Planning for Life

ABLE Accounts Preserve Food Stamp Eligibility

Posted by Anthony Bushu on May 4, 2017

By Karen Mariscal 

Child and food.jpgA final rule has been issued that states money in an ABLE account is not counted for purposes of determining SNAP eligibility. Up until now, funds in ABLE accounts were not specifically excluded from eligibility calculations for SNAP benefits. That changed on March 7, 2017, when the amendment went into effect.

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Topics: MassHealth, Food Stamps, SNAP Eligibility, ABLE Accounts, SNAP Benefits

5 Reasons to Use a Lawyer for MassHealth Planning

Posted by Anthony Bushu on April 5, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

Okay, this is somewhat self-serving. As an elder law attorney, my firm and I advise clients on how they can plan to be eligible for MassHealth coverage of their long-term care. But many seniors and their families don't use lawyers, whether for long-term care planning or assistance with the MassHealth application, often because they're afraid of the cost. Some take steps based on what they've heard from others, some do nothing, and others enlist non-lawyers to assist with MassHealth applications, often referred by nursing homes.

Here's a few reasons to use an elder law attorney instead:

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Topics: long-term care planning, MassHealth

The Trump-Ryan Plan for Medicaid Moves Towards Block Grants

Posted by Anthony Bushu on March 22, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

10-donald-trump-paul-ryan.w710.h473.jpgWith the release of the House GOP plan for repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, the American Health Care Act, we can now begin moving from conjecture to reality, though much still remains uncertain. This article will focus on the proposed changes to Medicaid and how they could affect seniors and people with disabilities.

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Topics: long-term care planning, MassHealth, Medicaid

Questions & Answers on Protecting the Family Home

Posted by Anthony Bushu on February 1, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

I recently conducted a webinar surveying the various techniques clients can take to protect their home from the costs of long-term care. These ranged from standing pat and doing nothing to giving their home to their kids, with life estates, irrevocable trusts and purchasing long-term care insurance as in-between strategies, each with its own pros and cons.

Afterwards, I received a number of follow-up questions. Here are some of them with my answers:

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Topics: MassHealth planning, MassHealth

MassHealth Seeking to Limit Use of Pooled Trusts

Posted by Anthony Bushu on January 11, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

MassHealth has proposed massive changes to its regulations governing long-term care, both in the community and in nursing homes. Many of these are complicated, but could adversely affect many seniors in the state. One that's not so complicated is a proposal to limit transfers to pooled disability trusts.

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Topics: long-term care planning, nursing homes, MassHealth

What Does a Trump Presidency Mean to Estate and Long-Term Care Planning?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on November 22, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

The election of Donald Trump along with Republican control of both houses of Congress undoubtedly will impact tax and benefit laws that affect citizens in their personal lives and in their estate and long-term care planning. The question is how? We can't answer for certain since during his campaign the president-elect stayed away from specific policy proposals. But there's still a lot we can glean both from what he has said and from Republican policies, especially those of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. On the domestic front, Ryan appears much more radical than Trump in many ways.

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Topics: Medicare, social security, MassHealth, capital gains taxes, capital gains, estate taxes, Medicaid

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

MassHealth Planning and Real Estate

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on October 11, 2016

I. MassHealth Eligibility and the Family Home

A. Long-Term Care Planning

For all practical purposes, in the United States the only "insurance" plan for long-term institutional care is Medicaid (called “MassHealth” in Massachusetts). Medicare only pays for approximately 20 percent of nursing home care in the United States. Private insurance pays for even less. The result is that most people pay out of their own pockets for long-term care until they become eligible for MassHealth. While Medicare is an entitlement program, MassHealth is a form of welfare -- or at least that's how it began. So to be eligible, you must become "impoverished" under the program's guidelines.

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Topics: long-term care planning, MassHealth

Using Annuities in MassHealth Planning for Nursing Home Residents

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on October 4, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

Immediate annuities have long been used in long-term care planning as a means of transforming assets that are countable against the limits for MassHealth eligibility into an income stream that does not affect eligibility. This primarily benefits spouses of nursing home residents, but can be used for single nursing home residents as a form of “arbitrage,” in effect to pay the MassHealth rather than the private-pay rates charged by nursing homes. 

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Topics: MassHealth planning, long-term care planning, MassHealth

ABLE Accounts are Open for Business!

Posted by Karen Mariscal on August 4, 2016

This could be life-changing for your disabled loved one

For the first time, many people with disabilities (and their parents) can open special savings accounts in which they can save money (and have the use of more cash) without jeopardizing their government benefits.  Ohio, Florida, Nebraska and Tennessee have all launched ABLE accounts, based on the 2014 ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) Act.

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Topics: MassHealth, Intellectually Disabled, disability

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