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The Social Security Administration recently revised its rules addressing how pandemic-related financial assistance can end up impacting a person’s eligibility for Supplemental Security Income or monthly Social Security Income benefits. The Social Security Administration once counted various types of assistance as income and resources for social security income purposes, which led to individuals having their social security income benefits reduced or suspended. Sometimes, social security benefits were outright denied. 

A Change to What the Agency Counts as Assistance

Due to the covid-19 pandemic, the Social Security Administration has decided to not count many types of pandemic-related assistance against either Supplemental Security Income eligibility or benefit amounts. Some types of assistance that are now excluded include economic impact payments, state stimulus payments, unemployment assistance, paycheck protection, and loans or grants to employers and self-employed workers.

Deciding how to best care for elderly parents is never easy, particularly when they face difficulties in performing daily living activities for themselves. In an effort to resolve your responsibilities as well as meet your parents’ needs, you can unexpectedly end up facing various challenges, particularly if your loved one resides in a nursing home. Data currently suggests that only 4.5 percent of older adults or 1.5 million people live in nursing homes.

 At the end of the day, you likely desire for your parents to reside in a facility which may very well be a nursing home where they will be able to thrive as well make the most of their remaining time. With these issues in mind, it’s a good idea to review and plan around all aspects of nursing home life. 

Adapting to a Schedule

A study conducted by researchers at Cornell and the University of Toronto recently found that over 1 in 10 older adults in the state of New York is at risk of becoming the victims of elder abuse over the next decades. Poor health has been determined to be a major risk factor in abuse. Black elderly individuals are also reported to be at a greater risk of financial abuse. 

The study, Estimated Incidence and Factors Associated with Risk of Elder Mistreatment in New York State,  tracked abuse over time among hundreds of older adults who had not previously been abused. The study subsequently determined that elder abuse is widespread. The research followed elderly adults over a 10 year period. 

While the study only examined New York state, the researchers who performed the study have commented that the results are likely to be indicative of the conditions that exist in the rest of the country. 

Much attention has been paid the last year to the conservatorship of Britney Spears. A judge this year recently denied a 

request to remove Spears’ father as her conservator. Consequently, some people expect that Brittney Spears will soon seek for the court to end her conservatorship entirely. Due to this case, many people have begun to consider whether a conservatorship might be right for them or their loved one. This article reviews some of the most common questions that people have about conservatorships and the role that they can play in estate planning.

What A Conservatorship Is

TD Wealth recently released a survey of estate planning experts who report that health care costs are now the biggest threat to estate planning. While only 7% of estate planning experts reported this information in 2019, 22% of estate planning professionals cited health care costs as at the forefront of estate planning concerns. Additionally, concerns about market volatility rose substantially from last year. Family conflict fell from 25% in 2020 to 10% this year. Over the course of previous years, TD Wealth reported that the most common cause of family conflict was the failure to communicate estate plans with family members. The number of family conflicts fell substantially in 2021. The study also reported that 89% of estate planners reported female clients losing jobs, leaving the workforce, or facing salary cuts due to the pandemic. As a result, a large number of female clients made changes to their financial situation. Women have been negatively impacted more than men due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Prepare for How Much You Will Need in Health Care Costs

An average retired couple age 65 in 2021 needs approximately $300,000 saved after taxes to cover health care expenses that they face during retirement. This amount, however, can vary substantially based on when you retire as well as your health later on in life. The sooner that you can prepare a plan for how you will pay these costs, the better. The amount that you need also depends on what type of financial accounts you use to pay for your healthcare.

Many times when a widow remarries, unseen financial challenges in addition to a new marriage occur. Unfortunately, this means that many times what widows see as great matches quickly evaporate into economic despair. Fortunately, financial advisors and estate planning attorneys can help to avoid such undesirable results. 

    Remarriage leaves widows financially exposed. Various strategies, however, can greatly reduce this risk while also protecting assets from a new spouse who might have questionable intentions. Many couples, unfortunately, overlook the fact that what most widows want more than anything is to feel safe and secure about the future. This article reviews some helpful estate planning steps whether you’re a recent or long-time widower to make sure that your assets remain protected.

Beneficiary Designations

As they look towards the end of their lives, most people want nothing more than to spend every day independent and in their own homes. In reality, however, this is not always possible. Deciding to play a loved one in a nursing home can be a difficult decision and can leave those who helped make the decision plagued with uncertainty and guilt. Despite these negative feelings, it’s often necessary to place a loved one in a nursing home. 

Fortunately, even if your loved one has recently had to enroll in a nursing home, you can still be there for them. While you might not be your loved one’s primary caregiver now, you still can play an influential role in making sure whether or not they are happy. This article reviews some helpful strategies to remember if you want to continue playing a positive role in your loved one’s care after they enter a nursing home. 

Acknowledge that the Change Is a Necessary One

President Biden as well as progressive Democrats have proposed lowering Medicare’s eligibility age to 60 to help older individuals obtain affordable coverage. A new study, however, has found that Medicare is more expensive than other options for individuals with modest assets. Two reasons exist why Medicare is more expensive: traditional Medicare contains gaps in what it covers which often necessitates purchasing supplemental insurance.  Additionally, premiums for the Affordable Care Act have dropped substantially due to President Biden’s COVID relief measure and as a result, the act has become more attractive. This article reviews some critical details that you should remember if you’re helping a loved one consider whether Medicare is the best option for them. 

# 1 – Long Term Care Insurance

Provided that you’re capable of being insured and can pay for the premiums, long-term care might be the best option that you need to satisfy your needs. Coverage, however, varies based on the insurance company you utilize as well as what plan you end up choosing. Assisted living costs continue to climb, though. If you can pursue long-term care insurance as an option, you should make sure to start planning early. The more a person ages, the more difficult a time an individual has getting covered by an insurance carrier. 

A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 22 percent of older adults in the United States experience functional impairment which is characterized by the difficulty to perform daily living activities as well as challenges with concentration or decision making due to emotional, mental, or physical conditions. 

Another recent study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that functional impairments among individuals age 50 and older are associated with a higher risk of medical cannabis use as well as prescription drug misuse. The author of the study later commented that a link might exist between functional impairments and the misuse of prescription drugs. Given the concern for such a high rate of misuse of prescription drugs among elderly adults with functional impairments, you must know what you can do to help your loved one.

Remember the Aftermath of Drug Abuse is Severe

In the same ways that some elderly drivers prove dangerous behind the wheel, firearms also prove dangerous in the hands of some elderly individuals. One recent study of elderly gun owners found that many had debated placing restrictions on firearm access as they age, even though they often do not have detailed plans for how to implement these restrictions. Because 40% of older Americans report living in a home with a firearm, it’s become more important than ever to address the issue of control among the at-risk elderly. For example, if an elderly individual develops either dementia or depression and has easy access to a firearm, that elderly individual might end up harming themselves. This article reviews some critical advice to remember about gun control and the elderly.

Realizing When Gun Ownership Becomes Too Dangerous

One of the most difficult questions presented by firearm ownership among the elderly is recognizing cognitive and physical signs that a firearm should be taken away from your loved one. The case of cognitive impairment, however, is often a challenge to recognize. Cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer’s or a mental health disorder are some of the biggest warning signs that you should consider taking a firearm away from the elderly individual. One study even found that over 100 incidents that occurred from 2012 to 2012 involved people with dementia who had used firearms to either kill or injure themselves or others. Besides mental health, there are also several physical signs that an elderly individual should not carry a firearm. For example, an elderly individual might not be able to safely maintain or use a firearm. 

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