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The 2020 census is starting soon, and seniors need to be counted. This may be more of a challenge this year because for the first time, the census will be completed largely online. The U.S Constitution mandates that the federal government conduct a census every 10 years. Information from the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 23, 2020 at Fong Law Group
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For years people have been worried about Social Security’s future, but what is the actual outlook? According to the federal government, unless Congress acts to intervene, Social Security shortfalls are expected beginning in 2035. Social Security retirement benefits are financed primarily through dedicated payroll taxes paid by workers and their... Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2020 at Fong Law Group
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The Trump administration has unveiled a plan to allow states the option to cap Medicaid spending using block grants. While this change does not directly affect nursing home residents on Medicaid and is billed as a way to improve state flexibility in running Medicaid programs, it could result in significant... Continue reading
Posted Mar 9, 2020 at Fong Law Group
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The basic Medicaid rule for nursing home residents is that they must pay all of their income, minus certain deductions, to the nursing home. The deductions include a $60-a-month personal needs allowance (this amount may be somewhat higher or lower in your state), a deduction for any uncovered medical costs... Continue reading
Posted Mar 2, 2020 at Fong Law Group
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As baby boomers age, more and more millennials are becoming caregivers. Many are taking on this role while just getting started in their own lives, leading to difficult decisions about priorities. Proper planning can help them navigate this terrain. The term “sandwich generation” was coined to refer to baby boomers... Continue reading
Posted Feb 24, 2020 at Fong Law Group
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Recognizing the huge problems caused by opioid addiction in the United States, Medicare is adding a new outpatient opioid treatment benefit, paying for methadone and related treatment in certain facilities. Under a new rule taking effect in January 2020, Medicare will now provide payment to opioid treatment programs (OTPs), also... Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2020 at Fong Law Group
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Medicaid law provides special protections for the spouses of Medicaid applicants to make sure the spouses have the minimum support needed to continue to live in the community while their husband or wife is receiving long-term care benefits, usually in a nursing home. The so-called "spousal protections" work this way:... Continue reading
Posted Feb 10, 2020 at Fong Law Group
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Seniors and retirees should know that they may be able to use online tax preparation software free of charge. Most low- and middle-income Americans qualify for the free help, but do not take advantage of it. And all seniors are eligible for free counseling assistance from the IRS. The tax... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2020 at Fong Law Group
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As the population ages, the need for caregivers is growing, but more restrictive immigration policities such as those being promoted by the Trump administration could have a negative impact on a caregiving industry that is already facing workforce shortages. The Supreme Court is currently considering the administration's decision to end... Continue reading
Posted Jan 27, 2020 at Fong Law Group
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Medicare does not offer much in the way of dental benefits. To get dental coverage, you need to purchase separate and often costly dental insurance or sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan that includes dental care. Advocates for Medicare beneficiaries are arguing for a change. Common dental procedures or... Continue reading
Posted Jan 20, 2020 at Fong Law Group
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KEY POINTS Put up to $19,500 in your workplace 401(k) plan, plus another $6,500 if you’re 50 and over in 2020. This also lowers your taxable income. The standard deduction for single filers will be $12,400. It rises to $24,800 for married couples filing jointly. Giving away wealthy? An individual... Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2020 at Fong Law Group
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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released the 2020 federal guidelines for how much money the spouses of institutionalized Medicaid recipients may keep, as well as related Medicaid figures. In 2020, the spouse of a Medicaid recipient living in a nursing home (called the "community spouse") may... Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2020 at Fong Law Group
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President Trump has signed a spending bill that makes major changes to retirement plans. The new law is designed to provide more incentives to save for retirement, but it may require workers to rethink some of their planning. The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act changes the... Continue reading
Posted Jan 6, 2020 at Fong Law Group
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The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced the amount taxpayers can deduct from their 2020 income as a result of buying long-term care insurance. Premiums for "qualified" long-term care insurance policies (see explanation below) are tax deductible to the extent that they, along with other unreimbursed medical expenses (including Medicare... Continue reading
Posted Dec 23, 2019 at Fong Law Group
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When it comes to long-term care costs, the charges for home care are now rising faster than those for nursing home care, according to Genworth's 2019 Cost of Care survey. In the past year, the median annual cost for home health aides rose 4.55 percent to $52,624, while the median... Continue reading
Posted Dec 13, 2019 at Fong Law Group
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Nursing home residents do not automatically have to sell their homes in order to qualify for Medicaid, but that doesn't mean the house is completely protected. The state will likely put a lien on the house while the resident is living and attempt to recover the property after the resident... Continue reading
Posted Dec 9, 2019 at Fong Law Group
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After small or no increases the past couple of years, Medicare’s Part B premium will rise sharply in 2020. The basic monthly premium will increase $9.10, from $135.50 a month to $144.60. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the premium increase on November 8, 2019. Not everyone... Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2019 at Fong Law Group
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Being appointed guardian of a loved one is a serious responsibility. As guardian, you are in charge of your loved one's well-being and you have a duty to act in his or her best interest. If an adult becomes mentally incapacitated and is incapable of making responsible decisions, the court... Continue reading
Posted Nov 25, 2019 at Fong Law Group
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When it comes to long-term care costs, the charges for home care are now rising faster than those for nursing home care, according to Genworth’s 2019 Cost of Care survey. In the past year, the median annual cost for home health aides rose 4.55 percent to $52,624, while the median... Continue reading
Posted Nov 20, 2019 at Fong Law Group
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The Social Security Administration has announced a 1.6 percent increase in benefits in 2020, nearly half of last year's change. The small rise has advocates questioning whether the government is using the proper method to calculate the cost of living for older Americans and those with disabilities. Cost-of-living increases are... Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2019 at Fong Law Group
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After small or no increases the past couple of years, Medicare’s Part B premium will rise sharply in 2020. The basic monthly premium will increase $9.10, from $135.50 a month to $144.60. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the premium increase on November 8, 2019. Not everyone... Continue reading
Posted Nov 15, 2019 at Fong Law Group
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Federal law requires the state to attempt to recover the long-term care benefits from a Medicaid recipient's estate after the recipient's death. If steps aren't taken to protect the Medicaid recipient's house, it may need to be sold to settle the claim. For Medicaid recipients age 55 or older, states... Continue reading
Posted Nov 11, 2019 at Fong Law Group
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When it comes to retirement planning, many Americans find themselves underprepared. A majority of baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) and Generation X’ers (born between 1965 and 1978) often end up without retirement savings or don’t have realistic expectations about post-retirement costs. According to the Insured Retirement Institute, only... Continue reading
Posted Nov 8, 2019 at Fong Law Group
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Medicare's Open Enrollment Period, during which you can freely enroll in or switch plans, runs from October 15 to December 7. Don't let this period slip by without shopping around to see whether your current choices are the best ones for you. During this period you may enroll in a... Continue reading
Posted Nov 4, 2019 at Fong Law Group
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Granting someone power of attorney means that you are giving them the authority to make important decisions on your behalf should you be incapable of making them yourself. The scope, duration, and other specifics are up to you. While the laws vary in each state, it’s usually as simple as... Continue reading
Posted Oct 31, 2019 at Fong Law Group