The baby boomer generation represents a large percentage of our population. These individuals are reaching retirement age at the present time, with around 10,000 people applying for Social Security every day.
Because so many people are approaching retirement age, the elder law field has never been more relevant. Elder law attorneys focus on issues that are particularly relevant to senior citizens.
If you want to be optimally prepared for the future, you should discuss the elder law issues of the day with an elder law attorney. In this post we will look at a few questions you may want to ask, and we will provide some basic answers.
When will I become eligible for Social Security?
People who were born between 1943 and 1954 become eligible for full Social Security benefits at the age of 66. The age of eligibility then goes up by two months per year until 1960. If you were born in 1960 or later, you become eligible for coverage at the age of 67.
You can start to collect an early benefit when you are 62, but the benefit would be reduced.
How about Medicare?
You obtain Medicare eligibility through the accrual of retirement credits. In 2014, you get one credit for every $1200 that you earn. It is possible to accumulate up to four credits per year. Once you have 40 credits, you will qualify for Medicare coverage when you reach the age of 65.
Does Medicare cover everything?
There are out-of-pocket expenses that you must pay when you have Medicare coverage, including co-payments, deductibles, and premiums. You should account for these costs when you are planning for retirement.
Most seniors are going to need long-term care eventually, and Medicare does not pay for custodial care at all. This is a very significant gap, because long-term care is very expensive.
Is there a solution?
For many people, the solution is Medicaid. This is another government health insurance program, but it is only available to people with limited financial resources.
People who were never financially needy qualify for Medicaid through a process called a Medicaid spend down. When you spend down, you spend or give away assets before you apply for coverage.
Can I give away assets as soon as I find out I need long-term care?
The answer is no, because there is a five-year look-back. If you give away assets within five years of applying, your eligibility is delayed.
However, with careful planning, you can divest yourself of assets in a measured fashion so that you are prepared at the right time.
Free Elder Law Consultation
If you would like to discuss the future with a licensed attorney, we can help. We offer free consultations, and you can send us a message through this link to request an appointment: Southampton PA Elder Law Attorneys.
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