Elder Law FAQ
- What is an attorney's role in Elder Law?
- What are examples of nursing home abuse and/or neglect?
- What are some clues that nursing home abuse/neglect is happening to a resident?
- What should I do if I suspect elder abuse?
- What is the difference between Medicare and Medicaid?
- What are the differences between Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance?
- What type of life/health insurance coverage should I purchase?
Elder law attorneys focus on the legal needs of the elderly, typically handling general estate planning matters and counseling clients about planning for incapacity. The attorney may also assist the client in planning for possible long-term care needs, including:
- nursing home care,
- locating appropriate types of care,
- coordinating public benefits and private resources to finance the cost of care, and
- ensuring the client's right to quality care.
Dependent adults who reside in a nursing home can be exposed to a variety of abuse, including physical abuse, rape or sexual assault, over-sedation and verbal or emotional abuse. Nursing home neglect can include unclean and inadequate clothing, failure to provide medical care for both physical and mental health needs, failure to protect the resident from health/safety hazards, failure to protect an individual from abuse from other residents, and malnutrition and dehydration.
Look for the following signs that a resident is not being taken care of properly:
- Weight loss
- Bruises, swelling, or welts
- Soiled clothing or
- If the resident appears withdrawn, fearful, or depressed
Notify the nursing home administrator immediately. The administrator is required to investigate and report the abuse/neglect to state agencies. You may also wish to contact adult protective services, the office of aging in your area and/or an elder law attorney.
Medicare is a federal insurance program wherein medical bills are paid from trust funds that those who are covered have paid into. It primarily serves people over 65 and younger disabled people. Patients pay part of the cost through deductibles. Medicaid is a federal-state assistance program wherein medical bills are paid from federal, state and local tax funds. It serves low-income people of every age. Patients usually pay no part of costs for covered medical expenses.
What are the differences between Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance?
Supplemental Security Income is a program financed through general tax revenues wherein disability benefits are paid to people who have both a disability and low income. Social Security Disability Insurance is a program that workers and employers pay for with their Social Security taxes. You qualify for these benefits based on your work history, and your benefit amount is based on your earnings.
There are no structured guidelines for purchasing life/health insurance. The general rule is:
- If you are between the ages of 50 to 65, consider lifetime benefits with compound inflation options.
- If you are 65 to 75, consider a six-year or lifetime benefit period with simple inflation options.
- Those older than 75 years old should consider buying daily benefits for as long a period as they can afford