A Nightmare for Seniors - Vincent J. Russo Speaks Out: Medicaid Changes Will Leave Thousands Without Care

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In a bold and concerned statement, Vincent J. Russo, a Long Island and National Advocate for seniors and their families, has taken a strong stand on the interpretation and the consequences of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 which has been passed by Congress, awaiting the signature of President George W. Bush.

“Deficit reduction will be made at the expense of thousands of seniors who desperately need long term care, and who would be denied Medicaid assistance,” Mr. Russo said today, from his main office in Westbury, New York. “It is a very sad day in the history of our country when we abandon our beloved seniors and people with disabilities...our parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, friends and neighbors.”

Mr. Russo, a delegate to the recent White House Conference on Aging (WHCoA), held December 11-14, in Washington, D.C., asked, “How do we reconcile the 2005 WHCoA, whose delegates recommended public policy on aging issues for the next ten years, with the fact that, within one week’s time, we are told to turn our backs on the ‘greatest generation of our time’ ... the loyal, law-abiding Americans who have paid a lifetime of taxes and fought world wars to protect us?”

Changes in the process will now make it harder, if not virtually impossible, for seniors to access Medicaid for long term care because of the stringent rules which will require documentation of their assets for the period of five years from the time of Medicaid application. Any and all transfers made will have to be explained, and if it was a gift, Medicaid will be denied. Homes with a value of $500,000, as well as annuities, are now in jeopardy. The provisions attack home equity, which is especially precious to seniors.

Likely victims will include:

  • The person with Alzheimer’s who cannot document his or her transactions for the past five years;
  • The grandparent who cares and provides for the education of a grandchild from years of savings;
  • The devoted church supporter who wishes to donate personal assets to his or her church;
  • The widow who lacks records of her now-deceased spouse’s spending;
  • The caring sibling who uses his or her savings to help a needy sister or brother in his or her home.

Mr. Russo further said, “No seniors should be subjected to impoverishment if they need long term care. Now is the time to take action and hold our elected officials responsible for their actions. These changes to the Medicaid laws MUST be repealed before they create havoc in the lives of our seniors, who, frankly, deserve a lot better treatment from our country in their golden years. They should be able to live life to the fullest without fear of impoverishment.”

There is, at present, a “window of time” for seniors to implement their long term care planning now, according to the old law, and before the new Medicaid law goes into effect. Consumers can find a complete listing on http://www.russoelderlaw.com/seminars of January Medicaid Seminars in Nassau and Suffolk

counties, entitled: "How Will Medicaid Changes Affect You? Planning You Can Do Today, May Not Be Available Tomorrow."

About Vincent J. Russo and Associates, P.C.

“Team Russo – In Action for You” is the spirit behind Vincent J. Russo & Associates, P.C. (http://www.russoelderlaw.com), Long Island’s Signature Elder Law, Special Needs and Estate Planning Law Firm, with offices in Westbury, Lido Beach, Woodbury, Islandia and Smithtown, NY. Since 1985, the Law Firm has earned its place as a leader in Elder Law, Trust and Estate Administration, Guardianships, Medicaid Planning. Their network of legal services include Medicaid Applications, Health Care Proxies and Living Wills, Taxation, Real Estate, and Florida Elder Law. For more information on Vincent J. Russo & Associates, P.C. call 516-683-1717 or e-mail them at vjrusso@russoelderlaw.com


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