Welcome to fall! As the air becomes cooler, the kids go back to school, we all get ready for new routines. It feels like change is all around us. It certainly is for the Altschul Group Consulting!
In an exciting development, I am joining the team at AchieveAbilities in Madison, as Operations Director, and I will continue to provide benefits counseling services. Please feel free to contact me there.
Starting September 9, 2019, my new contact information is:
1118 S. Park St., Madison WI 53715
I am very excited about offering wrap around services and more resources to better serve you. Current and former clients will be personally contacted about this change. However, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns in this transition.
Founder & Benefits Specialist
We wanted to be sure you knew that the medically needy income limit for Supplemental Security Income (SSI)-Related Medicaid will be changing September 1, 2019. We hope this blog post helps answer some of your questions about this.
What does this mean?
According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services there are two categories of people eligible under SSI-Related Medicaid: categorically needy and medically needy. Individuals qualify for the medically needy category when they have too much income to be eligible under the categorically needy category however they have medical expenses that can be used to reduce their income to at or below the medically needy limit.
What is the medically needy income limit?
It used to be $591.67 per month for both single individuals and married couples. As of September 1, 2019, it will be changed to 100% of the federal poverty level. That means for a single person, $1,040.82 per month, and for a married couple, $1,409.17 per month. The medically needy income limit may change each year because the federal poverty level can change yearly.
What does this mean for you?
You may become eligible for SSI-Related Medicaid and/or may have a lower deductible starting September 1, 2019.
Also starting September 1, 2019, for new applicants the new income limit will be used to determine eligibility for SSI-Related Medicaid under the medically needy category.
Managing SSI and SSDI can be overwhelming. Great news! There are individuals who can assist in this endeavor. Two options are daily money managers you can hire and representatives appointed by SSA to help manage your money.
A daily money manager will assist with managing day to day financial tasks, They offer services to ensure nothing falls through the cracks including necessities like paying monthly bills, assisting with tax records, balancing checkbooks, decoding medical bills, and negotiating with creditors.
A representative payee does not receive payment for their services. The payee receives your Social Security or SSI benefits and uses the money to pay for your needs, including:
• Housing and utilities;
• Medical and dental expenses;
•Personal care items;
• Clothing; and
•Rehabilitation expenses (if you’re disabled).
If you are working and receive Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or other public benefits you may find it difficult to save money and still receive benefits.
Especially when income and assets are over $2,000.
Protected savings accounts make it possible for you to have savings / resource limits greater than $2,000 and still maintain eligibility for benefits such as Medicaid, SSI and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
The below fact sheet provides basic information on three options for establishing protected savings accounts: ABLE, Pooled Trust and Special Needs Trust. This chart contains a comparison tool to help determine which option(s) best meet your needs.
Download the ABLE Account, Special Needs Trust and Pooled Trust Comparison Chart."
Are you concerned about going to work is the possibility of losing Medicaid coverage?
Section 1619(b) of the Social Security Act provides some protection.
According to social security to qualify for continuing Medicaid coverage, you must:
This also means that SSI beneficiaries who have earnings too high for a SSI cash payment may be eligible for Medicaid.
Medicare and Medicaid work to provide you with lower cost health care coverage to help you pay for healthcare expenses. But what's the difference?
Think of Medicare as a health insurance policy offered to senior-citizens, along with some people under 65 who are disabled. It is an entitlement meaning that if you paid Medicare taxes on your earnings while working (they're usually taken out of your paycheck automatically, just like Social Security contributions), you are automatically eligible for Medicare at age 65. It does not matter your income.
Medicaid, on the other hand, provides health coverage if you have a very low income. Medicaid is paid with public funds collected through taxes.
You can have both Medicare and Medicaid (called dually eligible). They work together to provide you with health coverage and lower your costs.
SSI Mobile Wage Reporting (SSIMWR) app
This video describes the options available to certain beneficiaries using the SSI Mobile Wage Reporting (SSIMWR) application and the SSI Telephone Wage Reporting method using a toll-free automated system.
Approved wage reporters can download and install the free SSIMWR application on an Apple or Android mobile device. http://ow.ly/vD6H50lfytV
With your free, personal my Social Security account, you can receive personalized estimates of future benefits based on your real earnings, see your latest Statement, and review your earnings history. It even makes it easy to request a replacement Social Security Card or check the status of an application, from anywhere!Manage your benefits on the go with these mobile apps!
Some benefit programs are "need-based" or "means tested." This is another way of saying there are income and asset limits to receive the benefit. Examples of programs with income and asset limits are:
Depending on where you live, there may be Medicaid options that have higher asset limits. But the asset limit for SSI is $2000. If you live in a state where SSI comes with Medicaid, the asset limit to keep that Medicaid is also $2000.
Asset limits are important to know because going over can end your eligibility for these programs. The thing I notice most when discussing asset limits, is people's surprise when they learn what they CAN have, or what isn't counted in asset tests.
So what is an asset? Basically, anything that can be readily cashed out will be counted toward your asset limit. Most commonly:
This is a question I get all the time. So let's try to provide some clarification...
SSI stands for Supplemental Security Income. It is a need-based program for people who are age 65 or older. It is also available to people under the age of 65 who have a disability and limited income and assets.
SSDI stands for Social Security Disability Insurance. Funds are provided by the Social Security trust, and the amount you receive is based on your contributions through payroll taxes. These are called FICA (Federal Income Contributions Act) taxes. A portion goes to Social Security, and a portion goes to Medicare. Your contributions become available to you when you reach retirement age, or earlier if you have a disability and are unable to perform substantial work activity.
This article is from The Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) Scoop, a newsletter to help Medicare beneficiaries and their advocates prevent, detect, and report health care fraud, errors, and abuse.
The Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) received information from a Wisconsin resident whose husband recently died. Just a few weeks after her husband’s death, “Michael,” an “insurance agent” called to help the widow “get the lowest price on Medicare.” Obviously suspicious, she contacted her county’s Aging and Disability Resource Center and connected with the Elder Benefits Specialist who then made a connection with SMP to investigate the issue.
We all know that we should not make our personal information public (such as addresses, birth dates, birthplaces, family members’ names, nicknames, or even hobbies). However, we often publicly share personal information just like this when paying tribute to someone at death. The more personal facts you provide in an obituary, the greater risk of scams – both for the deceased and their survivors.