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Archive for the ‘Legislative Updates’ Category

In April, 2010 the new Michigan Trust Code became the law in Michigan.  Why the need for a new law regarding trusts.

First, Michigan has a comprehensive set of laws regarding wills that went into effect in 1998 (the “Estates and Protected Individuals Code” or “EPIC”).  However, trusts (especially the revocable living trusts) were becoming very common.  People like trust since they permit their owners to avoid probate, reduce taxes, create greater confidentiality, flexibility and reduce contestability.  Therefore, a similar comprehensive body of law was needed for the vast and burgeoning area of trusts. (more…)

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On March 21, 2010 the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) became law. Some provisions of the new health care bill signed by President Obama will directly benefit senior citizens.

First, there is a new federal long-term care insurance program that can help meet the staggering cost of long-term care.  This part of the new law is called the “Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act” or the “CLASS” Act.  This federal insurance provides up to fifty dollars ($50.00) per day (approximately $1500 per month) for persons to use when they need help with the activities of daily living. (more…)

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The Social Security Administration has recently announced that they have added early-onset Alzheimer’s to the list of conditions under its “Compassionate Allowance Initiative”. This is a great help for those younger persons afflicted with this debilitating disease, giving them expedited access to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

In the past, people with early-onset Alzheimer’s have had difficulty when applying for Social Security benefits.  While they may have eventually been able to receive the much-needed benefits, it was usually after first being denied and having to file an appeal. This process could take several years, during which time medical care and other necessities were often compromised. (more…)

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Since 1927 the State of Michigan has provided funds to Veterans’ Service Organizations (“VSOs”) in order that Michigan veterans would have advocacy in obtaining and retaining veterans benefits.  However, budget concerns have prompted the governor to curtail the support that veterans have enjoyed for decades.

VSOs provide extensive support to numerous veterans’ organizations around the state, including but not limited to: the VFW, American Legion, AmVets, etc.  They provide free assistance to veterans in need, including help in filing applications for the aid & attendance pension, health and pharmacy benefits, burial and memorial benefits, survivors’ benefits, and numerous others.  They work collaboratively with the Department of Veterans affairs to help veterans and their dependents gets the benefits they deserve.  In the past, 75 to 90 percent of all claims originated with Veterans’ Service Organizations. (more…)

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With all of the constant changes in the Medicaid laws, seniors and their families need to keep up-to-date to make sure their care needs are provided for.  In this post I hope to highlight some of the important recent changes:

1.   Estate Recovery – While the estate recovery law that permits the state to “take” the home was passed in September of 2007, the law is not currently being enforced.  However, the state is working with the federal government to find a version that will be approved by the federal government.  Apparently Lansing is working on some additional legislation.  When that passes and is approved it can be applied for care costs dating retroactively back to September of 2007. (more…)

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Many of Michigan’s senior citizens who spent their working years employed by larger corporations have the comfort of knowing that they are covered by good quality health insurance.  This insurance is supposed to last well into their retirement years or even for the rest of their lives.  However, in an unexpected offshoot of the current financial crisis, many large companies are threatening to cancel the health coverage of their retirees in an effort to cut costs.  Also, seniors can be caught off-guard when companies file for bankruptcy and eliminate their retirement benefits entirely.   

This frightening prospect has already happened to retirees in some of America’s largest corporations.  Some municipalities are threatening to follow their example.  Paul Miller, the Executive Director of the national retiree advocacy group, ProtectSeniors.org, says that the situation is as dire as the financial crisis in the auto industry, Wall Street and America’s banks. (more…)

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