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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Guard Your Card To Stop Medicare Fraud


The Department of Health and Human Services says that "your Medicare card is as valuable to thieves as your credit cards." 

In order to help reduce Medicare Fraud, it offers these tips:
  1. Guard your Medicare number
  2. Be suspicious of anyone who offers free medical equipment or services and then requests your Medicare number
  3. Don't let anyone borrow or pay to use your Medicare card or your identity
  4. Review your Medicare Summary Notice to be sure you and Medicare are only being charged for actual services
For more information, visit StopMedicareFraud.gov.

Russell C. Golowin assists seniors in the Columbus, Ohio area with Medicaid planning, estate planning, and other related issues such as Medicare. Visit his website for more information on Medicaid planning in Franklin County, Ohio.

Monday, July 29, 2013

2014 Ohio Homestead Exemption Income Limit


Since 2007, the Ohio homestead exemption has reduced property taxes for all Ohio homeowners 65 or older, regardless of their income.  The average savings per homeowner has been estimated to be about $400 per year, though the tax break varied based on local community rates.

However, in 2014, the Ohio homestead exemption will have an income limit of $30,000.  Tax-law Changes to Squeeze Seniors, indicates 
[t]he new income limit likely will bring  a dramatic drop in the number of Ohioans who qualify. In 2006, when the $26,200 income limit was in place, there were only 1,094 new qualifiers in Franklin County.  A year later, after [the income limit was eliminated], there were 37,000 new qualifiers in the county.
It is likely that seniors already receiving the homestead exemption when the new law takes effect on January 1, 2014 will continue to receive their tax break regardless of their income.

This means that Ohio seniors who owned and occupied their home as their primary residence as of January 1, 2013 and are 65, or turn 65 by December 31, 2013 should file a homestead exemption Application for 2013 or the prior year (2012) with their county Auditor by Tuesday, December 31, 2013. Failing to file by the end of this year could result in ineligibility due to the 2014 income cap of $30,000.

Franklin County residents may file a homestead exemption by calling the Franklin County Auditor at (614) 525-3240, visiting the office at 373 S. High St., 21st Floor, downloading a hard copy of the Ohio homestead exemption application, or filing the Ohio homestead application electronically. For more information, visit the Franklin County Auditor's Homestead Information page.

Taps Elder Law provides Estate and Medicaid planning services to clients in the Central Ohio area.  If you are a senior concerned with protecting your home should you require care in an assisted living facility or nursing home, call us today at (614) 443-8000 to schedule an analysis meeting.  In most cases, planning can be done to protect a majority of your assets. Visit our website for more information on Medicaid planning in Columbus, Ohio.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

National Record Service, Inc. Deed Service

Letter from National Record Service, Inc.
If you've received a letter like this one from National Record Service, Inc., don't send in your payment before considering the fact that you can probably get a copy of your deed for free - or much less than the $59.50 that National Record Service charges.

Klamath Falls, Orgegon's Herald and News published an article entitled "Deed Scam Circulating," wherein the County Clerk advised "[National Record Service has] every right to provide that service, but it is a scam in the sense that you can get [a copy of your deed] locally for much less."

Aggravated customers have made 102 complaints on the National Record Service Better Business Bureau's page. While I have no personal knowledge of whether NRS provides satisfactory service once a customer orders a deed, it appears that some are either dissatisfied with the service, or frustrated that they paid more than necessary to obtain a copy of their deed.

In many counties in Ohio one can print a copy of their deed in only a few minutes by visiting the County Recorder's webpage online at no charge.  For example, here is the Franklin County Recorder's online public record search. In counties that don't have online access, a phone call to the County Recorder will tell you how much they would charge to send a copy, which is usually only a few dollars.

Alicia Bodine, a contributor on the Yahoo! Contributor Network, summed up this issue well in an article she titled "National Deed Service, Inc.: A Current Alert with the BBB" when she said "Bottom line is this: Don't pay hard-earned money for something you can easily get yourself."

Russell C. Golowin is an Elder Law and Estate Planning Attorney for families in the Columbus, Ohio area.  If you need assistance with creating a new quit claim deed, survivorship deed, or transfer on death affidavit, call (614) 443-8000 today. Visit his website for more information on real estate deeds in Columbus, Ohio.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Reporting Someone Who Should Not Be Driving A Car


How can I report someone who shouldn't be driving?

This is a common question asked by people with family or friends that have displayed diminished driving skills due to physical or mental impairment caused by advancing age, medical, or vision problems.

The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) can require a driver licensed in Ohio to submit a medical statement and/or take an examination if they receive information that gives "good cause to believe" that the driver is incompetent or incapable of driving safely. 

To request that the BMV require a driver to be re-certified, submit a written and signed request to:

Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles
Attention: Driver License Special Case Section/Medical Unit.
P.O. Box 16784
Columbus, Ohio 43216-6784

The request may also be faxed attention to "Medical Unit" to (614) 752-7271. The letter should include a release allowing the BMV to use the your name as their source of information.

The BMV will conduct an investigation to determine if there is sufficient cause to require a medical statement or a driver license examination. If it finds sufficient cause, the BMV will advise the driver that they have received your request and take action.

For more information, visit the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles Driver License FAQ page.


Taps Elder Law provides Estate and Medicaid planning services to clients in the Central Ohio area.  If you have a family member that is displaying diminished capacity, it is critical for them to update their financial power of attorney, will or trust, and health care documents.  Call us today at (614) 443-8000. Visit our website for more information on estate planning in Columbus, Ohio..

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

How Much Is VA Aid and Attendance In 2013?

One of the first questions people have once they discover that eligible wartime veterans or their surviving spouses can receive a tax-free monthly pension from the VA is "How much does the VA Aid and Attendance pension pay?"

For 2013, the Maximum Allowable Pension Rates (MAPR) for Basic Pension, Housebound, and Aid and Attendance ratings have increased by 1.7% from the 2012 levels.

As indicated below, the maximum monthly pension payable to a married veteran in need of Aid and Attendance is now $2,054 per month.  The maximum monthly payment to a surviving spouse is $1,113.  See the table below:


Maximum Allowable Pension Rate (MAPR)
Approx. Monthly Benefit
Veteran
(Basic Pension with no dependent)
$12,465
$1,038
Veteran
(Basic Pension with one dependent)
$16,324
$1,360
Veteran
(Housebound with no dependent)
$15,233
$1,268
Veteran
(Housebound with one dependent)
$19,093
$1,591
Veteran
(Aid and Attendance with no dependent)
$20,795
$1,732
Veteran
(Aid and Attendance with one dependent)
$24,652
$2,054
Each additional child
$2,093
$174



Surviving Spouse
(Basic Pension with no dependent)
$8,359
$696
Surviving Spouse
(Housebound with no dependent)
$10,217
$851
Surviving Spouse
(Aid and Attendance with no dependent)
$13,362
$1,113
Surviving child
$2,129
$177



Veteran Married to Veteran
(Both Aid and Attendance)
$32,100
$2,675
Taps Elder Law provides Medicaid and VA Aid and Attendance planning to families in the central Ohio area.  If you or a loved one is a wartime veteran or surviving spouse and is paying for in-home, assisted living or nursing home care, call us at (614) 443-8000 today to inquire about eligibility for VA Aid and Attendance benefits. Visit our website for more information on VA Aid and Attendance Pension Planning.