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Retirement Mistakes

retirement-150x150 Don’t make mistakes regarding your retirement. Your senior years should be enjoyable, relaxed and stimulating. They should not be frustrating and worrisome times.

Have Sufficient Assets and Cash Flow

You should not retire unless you have enough savings, pension, funds or 401K funds to support your lifestyle. Social Security alone will not be sufficient to fund your retirement goals. Social Security pays approximately $14,000 a year to retirees. This is simply not enough money to live on!

Be Active In Your Retirement

Researchers show that retirees who maintain an active lifestyle have a longer life expectancy. Exercise is important to seniors. Stimulating your body and your mind will keep you healthy, happy and extend your life.

Stay Close With Friends and Family Members

Don’t retire to your room. Have an outgoing social life and lifestyle. Stay in touch with the people you love and whose company you enjoy.

Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia

Studies indicate that approximately 14% of all Americans over the age of sixty-five suffer from some form of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. In the long run. Alzheimer’s disease and dementia negatively impact your brain, which in turn has a negative impact on your life and may land you in a nursing home. Medicare will not cover nursing home stays. Nursing homes can cost as much as ten to twelve-thousand dollars per month. To avoid the potential of an uncovered stay at a nursing home from impoverishing you, you should consult with an attorney who handles elder care work.

Elder Care Lawyer

The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo provides elder care legal services to our clients. We draft wills and trusts. We probate wills. We deal with Medicaid planning issues. We assist our clients with nursing home issues. We provide all types of elder care legal representation. We also draft special needs trusts and supplemental needs trustsfor our clients. Should you need a will, trust or an elder care attorney, call us at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

Retirement Planning for Single Americans

Who prepares better for retirement, married couples or single individuals? The answer is married couples. More than 85% of married couples have saving plans related to their retirement. This compares with only 67% of single individuals who have established retirement savings programs.

Retirement Planning

Americans who have worked during the course of their lives are entitled to receive Social Security benefits. Social Security is an entitlement program. Another entitlement program working Americans have the benefit of is medicare. Medicare is a program that pays for a variety of medical treatments for senior citizens. It pays for hospital stays, doctors visits and prescription drugs. Medicare is not designed to pay for nursing home care. If a senior is placed in a nursing home for rehabilitation purposes, Medicare will cover up to 100 days of the expenses of the nursing home facility. However, if a senior needs to go into a nursing home because he or she just can’t take care themselves, Medicare is not designed to pay this expense. Seniors can buy catastrophic health care insurance to cover this type of expense.

Retirement Savings Plan

There are various types of retirement savings programs. Some employers have pension plans for their employees. Another type of savings program through employment is called a 401K plan. This allows the wage earner to save without paying current income taxes for a portion of his or her income. Individual retirement accounts are yet another type of retirement savings program that provides tax benefits.

How Much Is Necessary To Save For Retirement

The amount of money an individual or family needs to put aside for retirement varies with the lifestyle and cost of living of the people involved. Most financial planners suggest that retired Americans will require between 75% and 80% of the income they had during their working lives for their retirement. This is a figure that is hard for most Americans to meet. Most families and singles reduce their expenditures and live simpler lives in retirement, thereby preserving their limited assets.

Elder Care Lawyer

The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo provides elder care legal services to our clients. We draft wills and trusts. We probate wills. We deal with Medicaid planning issues. We assist our clients with nursing home issues. We provide all types of elder care legal representation. We also draft special needs trusts and supplemental needs trusts for our clients. Should you need a will, trust or an elder care attorney, call us at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

How will Raising the Medicare Age to 67 Affect You?

medicare-150x150With the exception of the government, everyone will pay more money for medical insurance and medical benefits if the medicare age is raised to 67. A number of years ago, the Social Security retirement age for individuals born in 1960 or later was raised to 67. At the time they raised the social security age, they left the medicare eligibility age at 65.

47 Million Americans Receiving Medicare Benefits

There are more than 47 million Americans receiving medicare benefits today. These benefits impact on seniors, as well as disabled individuals. Most experts believe the current medicare system is simply unsustainable given it’s current structure.

If medicare benefits are raised to age 67, seniors who are 65 and 66 will be paying for two more years for their health insurance. If they stay at work their employers will pay more for their health insurance. There are estimates that raising the medicare age to 67 by the year 2014 will cost employers over 14 billion dollars a year. Even young people buying medical insurance will pay higher premiums because some of their premiums will be subsidizing the older members on their medical plans.

