Sometimes you need professional guidance when you are navigating difficult waters. This certainly comes into play when you are looking ahead toward the eventualities of aging. Elder law attorneys understand the lay of the land, and they can provide you with information that you will invariably find to be very useful.
These attorneys focus on matters that are of particular interest to senior citizens. There are certain issues that are prominent at the present time, and you should certainly discuss them with a licensed professional so that you can take steps in advance to prepare yourself.
Let’s look at some questions that you may want to ask an elder law attorney.
When will I qualify for Social Security?
The age of Social Security eligibility depends on your year of birth. If you were born between 1943 and 1954, you become eligible at the age of 66. The age of eligibility then goes up by two months per year until 1960 when it tops out at 67. People born in 1960 and after become eligible at that age.
However, you can choose to receive a reduced benefit when you are as young a 62, regardless of your year of birth.
What about Medicare?
You become eligible for Medicare at the age of 65 if you have paid into the program sufficiently throughout your life. To qualify, you must accumulate at least 40 retirement credits while you are paying FICA taxes. Even if you earn limited income, you accrue four credits per year, so the vast majority of working people will be eligible for Medicare coverage.
Are there any significant gaps in Medicare coverage?
There are out-of-pocket expenses for things that are covered, but most people would find them to be manageable. However, there is a huge gap that everyone should be aware of: Medicare does not pay for long-term care. If you need living assistance at some point in time, you have to look elsewhere for financial support.
Is it likely that I will need living assistance eventually?
According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, 70 percent of seniors will need living assistance before all is said and done.
How expensive is nursing home care?
Nationally, the average charge for a year in a private room in a nursing home exceeds $90,000.
What’s the solution?
For many, the solution is Medicaid. This program will pay for long-term care, but there are income and asset limits, because it is a need-based program.
However, if you act in a fully informed manner, you may be able to obtain eligibility as you simultaneously keep assets in your family.
If you would like to have your elder law questions answered in person, send us a message through our contact page to set up a free consultation: Grand Forks ND Elder Law Attorneys.
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