Can Crowd-Funding Your Care Compromise Medicaid Eligibility?

Crowdfunding is a useful tool provided by platforms like Go Fund Me and Kickstarter to help raise money across the country and worldwide for various needs, including funding charitable causes and small businesses, as well as the creation and development of new products. Some people also use these platforms for personal interests, like funding their tuition, travel or personal healthcare costs, making it a very popular tool. However, crowdfunding campaigns need to be carefully considered, as they may affect your eligibility for Medicaid.

Understanding Medicaid eligibility 

As a state and federally funded program, there are certain restrictions in place that limit who can make use of the medical assistance that they provide, and one of these limitations is on your income and assets. Essentially, you have to fall below the value threshold for your income and assets in order to qualify and receive assistance.

Does a crowdfunding campaign count as income? 

This depends on who sets up the campaign and has access to the funds and resources it provides. Medicaid will consider this as part of your income if this is you, but it is more of a grey area if the fund is set up by someone else and you do not have direct access to the income it provides.

What’s the best way to retain Medicaid eligibility? 

This doesn’t mean that you should refrain from using crowdfunding platforms to raise money for your benefit, but it needs to be done in a way that will not count towards your income and prevent you from receiving assistance from Medicaid. The best way to do this is through a Supplemental Needs Trust, as the assets of the trust (that is, the income from your crowdfunding campaign) will be  not by you, but by the beneficiary of the trust (a trusted individual named by you).

Get compassionate legal advice from a trusted NJ elder law attorney in New Jersey 

If you would like assistance in setting up a trust to manage additional income and assets, or other Medicaid assistance, speak to Frank R. Campisano today. Experienced in elder law, compassionate and committed to his clients, you’ll receive the highest quality legal expertise and guidance that will help you secure better care. In addition, you can also prepare additional estate planning documents, such as your Last Will and Testament, Power of Attorney documents and trusts. For more compassionate legal guidance, Medicaid planning information and a free consultation, please contact us or visit our website at http://www.scclegal.com/ today.

Is Medicare enough to take care of you in old age?

Medicaid planning

Recent studies have shown that more than 56 million people – that’s 17% of the population – rely on Medicare to meet their health care needs, which include long-term care for the elderly, dental care, eye, and hearing care. But does this mean that you can sit back and relax knowing that you can rely on Medicare to look after you in your old age? Unfortunately, no. Here’s why, from a leading NJ elder law attorney:

Health care will be your biggest expense in your Golden Years 

Aging means two things:

  1. Less money coming in, due to retirement, and
  2. More money going out as our medical conditions increase.

In fact, if you and your partner retire today at 65, you can expect to spend more than $250,000 on health care premiums alone. This is without including out-of-pocket expenses or long-term care costs for assisted living/hospice and other elder care options.

Long-term care insurance is a popular option for helping to ease this financial burden, but that is becoming more expensive in itself, largely because people are living longer than ever before. Generally, people need care for 3 years, but this time span is increasing as we get better medical care and stay healthier longer. In fact, 20% of today’s older adults will require 5 or more years of long-term care in some form or another.

Medicare is limited 

Medicare places restrictions on the type and the duration of care a person can receive. For example, they will only cover long-term care for short periods of time, like after an operation or sickness. It doesn’t cover daily assistance like bathing, meal preparation, dressing and other services that keep the elderly independent. Long-term care insurance is far less limited with a variety of options that include home health aides, nursing homes, hospice and assisted living. However, these options come at a cost.

It’s never too late to start planning 

If you would like assistance in understanding and accessing your Medicaid and Medicare benefits, speak to Frank R. Campisano today. Experienced in elder law, compassionate and committed to his clients, you’ll receive the highest quality legal expertise and guidance that will help you secure better care. In addition, he can also prepare supplementary estate planning documents, such as your Last Will and Testament, Power of Attorney documents and trusts. For compassionate legal guidance and a free consultation, please contact us or visit our website at http://www.scclegal.com/ today.

