Elder Law Blog

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David L. McGuffey is in private practice with the Elder Law Practice of David L. McGuffey, LLC, located in Dalton, Georgia. David limits his practice to Elder Law and Special Needs Law. This means he helps individuals who are elders or who have special needs, as well as their caregivers. Much of David's practice is devoted to helping...

David L. McGuffey is in private practice with the Elder Law Practice of David L. McGuffey, LLC, located in Dalton, Georgia. David limits his practice to Elder Law and Special Needs Law. This means he helps individuals who are elders or who have special needs, as well as their caregivers. Much of David's practice is devoted to helping individuals with chronic health conditions find, get and pay for good long-term care. David is certified as an Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation. David is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell. In 2012, David was invited to join NAELA's Council of Advanced Practitioners. David has been selected as a "Georgia SuperLawyer" in the field of Elder Law since 2013.

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Choose Wisdom

Inc. recently published an article titled: "Warren Buffett Says 4 Choices in Life Separate the Doers From the Dreamer." In that article, Warren Buffett tells us to:

  1. Pick your friends wisely.
  2. Go to bed a little smarter each day.
  3. Improve your communication skills.
  4. Say no.

 

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Grief and Mourning

First, let me say, I'm not a doctor. My opinions are simply my opinions. Even so, as a human being, I can ask questions and seek answers regarding our shared human experience. 

How should we grieve a loss, especially the loss of a loved one? There's no single answer to that question. At https://www.helpguide.org/articles/grief/coping-with-grief-and-loss.htm, the writer says there is no right or wrong way to deal with grief, and there is no time-table for grief. WebMD tells us that grief can have physical symptoms. https://www.webmd.com/balance/normal-grieving-and-stages-of-grief#1. However, we do know that for Christians (and those of Jewish faith) there is a wrong way to grieve. In Deuteronomy 14,  the scripture says "you are the children of the Lord your God. Do not cut yourselves or shave the front of your heads for the dead, for you are a people holy to the Lord your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the Lord has chosen you to be his treasured possession."

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CMS Approves Innovative Tennessee Aggregate Cap Demonstration to Prioritize Accountability for Value and Outcomes

The title of this new CMS approval is unnerving because it sounds like rationning. However, "the state has committed to maintaining coverage for eligible beneficiaries or state plan-covered services in place today." Time will tell. 

https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/cms-approves-innovative-tennessee-aggregate-cap-demonstration-prioritize-accountability-value-and

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Contentment and Trust

Anxiety over what you can't control robs you of today's happiness. If you truly believe God owns it all and that He will provide for your needs, then take a lesson from Paul as he wrote to Timothy:

"But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses." 1 Timothy 6:6-12.

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Is Life Insurance Subject to Medicaid Estate Recovery Claims?

The short answer is "no." Although the Department of Community Health takes a contrary position, Georgia law does not support their position, at least unless the legislature changes the law. 

O.C.G.A. § 33-25-11 Cash surrender value and proceeds of life insurance policies and annuity contracts not liable to attachment, garnishment, or legal process in favor of creditors; proceeds becoming part of insured's estate
(a) Whenever any person residing in the state shall die leaving insurance on his or her life, such insurance shall inure exclusively to the benefit of the person for whose use and benefit such insurance is designated in the policy, and the proceeds thereof shall be exempt from the claims of creditors of the insured unless the insurance policy or a valid assignment thereof provides otherwise. Whenever the insurance, by designation or otherwise, is payable to the insured or to the insured's estate or to his or her executors, administrators, or assigns, the insurance proceeds shall become a part of the insured's estate for all purposes and shall be administered by the personal representative of the estate of the insured in accordance with the probate laws of the state in like manner as other assets of the insured's estate.
(b) Payments as directed in this Code section shall, in every such case, discharge the insurer from any further liability under the policy, and the insurer shall in no event be responsible for, or be required to see to, the application of such payments.
(c) The cash surrender values of life insurance policies issued upon the lives of citizens or residents of this state, upon whatever form, shall not in any case be liable to attachment, garnishment, or legal process in favor of any creditor of the person whose life is so insured unless the insurance policy was assigned to or was effected for the benefit of such creditor or unless the purchase, sale, or transfer of the policy is made with the intent to defraud creditors.

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Amazon Billionaire Gives ‘Transformational’ Gifts To Disability Nonprofits

"Multiple nonprofits serving people with disabilities are receiving an unprecedented and unexpected influx of cash as part of a massive wave of donations from the billionaire ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos."

See remainder of article at https://www.disabilityscoop.com/2021/01/04/amazon-billionaire-transformational-gifts-disability-nonprofits/29133/

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Stewardship

There are many ways to approach financial planning and estate planning, but the one I believe in most is stewardship. Everything I own belongs to God, which means I should hold it with an open hand. That does not mean that everything God has given to me should be used for charity or for a formal ministry, but it does mean that everything I have is His and that is should further some goal which is Biblically sound, such as family harmony or unity. It means I should take care of those individuals God has placed in my way. The implications which follow are that God can take whatever He wants whenever He wants. Every spending decision is a spiritual decision. And that stewardship cannot be faked. 

