Going to a Nursing Home: What Counts as Income for Virginia Medicaid?

When you’re in the process of applying for Medicaid in Virginia, you need to know what you already own or receive in terms of assets and income. This is because Medicaid, while administered at the state level, is a federal program that is meant for those who have a high level of financial need.

States explain what counts as allowable assets and income on their own, so you should always do some research first by speaking with a dedicated estate planning lawyer in Virginia Beach so that you’re clear on what to expect when applying for Medicaid benefits.

Elderly people with limited assets and a high level of need who also meet the activities of daily living requirements to go into a nursing home might be able to turn to Medicaid benefits to pay those nursing home bills.

When it comes to clarifying what counts as income, the Social Security Administration defines this as income from any source. This means your income can include alimony payments, IRA withdrawals, Social Security payments, and more. Take a good look at all of the different sources that might be categorized as income for the purposes of your Virginia Medicaid application before you submit it; speaking with an elder lawyer is also recommended.

When one spouse in a couple is applying for Medicaid but the other is not, only the income of the applying spouse is taken into consideration. However, there are exceptions to this rule as it relates to someone applying for Aged Blind or Disabled Medicaid benefits in Virginia.

Beneficiaries who are approved for Medicaid will have nearly all of their income contributed towards the nursing home costs, even if Medicaid is covering a significant portion. Beneficiaries keep very little funds of their own when Medicaid is active for nursing home care payments.

More questions? Speak with a VA Beach elder lawyer now.


Does My Elderly Parent Need a POA?

There are many scenarios when it makes sense for your elderly parent to have a power of attorney document in place that names you as the agent. While some of these situations help in terms of convenience, there are others that might arise making it a real necessity to be able to speak up for your parent and make decisions for them.

If it becomes too hard for your mother or father to keep up with their own bills and they feel that it is overwhelming or mistakes are being made, this could be a sign that they need assistance with organization. Having a financial power of attorney empowers you to make these decisions for them and help them pay these bills on a regular basis.

If your loved one has a surgery planned in the near future, they might need you to take over on their behalf. In the event of an accident or other situation in which your loved one is not able to manage for themselves, a power of attorney document gives them peace of mind that you can step in at a moment’s notice.

A recent diagnosis might also be the trigger point for you to draft a power of attorney document. If your loved one is now trying to figure out what their future looks like, having a power of attorney document means that your loved one can continue making decisions on their own behalf until they become unable to do so anymore. At that point, the power of attorney is activated so that you can help them decide the best financial and medical options for them with their condition.

Need help reviewing or drafting your POA in Virginia? Schedule a meeting today.

What is Elder Financial Abuse?

Are you concerned about your elderly loved one being exposed to potential financial abuse? Elder financial abuse has a broad reach across not just Virginia but all over the country. There are three big reasons why the elderly are often targeted: cognitive and physical changes associated with aging, dependency on other people, and the volume of assets that some elderly people accumulate in their older years.

At the end of 2017, retirement assets in the U.S. for people over age 65 and above were $28.2 trillion. This means that many older people could be targeted as victims of elder abuse.

Unauthorized or illegal acts to deprive an older person of their money or other assets could be defined as elder abuse. Using the resources of an older person for personal gain or profit could mean that the assets your loved ones has worked so hard to build could be decimated.

Financial abuse affecting elderly people can include procuring a power of attorney through fraud or engaging in practices that provide unauthorized access to an older person’s assets. It’s believed that senior citizens lose about $3 billion per year as a result of elder abuse.

Elders most likely to suffer financial abuse include those living in long term care facilities, those who have lost a spouse recently when that spouse handled the finances, and seniors who rely on others for personal care.

Protecting your loved ones from elder abuse begins with the right estate planning documents. Contact the office of a Virginia Beach estate planning attorney today.



How to Guard Against Financial Abuse of the Elderly

Whether you are care taking for an elderly loved one or concerned about the possibility of being targeted for elder abuse yourself, it is important to realize the signs and symptoms of someone attempting to take advantage of the elderly.