 

Medicaid application denied? Here’s what to do

Applying for Medicaid is a complex process that can result in legitimate applications being denied for different technical issues. Fortunately, this is not the end of the road and you do have avenues through which you can act and rectify the situation. However, these are time-sensitive, so it’s important to act quickly. Here’s some useful Medicaid information from a leading elder law attorney New Jersey.

The Medicaid appeal process 

Firstly, you need to receive a notification from your county’s Board of Social Services. If your application has been denied, then there will be a clearly marked “X” next to “Denied” that will be followed by a more specific explanation for the denial.

You should also receive further instructions for reapplying for Medicaid with attached details for identifying what information you need to submit. Common reasons for a denial that can be rectified in the reapplication process include missing documentation, lost documents, incomplete applications and filing too early or too late.

It is important to note that in order to appeal, you have just 20 days from receiving the letter to ask for a hearing with the Office of Administrative Law. They will pass your case on to an administrative law judge who will then review the case and make a final decision. If it is denied again, there are still other legal channels you can use, but it does become a more complex and more challenging situation.

Expert Medicaid planning, application and appeal assistance in NJ 

Frank R. Campisano is highly experienced and compassionate elder law attorney with considerable knowledge of Medicaid issues. In addition to planning ahead financially for Medicaid eligibility, he is also able to assist with applications, appeals and other Medicaid issues.

For a free consultation, please contact us today and speak to Frank R. Campisano or visit our website at https://www.scclegal.com/

Five signs that your elderly family member needs assistance

As we age, we can expect to see changes in our mental and physical abilities – however, these changes and the degree to which they affect the lives of our loved ones can be hard to detect. Here are some warning signs that your elderly family member may need more support:

  1. Relationship changes: Cutting off important relationships with friends and family can be a sign your loved one is struggling. Keep in touch with good friends and chat about events in their lives to ensure they are maintaining a healthy, active social life.
  2. Neglecting the home: If your parents always took pride in their home and its cleanliness, signs of neglect can indicate they are no longer coping with the workload. This could be temporary due to a recent illness, for example, but if it persists there is good reason for concern.
  3. Financial confusion: Bills that haven’t been paid, losing money, paying bills multiple times, dramatically increased spending and other unusual financial issues are a reason for concern. This may indicate that forgetfulness is becoming a more frequent problem and it leaves your loved one vulnerable to financial elder abuse and the many fraud schemes that target the elderly.
  4. Increased memory loss: While a certain amount of short-term memory loss is to be expected as we age, a dramatic increase in incidents is important to watch out for. This could include accidental overdosing on medication, forgetting regular appointments, burning meals and the bottoms of pots by forgetting them on the stove and forgetting to lock windows and doors.
  5. Accidents: Falls in the home, scrapes on the car, fender benders and loss of balance are all signs your loved one needs additional support at home. Moving to a single level, easily navigable home and having access to safe transport services will help ensure their safety and your peace of mind.

Elder law attorneys can assist with Medicaid, Medicare and more 

At Sedita, Campisano & Campisano, LLC, we have over 30 years of experience in New Jersey elder law and can assist you and your loved one with:

  • Medicaid planning.
  • Accessing Medicaid and Medicare benefits.
  • Accessing state and federal veteran’s benefits
  • Drawing up estate planning documents, including a financial Power of Attorney, a healthcare proxy and medical directives.
  • Drawing up a Last Will and Testament.
  • Establishing a NJ legal guardianship.

With our expertise and compassion, we can help your loved one grow older with dignity, in comfort and with proper peace of mind. For a free consultation, please contact us today.

