning community, and addresses the essential issues in drafting irrevocable trusts. Harry and Karen’s chapter concerns supplemental needs trusts.  The book can be purchased online at the MCLE website: http://www.mcle.org/product/catalog/code/2050211EBK, and is also available on Amazon.   Read More

Topics: trusts

Adult Foster Care: Valuable Help for the Parents of Disabled Children

Posted by Elizabeth Stepakoff on November 8, 2016

Adult Foster Care (a/k/a Adult Family Care), or AFC, is a MassHealth program that can help you with the caregiving of your disabled loved one. It is available to anyone age 16 or over who is on MassHealth or CommonHealth.

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Topics: special needs planning

SJC Picks Up Two Irrevocable Trust Cases for Review

Posted by Elizabeth Stepakoff on November 8, 2016

By Sarah Hartline

Earlier this year, we reported on two Superior Court decisions both involving irrevocable trusts created for long-term care planning purposes, Daley and Nadeau. In both cases, the Superior Court sided with MassHealth and upheld their decision to deny the applicant’s MassHealth application due to assets in an irrevocable trust, in both cases created by the applicant more than five years prior to the MassHealth application.

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Topics: MassHealth planning, MassHealth

Protecting the Rights of Massachusetts Voters with Disabilities

Posted by Elizabeth Stepakoff on November 1, 2016

About 35 million eligible voters in the U.S. have a disability – close to one in six. Although voting is one of the most fundamental rights granted to American citizens, nearly a third of voters with disabilities reported facing obstacles to voting in the 2012 election, including difficulties with physical access to the polling place, reading the ballot or operating the voting machine.

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Topics: special needs planning

Avoiding Massachusetts Taxes: So You Want  to Move to Florida?

Posted by Elizabeth Stepakoff on November 1, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

If you've thought of establishing residence in Florida or another low-tax state to save on income and estate taxes, a recent New York state case sheds light on what steps you need to take. In the case of the Matter of Campaniello, the taxpayer, Thomas Campaniello had extremely high income, over $10 million in 2007, the year in question, including profits on the sale of real estate. This no doubt motivated him to seek to avoid New York state and city income taxes and motivated the New York tax authorities to go after him.

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Topics: Estate Planning, estate taxes

US Agency Strengthens Protections for Nursing Home Residents

Posted by Elizabeth Stepakoff on October 28, 2016

By Rebecca J. Benson

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced its first comprehensiveAgingWaiver-resized-600.jpg overhaul of nursing home rules in over 20 years. CMS first promulgated nursing home regulations in 1989 and 1991 to implement the landmark Nursing Home Reform Law of 1987. CMS stated that the new regulations were necessary to reflect innovations in resident care and quality assessment practices, and to address the fact that the population of long-term care facilities has become more diverse and more clinically complex.

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Topics: long-term care planning, nursing homes

Five Myths about How We Age

Posted by Elizabeth Stepakoff on August 1, 2016

According to Stanford Professor Laura L. Carstensen, the 20th century bequeathed us a fabulous gift:  an average of 30 more years of life!  Life expectancy at birth is now 78, whereas in the early 1900s it was only about 50.  Today there are more than 70,000 centenarians in the U.S., roughly four times the number there were just ten years ago.  We need to think about those extra decades, and how we want to spend them (and how we plan to afford them). 

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Topics: baby boomers

Expanded Estate Recovery NOT included in House Committee on Ways and Means FY 2017 Budget Recommendations

Posted by Elizabeth Stepakoff on April 26, 2016

By Patricia C. D'Agostino

We are happy to report that the House Committee on Ways and Means did not include Governor Baker’s proposal to expand Medicaid estate recovery. As previously reported, the Governor’s proposed provisions would allow MassHealth to make claims against all property in which the deceased MassHealth member had an ownership interest immediately prior to death. This would include property passing by survivorship or beneficiary designation to a spouse or child that was held in joint names, life estate, tenants by the entirety or living trusts. Current law limits estate recovery to the probate estate of a deceased MassHealth member – meaning the Commonwealth could recover if the deceased member owned their home in his or her name alone.

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Topics: Massachusetts, MassHealth

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