December 5, 2012 § 3 Comments
With the real estate market continuing to decline, homeowners are faced with the discouraging reality that their home has significantly lost value and many struggle with the fact that they now owe more than their home is worth. To make a bad situation worse, there are some con artists that are using the opportunity to take advantage of elderly homeowners.
“Current real estate market conditions have opened the doors for financial elder abuse by obtaining property through undue influence or fraud,” says Elizabeth Ernster, an attorney with Ernster Law Offices, P.C., in Pasadena, California (www.ernsterlaw.com). “The unfortunate reality is that many seniors are being swindled by real estate agents who have convinced them into selling their home for less than its market value, and then making a large profit off the sale.” « Read the rest of this entry »
July 16, 2012 § 1 Comment
As readers of this blog are aware, Governor Quinn signed the SMART bill into law on June 14th. This means big changes to the programs available from the State of Illinois, especially for Seniors.
The biggest impact for most Seniors will be the elimination of the Illinois Cares Rx and Circuit Breaker Property Tax Relief programs. Thousands of people will no longer receive drug plan coverage with no premium. If you were previously covered by Illinois Cares Rx, you will now need to pay a monthly premium for your drug plan. Those who have not been contacted by their drug program provider, should contact them to find out the amount of their premium. Premiums are due beginning July 1. If you refill a prescription after July 1, you will want to show your pharmacy your new prescription card, or you may be charged full price. If you don’t have a new card, contact your plan provider. « Read the rest of this entry »
June 18, 2012 § Leave a comment
Last week, Illinois Governor Quinn signed into law reform bill SB2840. The bill completely eliminates funding to the Illinois Cares Rx program. This program helped thousands of Illinois seniors access necessary prescription drugs that they otherwise would be unable to afford.
Illinois Cares Rx was cut to help Illinois cut their budget in order to recover from its financial crisis, but the cuts are likely to cause more financial burden on an already weakened hospital system and eventually higher costs to the state. With the soaring cost of prescription drugs, seniors without aid will be forced to make decisions like paying for utilities or paying for prescription drugs. For those that choose to reduce their dosages or quit taking their pills altogether, it is easy to see how expensive emergency room visits will be on the rise. « Read the rest of this entry »
October 31, 2011 § Leave a comment
For many, the only option to receive regular in-home care is to rely on a family member to provide the needed services. Whether the reason is financial or personal preference, it is essential to have a contract between all parties involved if there are any type of wages paid to the caregiver.
The basic caregiver contract should be signed and dated by the parties involved and describe the services that are to be provided as well as the wage that will be paid to the caregiver. A well written contract will help eliminate confusion about what is expected from the caregiver and the care recipient. The contract is especially important and needs to be carefully prepared if the person being cared for ever needs to qualify for Medicaid coverage.
Important aspects to consider in order for a contract to be Medicaid eligible are:
- Fairmarket Reimbursement Rates – Some states have a maximum wage that can be paid to a caregiver
- Proper Documentation – After the wage is agreed upon, carefully document all payroll checks and payroll taxes
- No Pre-Payments – Wages can only be paid after services are rendered. No money can be paid for future services
- Prescribed Services – Some states require that caregiver services be prescribed by a physician
- Maximum Payments – The total amount allowed for services rendered can also vary state to state
- Think Ahead – The agreement cannot be a last minute deal among family members
Attorney John L Roberts, in his article titled “Caregiver Contracts that Protect Elders and Their Family Members” states:
“A written Caregiver Contract is a good idea for every family that wants to protect family harmony, and make sure everyone in the family understands how care is being provided to an elder.
The family member who provides care can save an elder from needing nursing home services, and may also protect assets if nursing home care is needed in the future. Elders who want to cover all of these bases must have a written Caregiver Contract. Whenever adult children and other family members are providing valuable care, only a written agreement will protect assets from nursing home care costs and qualify the elder for Medicaid.”
In many cases, it may be necessary to consult an elder law attorney to help navigate preparing a contract that follows all of your state’s regulations while also considering Medicaid rules for eligibility. A well prepared contract can help protect your family member’s assests especially if they wind up requiring nursing home care in the future.
If you have any questions about creating a caregiver contract for a family member, please contact the Law Office of Dawn M. Weekly, PC. The law firm located in Sandwich, Illinois and focuses on elder law and Life Care Planning for clients. Their office may be reached by calling 815-570-2334.