Elder care costs are on the increase – Here’s what you can do

New reports have shown that the cost of caring for the elderly is more expensive than ever before. With an average cost of a private nursing home in the United States being placed at $91,250 per year, it’s understandable that more and more people are concerned about elderly family members and even their retirement. Fortunately, you can manage this financial burden more effectively with this advice from New Jersey elder law attorneys:

  • Understand Your Options Though you can’t predict the level of care you or your loved one may require, it will help you set proper financial goals if you are aware of elderly care options and understand their associated potential costs. These options include Medicare coverage, long term nursing home care, or private home care.
  • What do the Federal Government and State of New Jersey offer? Both the Federal and State Government provide support to the elderly. This includes Medicare and Medicaid, as well as state initiatives, rebates and so forth. There are also programs dedicated to assisting veterans through the Veteran’s Administration and The New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, including adult day health care, respite care, home care and palliative care.
  • Start planning early. This is key to making a success of your elder care plan. Legal strategies, such as creating asset protection trusts, moving assets into a spouse’s name, private annuities and personal care agreements outside of the Medicaid look back period, will help meet the qualifications for Medicaid assistance. As elder law attorneys, we advise our clients to start developing a strategy with your attorney 36 months or more before the need for long-term care is anticipated.
  • Don’t forget about estate planning. If you or your loved one has an out-of-date or nonexistent estate plan, now is the time to take action. Legal documents such as Advanced Medical Directives will ensure you can specify the level of life-saving care you would like. A medical and financial Power of Attorney is also important, as it will ensure a trusted person of your choice carries out medical care and financial decisions in line with your preferences in the event you can no longer do so. In addition, your estate plan can include an updated Last Will and Testament or a Living Trust, should you require it.

Start planning today with experienced elder law attorneys

For more information, contact us today and speak to an attorney at Sedita, Campisano & Campisano, LLC. With more than 30 years of experience in New Jersey elder law, we’ll assist you with creating a Living Trust or drawing up other legal documents including Power of Attorney, medical directives and Wills. For more information or to speak to an attorney.

Healthcare proxy and medical directives are about preserving dignity and comfort

Creating a heathcare proxy in New Jersey is an important task that should not be neglected. A healthcare proxy is a document that appoints someone, chosen by you, to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event you become unable to do so. Many people appoint a relative or a close friend to be their healthcare proxy and it’s important to have a healthcare proxy for you and every member of your family.

A medical directive, which is another name for a healthcare proxy, ensures your wishes are carried out if you can’t make decisions for yourself. If you have any questions about establishing an official medical directive, please give us a call today and let us know how we can help you.

Let Frank Campisano assist you with friendly, expert elder law advice

Elder law requires compassion, expertise, trust and understanding. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to elder law, which is why we create customized plans for each and every client. We take the time to understand your family’s needs, wants and desires and when you trust us you can rest assured you’re in excellent hands. Whether you’re just considering creating a healthcare proxy or you’re ready to create an official document, our team is here to help.

If you would like more information about why a healthcare proxy is important, if you are in need of legal advice, or if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us today. Discover why so many people rely on us to arrange their healthcare proxies in New Jersey. We look forward to hearing from you.

Advance directives in New Jersey

What will become of you if you end up too ill or injured to communicate your wishes when it comes to prolonged life medical care if you don’t have advance directive measures in place? How will your family cope with having to make the difficult decisions on their own?

You can help by ensuring your family and health care providers are aware of your medical care wishes. Advance directive is the best way to ensure your decisions regarding your health care at potential end-of-life are made known to the medical professionals and your family.

What exactly is advance directive?

Advance directives are legal documents which detail and stipulate the type of care you are willing to receive, and the type of care or procedures you refuse. In these documents you will include how you feel about the use of breathing machines and dialysis. Also, it will cover whether you are willing to accept or refuse resuscitation if your heart or breathing stops. Tube feeding and organ donating are also areas that are covered.

What is the role of your attorney?

When it comes to drawing up legal and professional advance directives in New Jersey, Frank Campisano and his legal team is just the place to turn to. He will ensure your documents are drawn up and that the correct individuals are advised should anything happen to you and you are unable to communicate your own wishes. With his empathetic and compassionate approach you can expect for the otherwise stressful ordeal to be handled for your loved ones.

