Congratulations to Co-Trustee Kole Long on becoming Board Certified in Elder Law. Kole joins only 113 other Florida lawyers to hold this distinction. Board Certification recognizes attorneys’ special knowledge, skills and proficiency in various areas of law and professionalism and ethics in practice. Approximately 7% of all Florida lawyers are Board Certified in any specialty. In addition to serving as Co-Trustee for Guardian Trust, Kole is a practicing attorney with Special Needs Lawyers, PA which is the only law firm with 4 Florida Bar Board Certified Elder Law Attorneys. Help us to congratulate Kole for achieving this commendable honor!

Stimulus Checks - Will They Effect your Benefits?

Many of our referral sources and beneficiaries have inquired as to the effect the recent stimulus checks will have on their or their client’s benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has stated that the stimulus checks will not be considered income for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients. The stimulus checks will be excluded as a resource for 12 months from receipt by the SSI recipient. This is also the case for Florida’s Medicaid programs. More information can be found at . The Department of Children and Families (DCF) is also making accommodations for Medicaid applicants and recipients due to the Corona virus pandemic. A complete list of those accomodations can be found at .  In particular, DCF will maintain eligibility for all current recipients through the end of the state of emergency. Meaning no recipient will lose their benefits during this time. DCF has also extended ce

Travis D. Finchum presents at the Jacksonville Bar Association Elder Law Committee Meeting

Attorney and Co-Trustee Travis D. Finchum had the pleasure of speaking with the members of the Elder Law section of the Jacksonville Bar Association on Tuesday, February 11, 2020. He was asked to present on Special Needs Trusts and various Medicaid planning strategies.

2019 Social Security and Medicaid Income and Asset Limits

Happy New Year! We wanted to keep you updated with the 2019 eligibility figures for Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).  The resource limit for a single person stays the same ($2,000) for SSI and long term care Medicaid programs. For a spouse at home of a person qualifying for long term care Medicaid (often referred to as the "community spouse"), the resource limit has increased to $126,420.  The income limit (maximum Federal benefit rate) for SSI is now $771 per month which then makes the Medicaid income limit $2,313 (always 3 times the SSI limit).  Medicare Part B monthly premiums have increased. According to , the standard Part B premium amount will be $135.50 per month. However, most people will pay less. The monthly personal needs allowance for people on Medicaid in a nursing home remains at $130.  Finally, the home equity exclusion for Medicaid eligibility went up to $585,000.  For a chart of these figures click  here .

Child Support and Alimony Payments - What you Need to Know

We are often asked about what happens to SSI benefits when there may be child support or alimony involved with a Special Needs Trust. We hope you find this blog post helpful and a good resource to reference when you are advising your clients. When a child is receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits and the custodial parent is receiving child support (including arrearage payments) from a non-custodial parent, Social Security counts the support as unearned income to the child. ( SI 00830.420(B)(1)). Similarly, when an SSI recipient receives alimony or spousal support, Social Security counts the support as unearned income to the SSI recipient. ( SI 00830.418B ). Each dollar of unearned income (after a general disregard of $20) will reduce the recipient’s monthly SSI amount by a dollar. If the monthly child support, alimony or spousal support is great enough, it could completely eliminate the recipient’s monthly SSI check. SSI recipients and their attorneys shoul

Elder and Disability Law Forum - Thursday, May 24, 2018 at Empath Health/Suncoast Hospice

Co-Trustees/Attorneys Travis Finchum and Kole Long will be speaking along with Attorneys Linda Chamberlain and Charlie Robinson on Thursday, May 24, 2018 at Empath Health (Suncoast Hospice) in Clearwater FL. Topics will include Nursing Home Regulations, Dementia & Alzheimer's, Social Security Disability (SSDI) & Supplemental Security Income (SSI), as well as a Legislative Update, including New Trust Changes (with a focus on Special Needs Trust POMS and ABLE POMS updates). You don't want to miss this educational forum which provides FREE continuing education credits. For more information and to RSVP, click here .

Travis D. Finchum to speak at Florida Guardian ad Litem Program

Co-Trustee/Attorney Travis D. Finchum will be presenting again this year at the Florida Guardian ad Litem Program in Orlando, Florida. His topic will cover Special Needs Trusts and ABLE accounts. As you may know there have been several changes regarding SNTs and ABLE accounts.  We now have new POMS from Social Security issued and we will be posting here soon with a summary of all of the changes. Stay tuned. Travis D. Finchum Board Certified Elder Law Attorney Co-Trustee, Guardian Trust