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Atlanta Georgia Elder Care And Special Needs Planning Blog

Obtaining Medicaid coverage in Georgia

Medicaid was enacted as a cooperative venture between state and federal governments to provide medical care to low-income 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 the Peachtree State 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.

Georgia resources for developmentally disabled people

Perhaps the only thing more difficult than meeting the day-to-day challenges of a developmental disability is sorting through all of the government and non-profit programs intended to provide financial aid for people with development disabilities. Georgia provides a number of programs, and these programs are often supplemented by non-profit programs.

The principal state agency for referral services is the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. The department maintains six regional offices, and each regional office has an intake and evaluation team that determines eligibility for assistance and recommends specific service agencies, depending upon the applicant's needs.

Understanding the basics of paying for long-term care

As loved ones begin to lose the ability to manage their daily care, finding a facility that can provide these services becomes a high priority. Most people in Georgia turn to one of two federal programs: Medicare or Medicaid. Medicare is intended to pay for most health care services for people over 65, and Medicaid is intended to provide medical care for people who do not have the necessary income or savings to pay for their own care.

Long-term care can be divided into two categories: custodial care and skilled medical care. Custodial care refers to activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, transferring from sitting or lying to standing. This type of care is frequently provided by people without medical training. Skilled care requires the provider to have obtained a certain level of medical training. Some providers of skilled care, such as nurses, are able to also provide both types of care.

Owner of assisted living facility indicted for Medicaid fraud

Finding an appropriate assisted living facility can be a complex and exhausting task. Now, investigators from the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office have added another layer of complexity: the possibility that the staff of a foundation that provided in-home services to elderly Georgians was stealing its clients' Medicaid payments.

Wishes 4 Me Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit, located in Lawrenceville, Georgia, that describes itself as "structured living for adults with disabilities." Prosecutors are alleging that the non-profit was funded almost entirely by money fraudulently obtained from the Independent Care Waiver Program, a state Medicaid program that helps disabled people live independent lives in their homes.

Does your will reflect the needs of your loved ones?

These days, caring for the needs of the people who depend on you requires careful planning and attention to detail. It is wise to take the time to create a will and estate plan that addresses these issues as soon as you can, because none of us are guaranteed another day, let alone another year or two, even in the best circumstances.

If you created a will some time ago, it is a good idea to look over it carefully and make sure that all of the will's provisions match your wishes and the needs of the people you care for deeply. If you don't update your will and estate plan when you experience significant life changes, the probate process may make your loved ones wait for many months before they receive a dispersal from your estate.

Long term care programs available in Georgia

Georgians who may be wondering about long term elder care for themselves or loved ones are often confused and frustrated when they try to learn about their options. Nursing home and Medicaid planning may become overly complex for some individuals. Some plans, such as Medicaid, are funded by the federal government, and others are funded by the state. Different plans may have different eligibility standards.

Georgia is an "income cap state," that is, a person who hopes to use Medicaid payments must have an income that, at the time of application, is no higher than the applicable state limit. Miller trusts are often used to reduce income counted by the state, but such trusts are complex and should be drafted by an experienced attorney.

Eligibility criteria for Medicaid programs in Georgia

Medicaid is one of the most important federal programs for low income families living in Georgia. Most residents of the state know that Medicaid is intended primarily to help low income individuals and families, but other groups may also be eligible. In order to be eligible for Medicaid payments, a person must be in one of the eligible groups and have an income that does not exceed limits imposed by the state.

Groups eligible for Medicaid include women who believe they are pregnant, children and teenagers, people age 65 or older, and people who are legally blind, disabled or need nursing home care. A person must also provide proof of identity and proof of United States citizenship. Medicaid regulations prescribe a hierarchy of documents that can be used to establish identity and citizenship. Determining whether a person fits within one of these categories and whether the citizenship requirement has been satisfied is relatively straightforward, but the determination of financial need can be complex.

Understanding the SSDI benefits decision process

People in Georgia who suffer from an illness or injury that prevents them from working are eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. Unfortunately, many people who may be eligible for benefits view the claims process as a dark and mysterious element of the special needs planning process. Just the anxiety about filing a claim can prevent many people from seeking these benefits. Much of this anxiety is the product of ignorance about the decision-making process used by the Social Security Administration. Once the ignorance is dispelled, the fear also dissipates.

An SSDI benefits claim must be filed with an SSA field or a state agencies usually referred to as Disability Determination Service. Benefit applications can be filed in many forms, including by telephone or mail or on-line. The applicant must provide evidence from at least one medical provider verifying the illness or injury that is the basis for the disability. The applicant must also provide employment records to verify the nature of the disability and its permanence. A medical provider must also verify that the condition is either permanent or likely to result in the death of the victim. After the evidence is compiled, trained staff at the SSA field office or the sate DDS will make an initial disability determination.

How to spot nursing home abuse

Abuse of nursing home residents is one of the most undetected and underreported problems in the United States and Georgia. The abuse of at risk adults may be physical, but it is almost always intentional. Anyone who has entrusted an elderly loved one to the care of a nursing home should be aware of the numerous clues of improper treatment.

Abuse can occur if someone intentionally harms or puts a nursing home resident at risk. Abuse can also be the result of neglect if someone withholds essential necessities or care. At-risk adult abuse falls into several categories:

  • Physical abuse that is used to coerce or inflict bodily harm. Physical abuse also includes the deprivation of essential services, such as medical care, food or water.
  • Emotional abuse, where someone uses harassment, insults, intimidation, isolation or threats to cause mental or emotional anguish
  • Sexual abuse involves any kind of non-consensual sexual behavior directed toward an at-risk adult
  • Financial abuse or exploitation, where someone gains access to an at-risk adult's finances and uses them for improper purposes
  • Self-neglect, where an at-risk adult fails to perform essential tasks of self-care and fails to ask for assistance

Special considerations for your estate plan

Creating an estate plan gives your loved ones something to follow when you pass away. You can set this up in a way that clearly conveys what you want and makes it easy for them to understand. There are several components that you should consider when you are trying to put this together.

All adults need to have anĀ estate plan, even those who don't have a lot of assets. This is because there are several other aspects of life that come into the picture in this plan. Making sure that you have everything planned can take stress off of your loved ones during a stressful time in their life.

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