Part of the process is the appointment of a medical power of attorney, who is the individual responsible for making decisions in the event of you not being able to make them yourself. This particular person will need to see that the wishes of your advance directive are carried out to the letter. You can appoint a spouse, family member, child or even an attorney to be your medical power of attorney.

We encourage you to be in touch with us at SCC Legal – your first consultation is always free.

MEDICAID – The New Long Term Care Program for the Middle Class

By necessity, Medicaid, which was intended to provide assistance to impoverished citizens, has become the default long-term care insurance for the middle class.

medicaidConsider this: The average cost of institutionalized nursing care in New Jersey is between $7,500.00 and $12,000.00 per month.  Contrary to popular belief, Medicare does not provide custodial long-term care coverage.  Instead, Medicare merely provides up to 100 days of care in a skilled nursing facility per each illness.  The vast majority of nursing home care, however, is “custodial” not requiring skilled nursing care.  Medicare therefore covers only a very small percentage of long-term care. Unfortunately, people of moderate means are unable to afford long-term care insurance policy which can, at least in part, cover nursing home costs.   Most people therefore end up paying for long-term care out their life savings.  It is therefore essential that middle class families with aging parents start planning for Medicaid eligibility should the need for long-term care arise.  This need is particularly acute for individuals with a family history of Alzheimer’s and dementia, since 70% of nursing home patients suffer from these illnesses.

Medicaid is a public assistance program jointly funded and administered by the Federal government and the individual states.  Presently, a Medicaid eligible applicant must have below $2,000.00 in countable assets and below $2,130.00 in monthly income.  Medicaid, however, affords married couples with the ability to retain additional assets for the community spouse.  The present “community spouse resource allowance” is $115,900.00.  The basic strategy for Medicaid eligibility planning is to spend down the patient’s financial resources within Medicaid’s asset and income limits. The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, however, materially impacted Medicaid eligibility strategy by imposing a five (5) year look back period on all transfers where less than fair value is received. Medicaid will view “less than fair value transfers” as gifts, which must be returned to the patient before it will deem them eligible for long-term care benefits. Accordingly, the need for seniors to engage in long-term planning is essential to ensure eligibility for long-term care benefits without any unfortunate delays in receiving benefits.

Medicaid eligibility requirements are complicated and can present a mine field of costly errors for the inexperienced.  A misstep can lead to financially devastating penalties that can delay Medicaid eligibility for benefits for many months while nursing home expenses continue to mount at an average cost of $10,000.00 per month.  There are also many instances when an applicant has either overlooked a particular transfer or has made a gift to a charity or family member without considering its impact on eligibility.  It is therefore wise to proceed through the maze of eligibility requirements with experienced legal counsel.

At Sedita, Campisano & Campisano, we can guide you through the complexities of the State Medicaid eligibility requirements.  We can assist you and your loved ones in formulating effective strategies to pay for long-term care should the need arise.   It is never too late to engage in emergency Medicaid planning or too early to engage in long term care planning.

Estate Planning

A comprehensive estate plan resolves a number of legal questions that arise whenever anyone dies: What is the state of their financial affairs? What real and personal property do they own? Who gets what? Does a personal guardian need to be appointed to care for minor children? How much tax will need to be paid in order to transfer property ownership?

An estate plan can and should accomplish the following:

  • Identify the family members and other loved ones that you wish to receive your property after your death.
  • Ensure that your property will be transferred to those you have identified, as quickly and with as few legal hurdles as possible.
  • Minimize the amount of taxes that will need to be paid in order for your property to pass to others after your death.
  • Avoid the time and costs associated with the probate process by utilizing estate planning devices like living trusts and “payable on death” bank accounts.
  • Dictate the kinds of life-prolonging medical care you wish to receive should you be unable to make your wishes known when the time comes.

When your hard earned assets are at stake, then estate planning can not wait until the last minute.

Call us now for a free, no-obligation discussion of your estate planning needs.

(973) 787-0299

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