A community-based practice dedicated to providing estate planning services to clients of all ages and specialized elder law services to seniors and their families.
Margaret A. O’Reilly, PC, is a community-based practice dedicated to providing estate planning services to clients of all ages and specialized elder law services to seniors and their families.
Operating as usual
[10/13/21] Social Security has announced a 5.9% cost of living increase for benefits beginning January 1, 2022. The cost of living increase for 2021 was just 1.3%. Social Security income is 90% of total income for 40% of Social Security beneficiaries, so this is welcome news in meeting the increased costs of everything!
Here's how to decide who's a good fit for executor of your will Determining who would carry out your wishes when you die, or who would make decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated, is a key part of estate planning.
From The New York Times:
Covid Forces Families to Rethink Nursing Home Care
Even with vaccines, many older people and their relatives are weighing how to manage at-home care for those who can no longer live independently.
Covid Forces Families to Rethink Nursing Home Care Even with vaccines, many older people and their relatives are weighing how to manage at-home care for those who can no longer live independently.
If you lost a loved one to COVID-19, you may be eligible for a government program that pays for funeral expenses. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will pay up to $9,000 for funeral expenses for loved ones who died of COVID-19. Survivors can apply for benefits by contacting FEMA, toll-free, at 844-684-6333. To find out if you qualify, read FEMA's Funeral Assistance FAQs.
Unfortunately, FEMA reports that scammers are contacting people and pretending to offer to register them for assistance. To avoid those scams, here are some tips:
• FEMA will not contact you until you call or apply for assistance.
• The government won't ask you to pay anything to get this benefit.
• Don't give your own or your deceased loved one's personal or financial information to anyone who contacts you out of the blue.
If you think you got a scam call, hang up and report it to the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 or the Federal Trade Commission at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Caring for an elderly family member, spouse or child with disabilities can be overwhelming. AARP offers many resources to help caregivers find support and services. Whether you are starting a caregiving plan, managing care from a distance or needing support for yourself, one of these three tools can help:
1. AARP has identified and collected Virginia-specific resources that include information about health services, home and community based resources, financial and legal resources, specific audience resources and much more.
2. The “Prepare to Care” Guide is a handbook to help develop and implement a caregiving plan for a loved one or friend. The guide is available in English, Spanish and Chinese and includes steps to get you started on your caregiving journey, tips to assess needs, national and federal resources, checklists and more.
3. AARP also has a toll-free family caregiving line for people taking care of a loved one. Agents are available to take calls Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. at 1-877-333-5885. The support line is also available in Spanish at 1-888-971-2013.
Medicare Workshop, June 1
Virtual Medicare 101 Workshop provides information on Medicare coverage options including Parts A, B, C and D, Medigap, and new changes to Medicare.
When: June 1, 1-2:30 pm
Sponsor: Virginia Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program (VICAP
Registration required (begins May 4). Call 703-790-8088, option 4 or go to librarycalendar.fairfaxcounty.gov/event/7460515
If you know of anyone who had a family member pass away from COVID-19, FEMA will provide up to $7,000.00 to reimburse funeral expenses for deaths that occurred after January 20, 2020. The program starts in April and the information can be found on:
COVID-19 Funeral Assistance | FEMA.gov A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites..
Medicare has announced that the 2021 monthly Medicare Parts A and B premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance amounts . The standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B will be $148.50, an increase of $3.90 from the $144.60 premium in 2020. The annual deductible for Medicare Part B beneficiaries will be $203, an increase of $5 from the $198 deductible in 2020.
The Medicare Part A inpatient deductible for hospital care will be $1,484, an increase of $76 from the $1,408 deductible in 2020.
The FTC has just launched a new website that makes it easy for people to report fraud, scams, and bad business practices. If you have received unwanted phone calls, need to report a bad business practice, or have been contacted in what you think is a scam, go to www.ReportFraud.ftc.gov to report.
[10/13/20] The Social Security Administration has announced a 1.3% increase in benefits for 2021.