Some of the following behaviors are indications that someone has been involved in perpetrating financial abuse against an elderly person.

These include:

  • Using the property or possessions of the elderly person without permission.
  • Directly stealing money or property from the elderly person.
  • Forging the elderly individual’s signatures on documents or checks.
  • Forcing the elderly person to sign a legal document like a power of attorney deed or will, listing the perpetrator of the abuse as the one who is responsible for the elderly person and who will benefit when that elderly individual passes away.
  • Perpetrating telemarketing scams in which the elderly person is contacted and deceived.
  • Charging things against an elderly individual’s credit cards without the authorization of the card holder.

It is very important for every elderly person and family members who are helping to articulate a long term plan for those who could be exposed to financial abuse to know these challenges and to exercise tools such as a power of attorney to appoint a trust worthy agent to act on behalf of the elderly person.

Selecting the right power of attorney agent can have important implications for the loved one’s medical and financial decisions. Now is the time to speak with a dedicated Virginia lawyer about your power of attorney planning.



Virginia Beach Police Department Offers Support to the Elderly with Operation Lookout Expanded

This program is managed and sponsored by the Virginia Beach Police Department’s Crime Prevention Unit, Home Depot of Virginia Beach, the Virginal Department of Criminal Justice Services, Sentara Home Care Services, and the Virginia Beach Sherriff’s Office.

Operation Lookout Expanded is a grant that provides assistance for the installation and purchase of large view peepholes. Unfortunately, senior citizens are often targets for crime because of their perceived vulnerability. Making it easier for the elderly in Virginia BThinkstockPhotos-79166712each to see who may be at their door could cut down on fraud and other crimes and enhance safety throughout the city overall.
Anyone who is age 50 or older who lives in the city of Virginia Beach is eligible to participate in the program and there is no cost to sign up. A home security assessment needs to be completed by a Virginia Beach police officer. A large view peephole will be installed in the front door of the residence and 3″ screws will be added to the strike plates of the rear and front exterior doors. the purpose of Operation Lookout Expanded is to make Virginia Beach elderly residents feel safer in their homes.
To learn more about whether or not you are eligible for the program or to schedule a Virginia Beach police officer to come to your home to conduct a security assessment, contact the Virginia Beach Sherriff’s Office or the Virginia Beach Police Department’s Crime Prevention Unit.
Stay tuned to this blog for more information about estate planning and other key issues affecting senior citizens.

Planning for Your Future Healthcare Decision-making: What Are Superagers?

Some elders will retain a significantly sharper memory and cognitive ability than their peers. In a recent study, it was identified that these people all carry a very unique trait.
The natural process of brain decline regarding memory begins in the late 20s and early 30s, however the average ager, according to a recent study indicates that memory is atrophying at twice the rate of someone who is classified as superager. Atrophy progression seems to blocked by superagers.
One of the most important connections for you to make is that you may struggle with a cognitive decline at any point in time, particularly after a major health care event or a car accident, for example.ThinkstockPhotos-71036988
Paying attention to your health at all ages is important, but you might not always be able to make decisions for yourself. If you’re incapacitated but have clear wishes about your medical care, another person should know these concerns and be legally allowed to make them on your behalf.
Having critical legal documents in place such as stipulating who is eligible to make medical or financial decisions on your behalf can make a huge difference for your loved one’s ability to step in and articulate your wishes for you. No one expects to be a victim of an accident but taking the necessary planning steps now can help to minimize the chances that you and your loved ones will be confused and unsure of next steps.    Contact a Virginia estate planning attorney today to learn more.

Wealth Planning and Long-Term Care Planning for Aging Parents

If you have the responsibility of taking care of your aging loved ones, this is an extremely common situation that is facing more people in the sandwich generation. The sandwich generation often has children of their own, while they are also helping with the health care management or the costs associated with the loved one.
Many people don’t like to think about incapacity, money or death, but this is extremely important for any situation in which you are helping a loved one work through the issues of aging. There are several different steps that you can take in order to minimize the negative impacts of failing to plan. Failing to plan can make things more complicated for everyone, in the event that your loved one suffers from incapacity or suddenly passes away. Several different things should be discussed with your aging parents, including:

  • Putting together a living trust.
  • Planning for the possibility of long term care, including long-term care insurance.
  • Evaluating housing options.
  • Determining transportation needs.
  • Ensuring proper documents are in place.

