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Atlanta Georgia Elder Care And Special Needs Planning Blog

Obtaining SSI benefits for disabled children

Many disabled adults in Georgia receive financial assistance under the Social Security Disability Insurance benefits program. Many Georgians wonder whether similar benefits are available for children who are disabled from birth or at a very young age. The technical answer is "no" because SSDI benefits are not paid to children. Nevertheless, children can receive benefits under the Supplemental Security Income program which, for all practical purposes, is the same as SSDI benefits.

The following rules define disability for children. The child, if not blind, must be younger than 18 and either not working or not earning more than $1,220 per month in 2019. The income limit is raised to $2,040 for blind children. The child must suffer from a medical condition or combination of conditions that cause "marked and severe functional limitations." The condition must seriously restrict the child's activities. Moreover, the disabling condition must be expected to last more than 12 months or to result in the child's death.

Resolving disputes for children with special education needs

The state of Georgia and the federal government have adopted numerous programs to help children with special education needs. These programs can be very complex; both parents and administrators are often left wondering about the correct solution. Occasionally, these differences lead to genuine good faith disputes between parents and administrators. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act has established a dispute resolution process that is intended to protect the rights of the child and ensure that the law is followed.

The dispute resolution process begins with the filing of a complaint by any individual or organization with an interest in the interpretation of the law or regulation at issue. The complaint must be filed within one year of the alleged violation. The Division of Special Education Services within the Georgia Department of Education will resolve the issue within 60 days.

Governor adds funds to help elderly remain in their homes

Elderly Georgians received some good news from Gov. Brian Kemp in the form of increased appropriations for citizens who want to remain in their homes rather than moving into a nursing home or other institution. According to preliminary estimates, the funding could allow an additional 1,000 Georgians to remain in their homes.

The news arrived in the governor's budget for fiscal year 2020, which proposes appropriating an additional $1.8 million for home and community-based services for the elderly. The aid would be provided as part of the state-sponsored portion of Medicaid. An estimated 7,000 Georgians are on the waiting list for waivers of state limits on Medicaid in order to receive financial support for home care, such as help with bathing, dressing, meals, housekeeping, home health services and respites for caregivers. The ordinary income limits for Medicaid are raised if a person is granted a home health-care waiver.

How to choose the right care facility for your elderly parent

Past generations of Americans used to care for aging and infirm relatives in their own homes. But today, when both spouses typically are working while trying to rear their own families, this option might not be feasible.

If you are transitioning a parent into assisted living or a nursing home, you'll want to make sure that the facility you choose will provide good care for your mom or dad. This can sometimes be challenging if you don't know how to ferret out information about the facilities you are considering.

Obtaining Medicaid coverage in Georgia

Medicaid was enacted as a cooperative venture between state and federal governments to provide medical care to low-income people and families. Participation was made elective on a state-by-state basis, and, unfortunately, the Georgia legislature has chosen to make Medicaid out-of-reach for most Georgia low-income families.

Two laws intended to make Medicaid expansion difficult in Georgia were passed during the 2014 legislative session. The first bill prohibits the expansion of Medicaid benefits without legislative approval, while the other bill prohibits state and local employees from advocating for Medicaid Expansion. While certain politicians, including Gov. Nathan Deal, have been urging expansion of Medicaid coverage, nothing has happened, and Medicaid coverage in Georgia has not expanded. Many opponents of Medicaid expansion claim that such programs will bankrupt the state, but the state pays only 10% of the costs, with Federal reimbursement paying the balance. Even this minor expense would be offset by savings in other areas of health care.

How Medicaid funds are spent for health care in Georgia

Medicare and Medicaid dominated political discussions of health care during both the 2016 presidential election and the 2018 midterm elections. Yet, despite the attention paid to these two programs, few people in Georgia have any clear idea of how federal and state funds are spent.

Medicare is a federally funded program that provides health care insurance for people who have reached retirement age and satisfy certain other requirements. The federal subsidies significantly reduce the cost of health insurance for elderly Georgians.

How a lawyer can help with special needs planning

Parents with special needs children are often overwhelmed with the myriad of laws and regulations that apply to the various medical and housing benefits available. One of the risks of wading into this morass without legal advice is the chance of overlooking an aid program that may provide the kind of care that the child needs.

Some of the legal issues that parents of a special needs child face include ensuring Medicaid eligibility, applying for the most beneficial Medicaid benefits, creating a special-needs trust, setting up a guardianship or conservatorship for the child and dealing with a divorce. An attorney who is knowledgeable about special needs programs can provide guidance and advice for parents who want their child to live in comfort and dignity, even when they are no longer around.

What nursing home care is covered by Medicaid in Georgia?

As residents of Georgia age, they often worry about how they will receive medical and nursing care if they are unable to care for themselves. One of the most important government programs that addresses these questions is Medicaid, a federal aid program that is administered to Georgia residents by the state Department of Community Health.

In determining the availability of nursing home care provided by Medicaid, a person must first determine if they qualify based upon their income and net assets. The state sets the limits for eligibility, and these limits change frequently. In 2017, the maximum monthly income limit was $735 for an individual and $1,103 per couple. Resources were capped at $2,000 per individual and $3,000 per couple. Various legal arrangements, such as an Irrevocable Income Trust and other income shifting devices, may assist in meeting the eligibility requirements, but no one should draft a trust without first consulting an attorney experienced in such matters.

A special needs trust may help qualify you for aid

The soaring costs of long-term care throughout Georgia and the rest of the country make it difficult for many people to plan for a safe and secure future as they grow older or deal with an ongoing disability. Thousands of vulnerable people find themselves stuck in the "donut hole" each year, making too much income to qualify for government assistance while the ongoing costs of care drain away their finances.

In many instances, some careful planning and proper use of powerful financial tools can help those stuck in this spot to keep their rights and priorities secure, allowing them to qualify for the aid that they need while still enjoying the resources they have. A special needs trust may hold the solution that you need, if you or someone you love needs government assistance but still have some resources to preserve.

Who is eligible for long-term care under Medicaid in Georgia?

The existence of Medicaid is widely known in Georgia, but the details of this program, especially for senior citizens can often be hazy and mysterious. This post will review the eligibility requirements for this important program for people over 65.

Medicaid for seniors in Georgia has three main programs: institutional/nursing home Medicaid, Medicaid Waivers/Home and Community based services, and Regular Medicaid, including people who are blind and disabled. Single people cannot have a monthly income of more than $2,250/month to be eligible for the first two. A married couple's income is limited to $3,375/month. If only one member of the couple files an application, the limit is $2,250. All income must be counted, including Social Security, disability income and IRA withdrawals.

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