President Obama’s Health Care Plan

Many of the assumptions about medicare assume President Obama’s health care plan will go into effect and not be modified by Congress or struck down by the courts. The costs of raising medicare eligibility to 467 may be high, but it is necessary! Americans are living longer. The program is now based on young Americans supporting older Americans that are receiving benefits. As the graying portion of our population increases, there will be too many seniors for the next generations to support. Raising medicare benefits to age 67 is a step in the right direction.

New York Will Contests Lawyers

The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo has been assisting senior Americans regarding wills and trusts issuesfor more than thirty years. We draft wills and trusts. We probate wills. We litigate will contests. We draft special needs trusts for special needs children.

Elliot S. Schlissel is a member of The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. He handles elder care planning related to Medicare, Medicaid and nursing home issues. Call us for a free consultation.

Easing Into Retirement

retire-150x1501

When Is The Right Time to Retire?

It’s hard to say when it’s right time to retire; however, it is easy to say it is the wrong time to retire. You shouldn’t retire unless you have sufficient funds to carry you through your golden years. In the past, most people retired in their sixties. With declining savings and living costs going up, many Americans will have to wait till they’re in their seventies.

Retirement Suggestions

Instead of quitting your job, you may be able to negotiate reducing your working days or working hours. This will allow you to live without drawing on your savings. Downscale your life style. If you want to retire, you need to try to live more modestly. If your home is large, you can sell it and buy a smaller home or rent an apartment. You can move from an expensive state, such as those located in the Northeast, to cheaper, less expensive states in the South and Southwest.

You need to prioritize your needs. Instead of eating out once or twice a week, it is much less expensive to cook your meals and eat at home.

Forced Retirement

Losing your job or being downsized may force you into retirement. Employers may no longer want experienced employees in their fifties and sixties. This tends to raise the cost of their group health care and other group benefit packages. What do you do if you’re downsized and no one wants to hire you?You need to see a job counselor. You need to train yourself to work in another industry. Unfortunately, you also need to downsize your expectations as to what you’ll be earning.

Wills, Trusts and Estates Lawyers

The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo has been assisting senior Americans regarding wills and trusts issues for more than thirty years. We draft wills and trusts. We probate wills. We litigate will contests. We draft special needs trusts for special needs children.

Elliot S. Schlissel is a member of The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. He handles elder care planning related to Medicare, Medicaid and nursing home issues. Call us for a free consultation.

Medicare: How Do We Reform This Program?

meds1-150x150Cutting Doctor Reimbursements

Congress is considering a 23% reduction in the reimbursement to physicians who render medical treatment to Medicare patients. Will doctors accept this type of reduction?
There is concern that the doctors will simply refuse to treat Medicare patients if they are not paid a reasonable fee. This will force Medicare patients to try to find new doctors to treat them.

Slowing Health Care Inflationary Expenses

The best way to stop the inflationary increases of government health care programs is to reduce the rising cost of health care. The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 was designed to reduce Medicare expenses; however, it has not worked. This statute attempted to reduce spending for physician services. It did not take into consideration the growth in volume and complexity of services provided by physicians. It also did not change the “fee for service system”. This system provides greater incentive for doctors to do more procedures for their patients. The statute didn’t determine which procedures will most effectively cut costs!
Reforming Medicare
The best way to reform Medicare is to establish cost control measures utilizing less-expensive alternative medical care procedures. Medicare must be redesigned to move towards a system that rewards medical providers for the quality of the care that is provided, not the quantity that is provided. Medicare costs are a hot political potato. They need to be dealt with. The continuing spiraling costs of Medicare will eventually bankrupt the system. Medicare must be saved!

Elder Care Lawyers

The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo provides elder care legal services to our clients. We draft wills and trusts. We probate wills. We deal with Medicaid planning issues. We assist our clients with nursing home issues. We provide all types of elder care legal representation. We also draft special needs trusts and supplemental needs trusts for our clients. Should you need a will, trust or an elder care attorney, call us at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

Dealing With Nursing Home Abuse of Senior Citizens

nursing-150x1501When you place a loved one in a nursing home, it is your hope that they are going to be cared for.  The nursing home is responsible for meeting their needs for food, shelter and medical care.  There has been a significant number of cases in recent years where nursing homes have not provided the high-level of care that is their obligation.  In some situations, the seniors have been physically abused.  Other cases involve the theft of money and valuables from seniors.

Common Signs of Elder Abuse

There are many types of elder abuse of seniors in nursing homes.  They can be verbally abused, physically abused and sexually abused.  They can be neglected to the point that it has a negative effect on their mental and physical health.

