Special Needs Planning

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Everything Gets Complicated When a Person has Dementia

An Annals of Internal Medicine paper reports that the money needed to treat dementia in a patient’s final five years is greater than for heart disease and cancer. Take a look at this New York Times article by Gina Kolata.
Three diseases, leading killers of Americans, often involve long periods of decline before death. Two of them — heart disease and cancer — usually require expensive drugs, surgeries and hospitalizations. The third, dementia, has no effective treatments to slow its course.

So when a group of researchers asked which of these diseases involved the greatest health care costs in the last five years of life, the answer they found might seem surprising. The most expensive, by far, was dementia.

The study looked at patients on Medicare. The average total cost of care for a person with dementia over those five years was $287,038. For a patient who died of heart disease it was $175,136. For a cancer patient it was $173,383. Medicare paid almost the same amount for patients with each of those diseases — close to $100,000 — but dementia patients had many more expenses that were not covered.

On average, the out-of-pocket cost for a patient with dementia was $61,522 — more than 80 percent higher than the cost for someone with heart disease or cancer. The reason is that dementia patients need caregivers to watch them, help with basic activities like eating, dressing and bathing, and provide constant supervision to make sure they do not wander off or harm themselves. None of those costs were covered by Medicare.

"Everything gets complicated when a person has dementia," noted Dr. Christine K. Cassel, a geriatrician and chief executive of the National Quality Forum.

Maine Center for Elder Law attorneys have helped many seniors and their families with estate planning designed to fit each unique situation. We never know what life will bring our way, but we do know we can plan in advance--for everyone's sake.

Read more of the NYT article here.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Video describes elder law practice

This video is created by the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and Stetson University College of Law, which offers a master's of law in Elder Law.  The video is targeted toward upcoming attorneys to explain "What is Elder Law?"  However, it is a good explanation of issues that an elder law attorney can address.

This video could also be useful for caregivers trying to decide what issues they face.  In our office, we often see adult children who want to take care of their parents, but don't know where to begin.  This video is a good resource.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Bill would protect Survivor Benefit Plan for special-needs kids

The “Disabled Military Child Protection Act,” introduced by Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., on March 29, would allow military retirees who participate in the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) to transfer their benefits to a special-needs trust for their disabled children that would be accessible after the retiree dies. Civilian federal retirees are able to establish similar trusts for their disabled children, but there is no equivalent within the military’s retirement system.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Special Tax Deductions for Special Education

Here's a good article from Wall Street Journal:

More than six million children in the U.S. fall into the "special needs" category, and their ranks are expanding. The number of those affected by one developmental disability alone—autism—grew more than 70% between 2005 and 2010.

The tax code can help—if you know where to look.

There are numerous tax breaks for education, but the most important one for many special-needs students isn't an education break per se. Instead, it falls under the medical-expense category.

Although students with disabilities have a right to a "free and appropriate" public education by law, some families opt out and others pay for a range of supplemental therapies.

Read the full article:

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The Maine Center for Elder Law, LLC, assists clients with Medicaid (MaineCare) Planning, Planning for VA Aid and Attendance Eligibility, Special Needs Planning, Estate Planning, and Probate, Estate & Trust Administration matters in York County, Cumberland County and nearby Maine counties.

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