Flu vaccine clinics for adults over 50 – In partnership with the Health Department, the Department of Neighborhood and Community Services is offering flu vaccination clinics at select Senior Centers. This service is available to residents 50 and older by appointment only. To make an appointment, residents can call 703-246-6010, TTY 711. For more information, visit: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/neighborhood-community-services/schedule-your-flu-vaccine-select-senior-centers-oct-6-nov-9
fairfaxcounty.gov Fairfax County, Virginia - To help protect older adults in our community, the Fairfax County Health Department and Department of Neighborhood and Community Services are offering flu vaccination clinics at select Senior Centers.
VA has expanded the family caregiver assistance program!!
blogs.va.gov The Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers will expand sometime in October, with a launch date to be announced in mid-September.
Informative presentation on understanding the differences between "assisted living" and "nursing homes" (also sometimes called "skilled nursing facilities"), by Attorney Doris Gelbman, Elder Law Attorney in Charlottesville.
Pressented at the Center at Belvedere (formerly, the Senior Center) by Doris W. Gelbman, Esq. - Elder Law Attorney. For more information contact Gelbman Law,...
[07/27/20] Social Security posted a caution on Facebook for people to watch out for scams -- calls telling you your Social Security has been cancelled, that you've been overpaid and need to reimburse the government, that you need to do anything to maintain or secure your benefits, and anything else related to your Social Security benefits is a scam. Over 400 people have responded to the Social Security post describing different scam calls that they have gotten. Please be careful. Social Security, like the IRS, will not call you. They will write.
[07/08/20] If you or someone you know is receiving Medicare benefits before reaching the age of 65 (for instance, is receiving Social Security Disability Benefits), Virginia now requires insurers to offer Medicare Supplement plans to anybody who qualifies for Medicare but has not reached the age of 65. Effective July 1, 2020.
Several people have questioned the validity of the debit card they have received in lieu of a check for the Economic Impact Payment (aka COVID19 stimulus payment).
The government IS sending out prepaid debit cards in addition to checks. Unfortunately, they are sent in a plain envelope with no indication that they are from the government -- don't throw it away thinking it is junk mail! There is detailed information on the AARP website (www.aarp.org).
Here is a picture of the debit card. The letter it's attached to should be from the Money Network Cardholder Services and will have a Department of the Treasury seal in the upper right corner. Please follow the letter's activation instructions.
Beware of telephone scammers pretending to be from Social Security or another government agency. If you receive a scam call, hang up and report the call to OIG.SSA.gov.
Beware of telephone scammers pretending to be from Social Security or another government agency. If you receive a scam call, hang up and report the call to OIG.SSA.gov.
[05/18/20] Beginning this week, we are resuming office consultations for both new and existing clients. Remote appointments are also available, by telephone or videoconference, and we continue to make home visits where appropriate. If the events of the last few months have gotten you thinking about whether you have an effective estate plan in place to be sure that your wishes are honored and respected, let's sit down and talk about it.
Honored to be included with many of my colleagues in the Elder Law category.
digital.superlawyers.com Super Lawyers magazine features the list and profiles of selected attorneys and is distributed to attorneys in the state or region and the ABA-approved
Our clients are increasingly thoughtful about what they want to include in these documents. Give yours some thought today.
cnn.com Covid-19 has caused many people to think about their own mortality. If you're hospitalized and incapacitated, it's worth coming up with legal documents in case you and your family are faced with some tough decisions. Here's what you need to know.
You can designate somebody to manage your benefits for you if you become incapacitated -- must be done through Social Security (they will not recognize other designations such as a power of attorney). Make sure you have set up access to your Social Security account ("My Social Security") on the Social Security website (www.ssa.gov), and the instructions will be right there.
With Advance Designation, you can have peace of mind knowing that someone you trust will manage your benefits for you, if needed. Choose a representative payee for Social Security to consider before you may need one using your personal my Social Security account: http://ow.ly/WRgg50zacfS
If you have taken or were planning to take a distribution from your retirement account in 2020, please note:
The Corona Virus Stimulus Act has waived RMD's from most retirement plans for 2020. This includes initial RMD's by those who turned 701/2 in 2019 and decided to delay the distribution until April 1, 2020. If an RMD has been taken but 60 days have not elapsed since the date of distribution, it can be redeposited into the IRA if you have not it before in the last 12 months.
[03/20/20] Nothing is certain these days except that things change! The deadline for filing 2019 tax returns (in addition to the deadline for paying 2019 taxes) has now been extended to July 15.