Seniors who rely on wheelchairs, crutches or walkers can be abused if these items are not made available.  They can then become captives in their rooms, subject to false imprisonment.  There have been instances that our office has been involved with where seniors valuables seem to develop feet and walk away on their own.  Usually another resident or staff member of the nursing home is involved in the theft of the senior’s possessions.

What to Look for Regarding Nursing Home Abuse

To start with, you should always have access to a loved one at a nursing home.  There is no reason why a staff member should prevent you from spending time with a loved one.

The following are signs of physical abuse: sudden weight loss, dehydration, bed sores, marks from restraints, broken bones and other injuries from falls as well as over- medication.  These are indications of sexual abuse: bleeding or bruises in the genital area or rectum, torn or bloodied garments or the contraction of sexually transmitted diseases.

Verbal abuse can involve seniors regressing.  This is when the senior enters an infant-like state, such as sucking their thumb or mumbling.  Seniors can show an excessive fear or apprehension around other people.  Visible depression or anger can also be related to verbal abuse.

What do you do if you believe a senior has been abused? The first thing you must do is try to obtain documentation or evidence of what actually happened.  If you find abuse has taken place, it is strongly suggested that you remove the individual from the facility.  You should thereafter notify the administrators of the facility and agencies regarding what transpired.  You should also hire an attorney and sue the facility.

There are several types of lawsuits that can be brought against nursing homes.  Lawsuits can be brought to deal with financial abuse, verbal abuse, false imprisonment, physical abuse, sexual abuse and neglect.  Nursing homes must provide reasonable care to their residents.  Nursing homes are held to a very high standard of care.  The Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA) of 1987 requires that nursing homes maintain a specific high level of care if they are receiving reimbursement from either Medicare or Medicaid.

nursing-home-150x1501Nursing Home Abuse Statute

The federal statute regulating nursing homes is called the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 (NHRA).  This statute has specific regulation requiring all nursing facilities in the United States that receive either Medicaid or Medicare to maintain facilities that are safe, clean and well-managed for the nursing home residents.  Federal regulations require that all nursing homes residents have a right to be free from verbal, physical, sexual or mental abuse.  The rules stated in the NHRA are contained in a pamphlet called the “Residents’ Rights“.  An overview on the National Citizens Coalition for Nursing Home Reforms website is www.NCCNHR.org.  This Federal statute allows the recovery of “compensatory damages”.  These damages are calculated at 25% of the daily per-patient statutory rate of payment which has been established for the facility.

Elder Care Lawyers

We sue nursing homes.  Our office sues nursing homes that fail to provide the required high-level of care to their residents.  We will deal with issues involving nursing home abuse.  We also assist our clients in contested wills and estate proceedings as well as the drafting of wills and trusts. We assist our clients if they have special needs children with drafting a special needs trusts and supplementary needs trust. Should you, a friend or loved one have a need for an elder care attorney, call us at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561- 6645 or 718-350-2802.

The Worst States in Which to Retire

retire-150x150 Individuals who reach the age of retirement are usually on a fixed income. It is important for these retirees to receive the biggest bang for their buck. They need to live on a moderate level so they do not live longer than their money can support them.

According to the Pew Center for States Report, the ten worst states for retirees to live in are Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island , Wisconsin and California. Hooray for New York! It didn’t make the list with the other bad boys.

The report did indicate that New York has “very high taxes”. It stated that New York has the second highest tax rate and the fifth highest per-capita property taxes. The report also indicated that New York has a “dysfunctional legislature”. The report also pointed out that there was a benefit to living in New York because pension income is exempt from income taxes.

The report involving the worst states to live in focused on the fiscal health, taxation and climate of the states in the United States. It considered factors regarding which state to retire in involving taxes, climate, typography, the crime rate, recreational opportunities in the state, the quality of transportation and healthcare, as well as the cost of living and the physical health of the state itself. Individuals, before they retire, should take into consideration all of these factors and how it will effect the quality of their life. From my point of view, I would rather be happy and poor than have more money and be miserable.

Estate Planning Lawyers

wills-150x1502The Estate Planning lawyers at the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo have been assisting their clients in drafting wills and trusts for more than thirty-three years. We represent our clients with regard to the drafting and implementation of revocable living trusts and irrevocable living trusts. Elliot S. Schlissel, Esq., is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law attorneys. Our office provides all types of elder law assistance. We deal with issues involving nursing home abuse, Medicaid, Medicaid planning, special needs trusts, as well as supplemental needs trusts. Call us at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802 for a free consultation.

