Monday, May 21, 2018
Max Richtman on CNN has an important article, “No one is stealing from Social Security”.
This op-ed addresses conservative claims that the federal government raids Social Security for its profligate social benefits spending.
No, Social Security buys treasury bills like any other investor, and by law the treasury has to pay interest on these and redeem them when mature.
This analysis could be important should another debate on the debt ceiling erupt.
The article does not address the problem of paying benefits to dead people (previous article).
Thursday, May 17, 2018
6.5 million people over “112” have active Social Security accounts. The government doesn’t seem to have a good system to be notified about deaths,
Relatives are still collecting their money, according to “7 on your side”. One woman was on a year;s probation with home detention and an ankle bracelet.
People have been prosecuted for failing to notify SSA to stop the payments.
I notified them immediately at the end of 2010 and one payment was recovered.
(The video won’t embed because WJLA hasn’t gone to https!)
Monday, May 14, 2018
The Metropolitan Community Church of Northern Virginia (MCCNova) hands out, on its hospitality table, a “Senior Citizen Handbook, Laws and Programs Affection Senior Citizens in Virginia”, a project of the Senor Lawyers Conference of the Virginia State Bar. It is good to see this offered at a “gay” church, since elder LGBT persons are often living alone and may have less ties to biological family than others.
Several important topics attracted my notice. On p. 62, revocable living trusts (which I had for mother, who passed in 2010) are discussed. The usual advice that family members appointed as trustees need to be careful and not comingle their own assets (before death and authorized distributions) is well noted.
The booklet mentions a “special needs trust” on p 64, set up with a beneficiary’s own money. But it is also possible for a beneficiary to receive funds from an irrevocable trust after the original elder has passed. A beneficiary typically has a fiduciary interest in the trust and may receive regular income from it, which is not the same thing as a distribution. The executor may be legally required to continue the income. Or a special needs beneficiary might get benefits from the eventual death of the executor (if elder) early in the way of some income, if the special needs are clearcut enough. What gets interesting is that a beneficiary could be a non-profit organization that assists others. Then there could be a question as to whether it is appropriate for that beneficiary to ask for payments early.
The booklet also distinguishes a “supplemental needs trust”.
On p. 67, the booklet takes up the subject of guardianship and conservatorship. There is an astonishing statement. “Under Virginia law, any adult person may petition the city or county circuit court to obtain guardianship or conservatorship of another person.” It’s easy to imagine how a Medicare-reimbursed physician could feel tempted to abuse this. Later it reads “Guardianship deprives the incapacitated person of many civil rights.”
Thursday, May 10, 2018
Recently, I relayed a story from Nevada about apparent abuse of the legal process of guardianship.
Now WJLA reports a major case from Virginia in its “7 on your Side” series, here. The story was aired at 6 PM tonigjt, Thursday, May 10, 2018.
Apparently, a certain family in Fairfax County, VA had turned to the courts for a father (retired military veteran)’s care.
The guardian wrote strict rules of visitation, and insisted that the family not ask any questions of the facility directly. One of the family members emailed the facility and the visitation rights were suspended.
Monday, May 07, 2018
Rachel Aviv (“Reporter at Large”) has a particularly disturbing article (Oct. 9, 2017) in the New Yorker, “How the Elderly Lose TheirRights” with the tagline “Guardians can sell the assets and control the lives of senior citizens without their consent – and reap a profit.”
The article relates the story of an elderly married couple in Las Vegas (the wife had recovered from lymphoma) who had bought a retirement home in a planned community, and was suddenly ordered out of it by a court-ordered guardian into assisted living, apparently without due process. The term “gaslighting” is used to characterize the racket.
Apparently this happens when a court receives notification from a physician, in some states.
Physicians have become more aggressive in demanding that seniors make visits more often, and possibly submit to disruptive medical tests, under theories concerning longevity. And providers may have a financial incentive to do so. In my own case, a physician is demanding more frequent monitoring of my own blood pressure medication, which I find I can stretch out.
Some seniors may do better by keeping their momentum with little monitoring. Remember some seniors had long lifespans in the past without the regular colonoscopies and prostate or breast exams. But the medical establishment thinks it can “do good” in some cases that it couldn’t do before, and rationalize heavy-handed behavior.
This is a very serious matter that doesn’t seem to be adequately reported by the media (like filial responsibility laws).
Tuesday, May 01, 2018
The May 2018 issue of USCF’s magazine Chess Life has a major article on p. 9 “Chess for a Cause”, about the Atlanta group by that name that brings chess into senior centers as a form of recreation that can encourage mental sharpness and possibly delay dementia or Alzheimer’s symptoms.
The site for the group appears to be here.
There have been numerous efforts to provide chess for lower income youth in different cities (see movies blog for “The Dark Horse” (New Zealand), April 26, 2015, and “Brooklyn Castle”, Nov. 5, 2012)). But I haven’t heard of a major effort for seniors before.
Wednesday, April 11, 2018
David Nield reports on “ScienceAlert” on a new blood test that can detect a propensity for Alzheimer’s Disease three decades early, by finding plaque markers in the blood.
It appears that this may be a relatively inexpensive test, along the lines of Jack Andraka’s pancreatic cancer test.
But it is not clear what someone with a positive test would do about it.
There are genetic diseases like Huntington’s with tests that can predict early dementia.