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Elder Law Articles

How does work affect your Social Security payments?

Many people continue to work after retirement age, either by choice or out of necessity. But if you are receiving Social Security benefits, you need to be aware of how working can affect your benefit payments. Earning income above Social Security thresholds can cause a reduction in benefits and mean your benefits will be taxed. Whether it makes sense to work and collect Social Security at the same time is a complicated assessment that depends on

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The little-known tax on Roth 401(k) distributions

Employee retirement savings plans come in two main types: the traditional 401(k) and the Roth 401(k). The benefit of a Roth 401(k) over a traditional 401(k) after retirement is that distributions from a Roth 401(k) are tax-free, but there is a little-known situation in which distributions can be taxed. Contributions to a traditional 401(k) are made pre-tax, so although it reduces your taxable income in the year you contribute to it, you have to pay taxes

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How to prepare when elderly parents move in with adult children

More and more parents are moving in with their adult children, and the trend probably won’t reverse any time soon. As nursing home costs continue to rise, children and their parents are finding that living together is a better arrangement, both financially and emotionally. But having a parent move in is a big adjustment for everyone, and it is important to be prepared. Preparations can range from making physical adjustments to the house to figuring out

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When can an adult child be liable for a parent’s nursing home bill?

Although a nursing home cannot require a child to be personally liable for their parent’s nursing home bill, there are circumstances in which children can end up having to pay. This is why it is important to read any admission agreements carefully before signing. Federal regulations prevent a nursing home from requiring a third party to be personally liable for a resident’s charges as a condition of admission. However, children of nursing home residents often sign

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Five rights that trust beneficiaries have

If you are the beneficiary of a trust, it may feel like you are at the mercy of the trustee. But depending on the type of trust, trust beneficiaries may have rights to ensure the trust is properly managed. A trust is a legal arrangement through which one person, called a “settlor” or “grantor,” gives assets to another person (or an institution, such as a bank or law firm), called a “trustee.” The trustee holds legal

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Long-term care insurance policyholder wins breach of contract suit over increased premiums

A long-term care policyholder has successfully sued her insurance company for breach of contract after the company raised her premiums. At age 56, Margery Newman bought a long-term care insurance policy from Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. She chose an option called “Reduced-Pay at 65” in which she paid higher premiums until she reached age 65, after which the premium would drop to half the original amount. The long-term care insurance contract set out the terms of the

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How to appeal a Medicare prescription drug denial

If your Medicare drug (Part D) plan denies coverage for a drug you need, you don’t have to simply accept it. There are several steps you can take to fight the decision. The insurers offering Medicare drug plans choose both brand-name and generic medicines that they will include in a plan’s “formulary.” This is the roster of drugs the plan covers and will pay for, and it changes year-to-year. If a drug you need is not

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Proving a transfer was not made in order to qualify for Medicaid

Medicaid law imposes a penalty period if you transferred assets within five years of applying, but what if the transfers had nothing to do with Medicaid? It is difficult to do, but if you can prove you made the transfers for a purpose other than to qualify for Medicaid, you can avoid a penalty. You are not supposed to move into a nursing home on Monday, give all your money away on Tuesday, and qualify for

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Be on the lookout for new Medicare cards (and new related scams)

The federal government is issuing new Medicare cards to all Medicare beneficiaries. To prevent fraud and fight identity theft, the new cards will no longer have beneficiaries’ Social Security numbers on them. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency that oversees the Medicare program, is replacing each beneficiary’s Social Security number with a unique identification number, called a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI). Each MBI will consist of a combination of 11 randomly generated

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