Paying for Nursing Home Care

assisted_living_250x251It is impossible to predict whether a family member will require long term nursing home care but one thing is certain. Medicare will not pay the cost of long term nursing home care.

Alternative methods of paying for nursing home care may involve long term care insurance, paying out of your pocket, or qualifying for Medicaid.

In the event you seek to purchase long term care insurance, it is important you get the following benefits:

1. Home care coverage.

2. An inflation rider.

3. Make sure to obtain at least 3 years of coverage.

If you seek to qualify for Medicaid, you should take the following into consideration:

1. You can only have about $2,000 in assets.

2. Your home doesn’t count in qualifying for Medicaid but Medicaid can place a lien on your home to cover its expenses.

3. If you have a spouse, he or she is entitled to retain up to about $95,000 in assets.

4. The individual in the nursing home has to give up all income except for $60 per month for a personal allowance, the cost of health insurance premiums and an allowance for minor children or his or her spouse.?

5. Under certain circumstances the stay at home spouse is entitled to a share of the nursing home spouse’s income.

6. The state can go after the Medicaid recipients estate upon his or her death.

7. The Medicaid application process is difficult, complicated and time consuming.

In the event that you need assistance with Medicaid planning to help preserve your assets in the event of a future Medicaid application or with an actual Medicaid application, you can e-mail us or call at 800-344-6431

Nursing Home Expenses & Medicaid

nursing-homeAmerica has a healthcare crisis. President Obama is now battling with Congress to deal with long term issues involving healthcare.

An area of healthcare that is very often overlooked deals with what happens to Americans when they can’t care for themselves.

The best way to maintain a senior is to keep them in their home under circumstances that they are comfortable with. Seniors live longer when they can stay in their home. If they need help beyond what relatives and friends can provide, home healthcare aides can assist them. As individuals age, sometimes their needs exceed those what can be provided for them in their home.

The needs of seniors are often met by assisted living facilities and nursing homes. Assisted living facilities are generally speaking private pay living arrangements. Seniors who do not have problematic medical needs and have the financial ability to sometimes choose to live in these facilities. The cost of assisted living facilities can be anywhere from $3,000 to $7,000 per month in the metropolitan New York area.

Seniors who have greater medical needs often go to rehabilitation facilities or nursing homes. Nursing homes can cost anywhere from $8,000 to $15,000 per month depending on the level of service the senior needs. How does a middle class person go to a nursing home without all of his assets utilized to pay for his or her care?

There is a program that under certain circumstances pay for long term rehabilitation and/or nursing home stays. This program is called Medicaid. The rules and circumstances involving Medicaid are complex and detailed. The most important rule for the public to understand is that there is a 5 year look back concerning the transfer of assets.

If you have assets and you wish to protect them for future generations, it is important that you see an attorney that handles estate work. Planning can be done to insure that if you do end up in a nursing home, all of your assets including your home, stocks, bonds, pensions, 401(k) and savings won’t be utilized to pay for long term nursing care. You cannot wait until you are very elderly and sick to use this type of estate planning. It must be done a minimum of 5 years prior to the need for nursing home or rehabilitation care.

Should you have questions, contact the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo. We can provide you with further information concerning Medicaid and estate planning. Contact us at 1-800-344-6431 or email us at schlissel.law@att.net.

Picture courtesy of levinperconti.

Long Term Care Hospitals – A Capitalist Solution

long-term-careDuring the past quarter of a century there have been over 400 long term care hospitals built in the United States. These hospitals do not provide acute care for specific illnesses. They are, generally speaking, holding facilities for individuals who are too sick for nursing homes but not sick enough for regular hospitals.

Patients often stay for many weeks or months in these facilities. Many of these patients are senior citizens. Long term care hospitals have a much higher rate of bed sores and infections among their patients than regular hospitals. They are also more profitable than regular hospitals. They generally do not do surgery in the long term care facilities or handle medical emergencies. Patients needing these services are transferred to general hospitals.

A large portion of the bills paid for the treatment at long term care hospitals are paid by Medicare. For profit, long term care hospitals often spend less money on patients and have higher profit margins than regular hospitals.

Inspections in the past 3 years in long term care hospitals have found increasing levels of violations of healthcare standards. Many long term care hospitals do not maintain staff physicians on a 24 hour basis. If you have a friend or loved one in along term care facility, you should monitor their treatment to see to it that they are provided with an appropriate level of medical care.

Should you have any problems regarding a hospital stay or a stay at a long term care facility, feel free to contact the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo at 1-800-344-6431 or email us at schlissel.law@att.net.

Elliot Schlissel, Esq.

Picture courtesy of life123.com.

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