“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.” Anne Bradstreet

Adversity is a state or instance of serious or continued difficulty or misfortune. Sometimes, adversity is very serious, like an illness or job loss. Sometimes adversity is more manageable, like your child’s school grades or the last electric bill. In any case, adversity is really what you make of it and how you choose to address it.

Here are some ideas to help overcome adversity:

  1. Have the right mindset. Your thoughts are essential; they frame the triumphs or tragedies of your life. . . .
  2. Stop making excuses. Excuses are the lies we tell ourselves when we’re too afraid of the future. . . .
  3. Have faith. . . in your beliefs and in yourself.
  4. Don’t take “no” for an answer. . . .
  5. Let each success energize you.
  6. Be resilient . . . Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress – it means “bouncing back” from difficult times.

If we keep our challenges in perspective, it may help us overcome them.

As Dolly Parton, the legendary singer and business woman says, “The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.”

Always remember:

“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”

Jimmy Dean

Portions of this blog were adapted from the Help Center at the American Psychological Association.


The Top Eight Mistakes People Make With Medicaid Qualification

The eight biggest mistakes people make in attempting to qualify for Medicaid for long-term skilled nursing care are:

  1. Thinking it’s too late. It is almost never too late to take planning steps, even after a senior has moved to a nursing home.
  2. Giving away assets too early. First, it’s your money, your house, or both. Make sure to take care of yourself first. Don’t put your security at risk by putting it in the hands of your children. Sudden transfers done without careful planning can cause significant tax and Medicaid issues as well.
  3. Ignoring important “safe harbors” created by Congress. Certain transfers are permitted by the law without jeopardizing Medicaid eligibility. These include: transfers to:  one’s spouse; disabled children; caretaker children; a “pay-back” trust if under 65; a pooled disability trust at any age.
  4. Failing to take advantage of protections for the spouse of a nursing home resident. These protections include petitioning for an increased community spouse resource allowance, in some instances petitioning for an increased income allowance, and/or establishing an estate plan which includes provisions to protect both spouses in the event a spouse predeceases the nursing home resident, or in the event the other spouse also needs long-term care.
  5. Applying for Medicaid too early. This can result in a delay in getting benefits, and in some instances a longer ineligibility period.
  6. Applying for Medicaid too late. This can mean the loss of many months of eligibility, and of the assets which were spent to pay out-of-pocket for those months of care (in York County, nursing home care costs between $10,000 and $12,000 a month).
  7. Confusion about Medicaid Estate Recovery. Estate recovery is the process by which the State recovers certain Medicaid benefits paid on behalf of a Medicaid enrollee after he or she passes away. In Pennsylvania, Medicaid can only recover from the decedent’s probate estate (not from anything passing by beneficiary designation, such as IRAs, life insurance, jointly owned property, and such). This even can include property which is exempt as long as the surviving spouse is alive.
  8. Not getting expert help. This is a complicated field that most people only have to navigate once in their lives. Tens of thousands of dollars are at stake (remember, nursing home care costs between $10,000 and $12,000 a month). But don’t worry – we’ve got your back. A qualified elder law attorney can help you through this maze of rules and regulations and maximize the protection of your assets, in some cases to the point of preserving nearly all of them for you and your family. It’s penny wise and dollar foolish not to consult with people who specialize in guiding clients through the process – qualified elder law attorneys well-versed in the Medicaid rules.

If you have questions about Medicaid planning consider joining us for one of our upcoming workshops.  Just click here to RSVP.


May is Older Americans Month

May is Older Americans Month, which was established in 1963, when only 17 million Americans had reached their 65th birthday. Today 46 million people are 65 or older, and that is projected to exceed 98 million, or 24% of the population, by 2060. As our population ages, the need to assure the quality of life for older folks is obviously increasing.

The Administration for Community Living, which leads the observance of Older Americans Month, has themed 2019 as Connect, Create, Contribute – Connect with friends, family, and support services; Create by engaging in activities that promote learning, health, and personal enrichment; Contribute time, talent, and life experience to benefit others.

These are all worthy endeavors. However, older Americans and their families should also take time to make sure that they have a current estate plan in place, including, at a minimum, a Last Will and Testament, a financial Durable Power of Attorney, a Health Care Power of Attorney, and a Living Will. The older population, and indeed their families, should also be planning for unanticipated events, such as illness or even the potential future need for care outside the home.

Thus, as you celebrate Older Americans Month and consider the many contributions older Americans have made and continue to make to our nation, consider visiting an elder law attorney to get an estate plan in place which will provide peace of mind; if you already have estate planning documents, this month would be a good time to review them with an elder law attorney to determine if they continue to meet your needs, or if you need to expand your estate planning as you age.

We as older Americans need to keep our own ship on course; then, we will be able with a clear, untroubled mind to Connect, Create, Contribute.

So, to those who make up our senior population, happy Older Americans Month, and thank you for your contributions, past, present, and future!

Upcoming workshop dates: https://bellomoassociates.com/workshops/

Jeffrey Bellomo, Esq.