If You Want To Be Able to Continue To Afford Shower Gel, You Need An Estate Plan
You can tell who has someone on the outside who cares about them, because those are the ones who have a supply of pretzels to munch while they watch TV or a set of crayons with which to decorate Christmas cards for their relatives and postage stamps with which to send these cards. It isn’t just that their hair is always combed neatly after a visit from someone who cares, it is the hope in their eyes. As for everyone else, they’re out of luck. They’re stuck eating the cheapest food the government considers fit for human consumption and trying their tears with the scratchiest tissues imaginable. A fresh toothbrush once or twice per year is a luxury. Some of them don’t even have shoes. No, it isn’t prison. It’s Medicaid nursing homes. If you don’t want to end up there, contact a Washington DC estate planning lawyer and do it now.
If You Think Living Paycheck to Paycheck Stinks Now, Try Living on $90 Per Month
The Medicaid program came into existence in 1965, and among the benefits it has included since the beginning is nursing home care for medically vulnerable adults who need long-term residential care and have no other means of paying for it. The nursing homes are supposed to pay for necessities, including food and basic grooming and toiletries, but residents still receive a stipend, known as the personal needs allowance, to pay for discretionary expenses. Whereas Social Security payments automatically adjust to keep up with the cost of living, the Medicaid personal needs allowance does not. The last time the federally mandated minimum personal needs allowance increased was in 1987. Ever since then, it has been $30 per month. To add insult to injury, Medicaid helps itself to your Social Security benefits every month that you reside in the nursing home, and after you die, it can file a claim with your estate to collect the money it spent on your care while you were alive.
Maryland law has set the personal needs allowance at $90 per month, but even an amount three times the federal minimum does not go far. You are not a materialistic person, but it would be nice to be able to afford the shampoo of your choice from the supermarket instead of relying on whatever the nursing home provides or to break up the monotony of your days by going to McDonald’s once or twice a week for coffee and an Egg McMuffin. All the other aspects of your estate plan can wait, but nursing home care cannot.
If you are young and healthy enough that you are still in the workforce and do not currently depend on nursing home care, the simplest fix is to buy a long-term care insurance policy or a hybrid life insurance policy that includes long-term care benefits.
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An estate planning attorney can help you protect yourself from poverty in your own age, even if you generally care little for the things that money can buy. Contact Tobin, O’Connor & Ewing for help today.