Having a consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney can help you address many of the issues associated with the estate planning and the elder law planning process. Learn more about how estate planning Virginia can help you by setting up a consultation today.

Virginia Beach Seniors Can Be Made To Feel Safer For Free

The Virginia Beach Police Department is hoping to expand how safe senior citizens feel in their home by providing them a narrow focus on who is at their front door.
Operation Lookout Expanded is a program offered by the VBPD, in partnership with the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office that has “the goal of making our senior citizens feel safer in their homes,” according to the announcement.
“This program, provided free of charge, is provided to all citizens who reside in the City of Virginia Beach and are 50 years of age or older.”
With financial support from a grant, Operation Lookout Expanded offers installation of a 1-3/8-inch large-view peephole in the front door, following a free home security assessment upon request, by a crime prevention specialist.
“Even if you are not available for this incredible service please consider your parents, friends and neighbors who are eligible,” the announcement added.

Elder Mediation Can Help Keep Siblings Friends

The stresses and strains of caring for an aging parent, and especially determine what form that care should take, can push apart even the closest of siblings.

A recent story in The New York Times describes how two sisters nearly had a falling out after the death of their father in 2011 when it came to what was best for their 84-year-old mother.
“We were all confused and upset about the situation,” Rosie McMahan, 51, of Amherst, Mass., an educator and a counselor for teenagers, told the newspaper. “We had so many questions. How much respite should my sisters offer me? Should Mom’s name stay on the deed of the house? Where will either of them go if I can’t keep taking care of them?”
“It was hard to figure it out,” said her 50-year-old sister Therese, a midwife in Somerville, Mass. “How do we make decisions? What do we all feel comfortable with? What are the guidelines we’re going to adhere to? Every conversation ended with someone crying or hanging up, or both.”
“To help them navigate those difficult waters, they went to mediation to learn how to ‘stay in each other’s life and not have it be destructive,” as Rosie put it.”
“We wanted to stay connected as siblings, but if you don’t get someone else to help you out, you kind of fall prey to your childhood antics,” she said. “A mediator makes a hard job a little easier.”
“Elder mediation, an emerging area within family mediation, has gained so much traction that in 2009 the Association for Conflict Resolution, a professional organization, started an elder decision section,” the article states.
The story cites a 2001 report in the journal Conflict Resolution Quarterly that showed nearly 40 percent of adult children who cared for a parent said they experienced major conflict with a sibling. That conflict could be “over the amount of care, or money, or who should be making decisions, or just deep-rooted sibling rivalry over who does Mom or Dad love best,” said the report’s author, Deborah B. Gentry, a professor emeritus at Illinois State University.
“Most of the time siblings want what’s best for the parents,” Susanne Terry, a mediator in Danville, Vt., told the author. “They just look at it in a different way.
“Our goal is to help them figure out what their common interests are, so they can work together to find solutions.”

Article Predicts Technology May Change How People Age

Technology can’t halt the aging process, but a Huffington Post piece points out that it may change the way people grow older.

“Technology is changing everything, including how we will age and the quality of our senior years,” begins the story by Ann Brenoff ” Mobile devices, wearable gadgets and Internet-based technologies will help older adults age in place while monitoring their health and safety.”

  • The piece went on to site these specific coming advancements as having an impact on older Americans:
  • Talking street signs
  • Cars that drive themselves
  • Video-call doctor visits
  • Remote patient monitoring.
  • Online medical records.
  • Robots as caregivers.
  • A proliferation of LED lights in unexpected places
  • Safety monitors that “go way beyond nanny-cams
  • Homes that age along with the occupants
  • More apps to help people better understand their bodies