[03/19/20] The Internal Revenue Service has extended the deadline for paying any 2019 taxes that you may owe, but they have not extended the deadline for filing your tax return! Don't get caught or confused -- file by April 15 unless you request an extension. You can wait to pay any balance that you owe, but you can't wait to file your return!
[03/13/20] The Department of Health and Human Services has designated the coronavirus test as an essential medical service. This means that both Medicare and Medicaid will cover the cost and there is no deductible or copayment.
This is being marketed to runners and bike riders, but could also be a lfe-saver for a family member with dementia who could wander off.
roadid.com AN ID FOR EVERY WRIST Wrist IDs are wearable IDs that looks great, lasts forever, and just might save your life.
parenting.nytimes.com No one likes estate planning, but it could mean the difference between stability and chaos for bereaved children.
If you want to authorize someone to talk to Medicare on your behalf, you have to use the Medicare form -- don't count on your General Power of Attorney authorization to be enough!
According to Medicare: "Would you like for a family member or caregiver to be able to call Medicare on your behalf? Medicare can't give your personal health information to anyone unless we have permission in writing first. There are 2 ways to give permission:
(1) Print and fill out form CMS-10106: "Authorization to Disclose Personal Health Information" and then mail it to us.
(2) Submit the form online with a Medicare account.
Don't have a Medicare account yet? Signing up is easy and gives you electronic access to your health information. Once you've signed up, fill out and submit the form online by following these steps:
1. Click on your name in the top right corner of the page.
2. Click "My account."
3. Select "Manage my representatives."
4. Click “Medicare Authorization to Disclose Personal Health Information form."
5. Enter the requested information and click the "Continue" button.
The Medicare Team
Note: People living in New York have additional steps they must take. View the "Authorization to Disclose Personal Health Information form" to learn more.
Fall is a great time to do something like this!
12tomatoes.com "How can we get these people back on the bicycles?" One man decided to show up at his local nursing home with a rented rickshaw. This changed his life - and the lives of the passengers and the volunteers who came across his project, "Cycling Without Age".
The Social Security Administration has announced a 1.6% cost of living increase in benefits beginning January 1, 2020. Watch for your Benefit Statement in the mail in December, or go online to www.ssa.gov and check under "my Social Security."
ssa.gov Official website of the U.S. Social Security Administration.
Why should the kids have all the fun?!
theheartysoul.com The idea of playgrounds shouldn’t be limited to kids only. Tender children and elderly adults have more in common than any other age groups.
Just in time for open enrollment! -- New from CMS (for Medicare Advantage and Plan D programs ONLY):
For the first time in a decade, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today launched a modernized and redesigned Medicare Plan Finder. The Medicare Plan Finder, the most used tool on Medicare.gov, allows users to shop and compare Medicare Advantage and Part D plans. There are more than 60 million people with Medicare coverage. The updated Medicare Plan Finder also provides them and their caregivers with a personalized experience through a mobile friendly and easy-to-read design that will help them learn about different options and select coverage that best meets their health needs. The new Plan Finder walks users through the Medicare Advantage and Part D enrollment process from start to finish and allows people to view and compare many of the supplemental benefits that Medicare Advantage plans offer.
Go to www.medicare.gov to use the new Plan Finder!
medicare.gov We take your privacy seriously. You can change the settings below to make sure you're comfortable with the ways we collect and use information while you're on Medicare.gov. For more information, please see our privacy notice.
[08/07/19] SCAM WARNING. I just got a call saying my Social Security # was suspended. I hung up and googled the claim. Not surprisingly it's a scam. From the SSA and FTC, "No, your Social Security number cannot be suspended, revoked, frozen or blocked. It anyone tells you that, hang up immediately."
[07/12/19] Effective July 1, 2019, Virginia recognizes a statutory form power of attorney to delegate parental or legal custodial powers on a temporary basis. This is something I need to ask my daughter to sign before dropping the grandkids off at my house for Grandma Camp! Virginia Code Section 20-166 is the authority; Virginia Code Section 20-167 is the form.
New opportunities for creating community as we age.
nytimes.com We can’t all depend on adult children to stave off loneliness. College-style living — “minus the keg stands” — can help.
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