Money is a God-given resource to accomplish real life goals and real life objectives. Build the family unit by spending on family vacations. Build romance between spouses by purchasing flowers. Give your children and grandchildren lessons so they can develop a talent to use for God's glory. Give your children an education so they can use it to serve God. Don't be afraid to make mistakes because your security is in God, not possessions. God has given you the Holy Spirit to guide you in making spending decisions so you have the wisdom to be obedient to His Will.

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Ripe Fruit

Recently it has become apparent that salesmen are attempting to lock individuals into long-term contracts for services that may or may not be useful in the future. As technology advances and competition increases, prices fall. Before you buy a long-term contract, review the product and review the litiature about the product to ensure that you're not buying what we call "ripe fruit." Anytime the writing is on the wall indicating that a product is on it's way out, be wary because unscrupulous salesmen will attempt to take advantage.

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2020’s States with the Best Elder-Abuse Protections

"Abuse happens every day and takes many forms. But vulnerable older Americans are among the easiest targets for this misconduct, especially those who are women, have disabilities and rely on others for care. By one estimate, elder abuse affects as much as ten percent of the population older than 60, and many cases go unreported – as many as 13 of every 14 instances. Our elderly population is increasingly vulnerable this year during the COVID-19 pandemic, so it’s especially important to make sure they have adequate living conditions and don’t get taken advantage of financially."

Read full article at https://wallethub.com/edu/states-with-best-elder-abuse-protection/28754

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Retiring in 2021? 4 Things You Need to Know

1. You can claim Social Security if you were born in 1959 or older

2. You may not be eligible for Medicare

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Supreme Court to hear case on Trump's push for Medicaid work requirements

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case over the Trump administration’s push for Medicaid work requirements, though the issue could be moot when President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/medicaid/528879-supreme-court-to-hear-case-on-trumps-push-to-impose-medicaid

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ABLE Accounts: How can we save my mom’s money from Medicaid?

A friend of mine, Shirley Whitenack, was recently quoted in an article discussing the ABLE Act and how it can be used to save money while becoming eligible for Medicaid. In Georgia, we call ABLE Act accounts "Stable" Accounts

To be eligible for a Stable account, an individual must be someone who developed their disability before the age of 26. The individual must have been living with their disability for at least one year, or they must expect their disability to last for at least a year.

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International Day of Persons with Disabilities (December 3, 2020)

FROM THE NATIONAL CENTER FOR HEALTH STATISTICS 

In recognition of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (December 3, 2020), we present estimates from the 2015–2016 National Study of Long–Term Care Providers (NSLTCP). (Note that starting in January 2020, NSLTCP was renamed the National Post-acute and Long-term Care Study (NPALS).)

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2021 Medicare Co-Pays and Deductibles

Listed at the following link are basic costs for people with Medicare. If you want to see and compare costs for specific health care plans, visit the Medicare Plan Finder.

https://www.medicare.gov/your-medicare-costs/medicare-costs-at-a-glance 

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Nursing home execs to Kemp: We need staff

Nursing home administrators from across Georgia on Monday shared similar stories with Gov. Brian Kemp about the biggest challenge they have been struggling with throughout the pandemic: finding and keeping enough staff to care for their vulnerable residents.

“There is a fatigue with our staff right now,” said Mark R. Todd, president and CEO of Magnolia Manor, which operates nonprofit nursing homes and other senior care facilities across Georgia. “They have worked extra shifts and they have done things above and beyond what any reasonable person has been asked to do, and they have done it willingly, and they have done it at personal sacrifice.”

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Understanding Medicare definitions

When a person first becomes eligible for Medicare, it can be challenging to make sense of the information while navigating healthcare options.

This A–Z article defines the most important Medicare terms relating to costs and expenses, as well as some terms that pertain to Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans (PDPs).

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GAO Report Finds That Schools Have Struggled to Fulfill IEPs Amid Pandemic

A report out this month from the Government Accountability Office dives into how schools managed special education and services for English learners during the switch to distance learning in the spring of the 2019-2020 academic year, finding that by and large, they struggled.

https://www.disabilityscoop.com/2020/11/30/schools-have-struggled-to-fulfill-ieps-amid-pandemic-government-report-finds/29099/

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Time's running out - Open Enrollment ends Dec 7

Find a plan: https://www.medicare.gov/plan-compare/#/?lang=en&year=2021

https://www.medicare.gov/

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CDC advisory committee discusses who should get first vaccine doses

The committee generally agreed that health-care workers should get the first doses of vaccine because of the risks to them and their patients and because they play a crucial role in fighting the coronavirus. Vulnerable long-term care residents also are in this first group, though members debated their situation at some length. Essential workers, including food, education, and energy workers, as well a police and firefighters, should be in the second priority group because these workers often don’t have luxury of working from home and tend to be racially and demographically diverse

https://www.inquirer.com/health/coronavirus/acip-cdc-advisory-committee-covid-19-coronavirus-vaccine-20201123.html 

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2019 Annual Statistical Report on the Social Security Disability Insurance Program

Almost anything you want to know about Social Security Disability is at this link: https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/statcomps/di_asr/2019/index.html

If you have questions regarding how Social Security determines whether a condition is disabling, you can check the Social Security Blue Book at https://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/AdultListings.htm

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