Volume 6 Issue 4

Winter 2016

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Karla B. Levinson, Esq.
Tanya S. Sellers, Esq.

Contact Us: 

Address:
1326 King Street

Wilmington, DE 19801

Phone:
(302) 656-3393

Fax:
(302) 656-1993

Website:
www.levinsonfirm.com

BRRRR!! 

Did you know, every Winter, at least one septillion (that’s a 1 followed by 24 zeros) snow crystals fall from the sky?

Stay warm out there! 

Post-Election Changes

After a presidential election, understandably, our clients always have lots of questions about potential changes to elder law planning. Often times, tax considerations and government programs, like Medicaid and Veterans Benefits, are reviewed. While change can be slow to occur, it is the perfect opportunity to make sure long-term care planning is a consideration for seniors and their families. The following information is adapted from Valerie Peterson’s November 10, 2106 article, “The Need for Elder Law Planning Increases Post-Election” on the ElderCounsel Blog.

Possible Medicaid Changes: 
For some time, House Republicans have been concerned with Medicaid reform. Their general idea is to set limits on how much to reimburse states per Medicaid enrollee. Their proposed changes would either give states a set amount of Medicaid funding based on current spending OR disregard changes in costs per enrollee beyond the growth limit, which is set below the projected rates of growth under current Medicaid laws. While these options may allow for more control of federal spending and give states additional flexibility, they do create an incentive for states to reduce Medicaid payment rates AND restrict benefits. This is not good news for those applying for long -term care Medicaid. However, it should be said that these per capita caps and block grants are nothing new. Over the past twenty years, they have been proposed multiple times, but never implemented.

Potential Affordable Care Act Repeal: 
Both the President-elect and House Republicans have been very vocal about repealing the Affordable Care Act as soon as possible. If this takes place, approximately 14 million fewer people would have access to Medicaid, meaning more innovative ways to obtain Medicaid may need to be utilized.

Improvements for Veterans: 
It’s no secret that the VA has long been criticized for how applications for benefits have been handled. A large part of the President-elect’s campaign was VA reform. If this plan is ultimately implemented, it will dramatically improve the treatment of Veterans. The VA has yet to publish their final rules regarding the Aid & Attendance benefit, so the effects on the pension are not yet known. It is likely that the changes will include a lookback and/or a penalty period.

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Post-Election Changes - continued

Potential Cuts to Medicare and Social Security: 
Most of us know that House Republicans have been trying to place a cap on the government’s share of Medicare for years, meaning large Medicare premium increases and Social Security benefit limitations by raising the age of retirement. The President-elect has proposed a $6.2 trillion tax cut. While a cut this large may not be approved by Congress, a tax cut of some sort will ultimately occur. To cover the cost, it is possible that both Medicare and Social Security could be targeted.

Conclusion: 
It is not our intent to scare anyone or pretend to see the future of these issues. Our only goal is to educate you on the outlook given the information we have available. If you have specific questions about any information in this article or would like to discuss your individual situation, please give the office a call at 302-656-3393. As always, we will continue to provide you with updates as things move forward.

This newsletter is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For legal advice, consult a licensed attorney. The examples used are simplified for ease of understanding and illustration of general concepts. 

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About the Firm: Announcements

September:

  • Kate exhibited at the Geriatric Medicine Symposium at Christiana Hospital for physicians, hospital staff, and nursing students.

October:

  •  Kate exhibited at the Spring Arbor Health Fair in Middletown.
  •  Karla, Tanya Sellers, and Dawn presented elder law information at a three-part series at the Claymore Senior Center in Wilmington.
  •  Karla presented “The Top 10 Things Every Senior Needs to Know About Elder Law” at Seasons Hospice in Newark.

November:

  •  Tonya McBride celebrated her 10 year anniversary with the office.
  •  Kate attended an Alzheimer’s Awareness seminar at Lodge Lane in Wilmington.
  •  Karla presented on VA Benefits at The Summit in Hockessin.
  •  Tanya Sellers attended the Delaware State Bar Association Elder Law Section Meeting.
  •  Kate exhibited at the Alzheimer’s Association Annual Dementia Conference in Dover.
  •  The office sponsored a tree at Delaware Hospice’s Annual Festival of Trees at Cokesbury Village in Hockessin
  •  Karla was recognized as a “Top Elder Law Attorney” by Delaware Today Magazine.
  •  Tanya Sellers received her VA Accreditation from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Home for the Holidays

After the holidays, we typically receive a rash of calls from adult children who have found their family member to have aged a little more than expected since their last visit home. Some typical signs that a relative may need assistance are:

  • Weight loss/poor personal hygiene
  • Unusually cluttered, dirty, or messy home
  • Unusually loud or quiet, paranoid, agitated behavior
  • Self-imposed isolation
  • Signs of forgetfulness (i.e. unopened mail, unpaid bills, unfilled prescriptions, etc.)
  • Unusual purchases

If you notice physical and/or mental symptoms that indicate your loved one may need some extra help, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. We would be happy to talk about keeping your family member safe and, in turn, giving you peace of mind.

Volume 6 Issue 4

Page 4

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This newsletter is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For legal advice, consult a licensed attorney. The examples used are simplified for ease of understanding and illustration of general concepts.

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The Highest Compliment Is Your Trust!

We would like to thank YOU for continuing to refer our firm to others. It is because of you that we can assist so many with their elder law needs. 

A warm thank you to: 

Stacey Battles – Millcroft
Kristen Bennett, Esq. – Gawthrop Greenwood
George Brancati, Esq.
Barbara A. Brodoway, Esq. – Ward & Taylor, LLC
John Conly, Esq.
Rich Costello, Group Insurance and Investment Solutions
Matt D’Emilio, Esq. – Cooch and Taylor
Christine Demsey, Esq.
Cyndy Fanning – Swank Memory Care Center
Stephen Felt – Morgan Stanley
David D. Finocchiaro, Esq. – Law Offices of David D. Finocchiaro, LLC
Richard Franta, Esq. – Law Office of Richard Franta
Jerome Grossman, Esq. – Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor
Claudia McFarland – Regal Heights
Donna Meriggi – Morgan Stanley Wealth Management
Michael Modica, Esq.
Brian T. Murray, Esq.
Denise Nordheimer, Esq. – Nordheimer Law
David Parkinson – The Lorelton
Michael Porter – Janney Montgomery Scott, LLC
Joe Quig – Edward Jones Investments
Susan Ricciardi – Regal Heights
Tiffany Rubin – Nurse Next Door
Rob Sanderson – Sanderson & Associates
Julie Saville – MeadowWood
Allison Sullivan – Home Instead
Tomasetti Law, LLC
Anika Turner – Newark Senior Center
Honey Woods – Evergreen Adult Day Program