The field of elder law encompasses all of the matters that impact people who reach an advanced age, so we endeavor to pass along relevant information. To approach aging intelligently it is a good idea to gain an understanding of all resources that are available to you, and with this in mind we would like to highlight the safety net program for seniors and disabled individuals known as Supplemental Security Income or SSI.
Most of us are aware of the fact that Social Security is a program that is in place to provide income to retirees. In order to qualify for Social Security you must have paid a certain amount into the program throughout your life. The amount of your Social Security benefit is calculated based on the income that you earn and subsequently the contributions that you made into the program via your payroll taxes. When Social Security is calculating your benefit they use the 35 years during which you earned the most amount of money.
On the other hand, Supplemental Security Income has nothing to do with how much you earned; you can qualify for it if you did not contribute enough into the Social Security program to qualify for Social Security. SSI is potentially available to people who have reached the age of 65, those who are blind, and individuals who have been found to be disabled by qualified medical professionals.
As of the beginning of this year the maximum monthly federal Supplemental Security Income payout is $750 for a single individual and $1125 for an eligible couple. There are resource limits that must be met before one can qualify for SSI. You can’t have more than $2000 in countable assets, but your home, one vehicle, and some of your personal property do not count toward this figure.
If you’d like to learn more of the details about SSI and other programs that are of interest to seniors, simply arrange for a consultation with one of our Medicaid attorneys.
Alzheimer’s Disease and Incapacity Planning
During our current era, people are living longer lives. A man who has reached the age of 65 has a 60 percent chance of living to the age of 80 and a 40 percent chance of living to the age of 85. A 65-year-old woman has a 71 percent chance of reaching age 80 and a 53 percent chance of joining the ranks of the oldest old by celebrating her 85th birthday.
While life is precious, there are some challenges that can go along with reaching an advanced age. Perhaps the most formidable one is Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s causes dementia, and people who are suffering from dementia can find it impossible to make sound decisions. About 45 percent of the people in the United States who have reached the age of 85 are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. One out of every eight individuals who is at least 65 is an Alzheimer’s sufferer.
When you look at the widespread nature of Alzheimer’s disease coupled with the fact that people are indeed living longer, you can see why incapacity planning is so very important. Durable powers of attorney are generally at the root of the incapacity component that would be contained within a comprehensive estate plan.
With these documents, you name someone to make medical and financial decisions in your behalf if it was to become necessary.
Because these devices are “durable” they are still valid in the event of the incapacitation of the grantor. It is also possible to execute documents called springing durable powers of attorney. These devices become valid only in the event of the incapacitation of the grantor.
Attend a Free Seminar!
We have covered a couple of important elder law matters in this relatively brief blog post, but there is a lot more to understand if you want to be fully prepared for the future. Our Medicaid attorneys are holding a series of seminars over the coming weeks. If you attend the session that fits into your schedule, you can obtain a great deal of very crucial information.
Though the sessions are free to attend, we do ask that you reserve your space in advance, because seats are limited. You can visit our seminar page to check out the schedule and find out how you can register for the seminar that you would like to attend.