An article by Matt Klinghorn, a demographer for the Indiana Business Research Center, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University, was published in the Indiana Business Review. It is very well researched and informative.
The article points out the fact that the first wave of baby boomers reached the age of 65 in 2011. At that time, senior citizens comprised 13 percent of the population. By the time the last baby boomer turns 65 in 2030, the figure will reach 20 percent.
When so many people are seeing their retirement years come into focus, there are going to be a lot of questions about the eventualities of aging. As elder law attorneys, we provide answers. Let’s look at the role of the elder law attorney.
Legal and Financial Guidance
There are many legal specialties, and different attorneys focus on different respective areas. Elder law attorneys are committed to the needs of senior citizens.
When you are going through different stages of life, you may not think much about your senior years. However, time flies, and before you know it, you may start to see your retirement years beckoning over the horizon.
If you consult with an elder law attorney, you can plan ahead for your retirement years and the twilight years that will follow.
Retirement planning is the first stage, and you definitely have to plan ahead in advance if you want to have the resources that you need to be able to retire in comfort. For most people, Social Security will be a centerpiece, but you should be aware of the fact that the average benefit is just $1,341 in 2016.
You earn retirement credits to qualify for Social Security benefits. These credits are earned when you pay FICA taxes. During the current calendar year, you receive one credit for every $1,260 that you earn. The maximum annual accrual is four credits. Once you have earned 40 credits, you will qualify for Social Security when you reach the age of eligibility.
Depending on the year of your birth, you become eligible for your full Social Security benefit when you are between 66 and 67 years of age.
If you accumulate at least 40 retirement credits, you will also qualify for Medicare. This is a government health insurance program, and you become eligible at the age of 65, regardless of the year of your birth.
One of the biggest issues that elder law attorneys deal with is the matter of long-term care. The majority of senior citizens will someday need help with their day-to-day needs, and long-term care is very expensive.
We practice law in the state of Indiana. Nursing home costs in Indiana are lower than they are in some states, but they are still very high by most people’s standards. In Indianapolis, the median annual charge for a private room in a nursing home was $97,411 last year.
If you are not too concerned because you will be qualified for Medicare at the age of 65, you may want to revise your thought processes. Medicare does not pay for nursing home care. This type of care is considered to be custodial care rather than medical or convalescent care.
You could potentially utilize Medicaid to pay for long-term care. This health insurance program is administered by the government, and it will pay for living assistance, but it is a need-based program. The program is only available to people with very limited financial resources.
However, there is a pathway to eligibility, even if you are not poor. If you are entering a long-term care facility while your spouse is still remaining at home, your spouse could keep half of the shared countable assets up to a limit, and your spouse could continue to use income that is due to you.
When it comes to the countable assets, you could give gifts to your loved ones before you apply for Medicaid. To do this in the optimal manner, you have to take action in advance, because there is a 60 month Medicaid look-back. Your eligibility for coverage is delayed if you give away assets within this five-year period.
Elder law attorneys help people who want to qualify for Medicaid without losing a lot in the process. If you take the right steps in advance, you can potentially gain Medicaid eligibility while you keep a significant store of resources in your family.
Consult With an Elder Law Attorney
If you would like to discuss these matters with a licensed elder law attorney, call us at (317) 684-1100 or send us a message through our contact page to schedule a consultation.
Mr. Kraft assists clients primarily in the areas of estate planning and administration, Medicaid planning, federal and state taxation, real estate and corporate law, bringing the added perspective of an accounting background to his work.