Archive for September, 2014

Kansas City Elder Law Attorney Helps Dispel Common Medicaid Myths

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

If you are considering long-term care for either yourself or a loved one, you may be wondering how you will pay for such care and if you qualify for Medicaid. Medicaid is a program funded both by individual States and the Federal government. The program in part, can help low income seniors pay for healthcare services, including nursing home costs. Unfortunately like any large government program, the rules regarding who is eligible for benefits can be quite complicated and very confusing. Often seniors and their caregivers wrongly rely on misinformation from friends and relatives about Medicaid qualifications, rather than seek professional advice from a seasoned elder law attorney. The following are just a handful of the most common myths out there regarding Medicaid:

Myth #1: I have to get rid of all my property and belongings to qualify for Medicaid.

One of the most common myths is that a person needs to be penniless to qualify for Medicaid. This is not true. Medicaid allows an applicant, and his or her spouse, to retain certain so called “exempt” property. Assets such as a vehicle, household furnishings, and burial plots, are just a few examples of property that is usually considered exempt. An applicant may also be able to retain his or her home in certain circumstances. Again, the rules are complex and that is why it is critical to consult first with an experienced elder law attorney before getting rid of any of any property.

Myth #2: I will not qualify for Medicaid if I give away any or all of my assets or have given away assets in the last 5 years.

Medicaid has very specific and complex rules about when and under what circumstances an applicant can give away assets and still qualify for benefits. While it is true that Medicaid has the power to look back up to 5 years for asset transfers, not all asset transfers will be penalized. The key is knowing which transfers can be made, by when and to whom. The best way to determine this is to talk with a veteran elder law attorney so that you can plan wisely.

Myth #3: I will qualify for Medicaid if all of my assets are in my spouse’s name.

The truth is that when a person who is married applies for Medicaid, the agency will examine the assets of both spouses, not just the assets of the applicant spouse. The agency will look at all assets, including retirement assets and assets that are held by the applicant jointly (with a spouse or child) and in the spouse’s name alone. Therefore, a simple transfer to a spouse will not make a person Medicaid eligible.

Myth #4: If I am already at a nursing home, it is too late to qualify for Medicaid.

While it is always better to start Medicaid planning earlier rather than later, it is rarely too late to start. If a person is already living at a nursing home, it is still possible with proper planning to protect his or her remaining assets.

If you are worried about not being able to afford proper nursing home care for your loved one or that he or she will not qualify for Medicaid, you need to speak with an experienced Kansas or Missouri Elder Law Attorney. Our Kansas and Missouri Elder Law Attorneys will explain your options under applicable state and federal laws and answer your questions about Medicaid asset planning. The experienced Elder Law Attorneys at the Hubbard & Kurtz, L.L.P. have helped countless clients in both Kansas and Missouri, plan for long-term care. Our compassionate team of attorneys are skilled at helping clients protect their assets and receive the care that they need. To schedule an initial consultation, please contact us today at (816) 472-4673.

A Minor Kansas City “Fender Bender” Can Cause Major Injuries

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

Rear-end collisions are one of the most common types of accidents that occur on U.S. roadways. A rear-end collision transpires when the front of one vehicle strikes the back end of another vehicle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 28% of all highway accidents are rear-end collisions. While rear-end collisions are quite common, with approximately 2.5 million occurring each year, most people regard this type of accident as more of an annoying hazard of driving than as a real problem.

But it is important to remember that a car accident is never an enjoyable event. Even a minor “fender bender” can cause a driver a multitude of problems. However, all too often the severity of a car accident is judged by a quick visual assessment of the vehicles involved. If there is minimal damage to the driver’s car it is assumed that there should be little to no injury to the driver and his or her passengers. But this is simply not true. Much like the saying “you cannot judge a book by its cover” the same is often true for car accidents.

In the case of rear-end collisions, it is true that often there is minimal damage to the victim’s car. Sometimes, nothing more than a dented bumper. However, this does not mean that the victim is uninjured simply because his or her vehicle only received minor damage. A rear-end collision can cause life-altering medical problems for a victim, usually stemming from injuries, including but not limited to:

  • Damage to brain/spinal cord
  • Concussion
  • Bleeding in the brain
  • Broken/fractured ribs, collar bone, or sternum
  • Cuts or scarring to the face or head
  • Arm and leg injuries

A driver who is injured in a rear-impact collision may initially feel “okay” after the accident. This is because often these types of injuries take days or even weeks after the accident to manifest. Whiplash, for example, is often experienced when a person is the victim of a rear-end collision. A type of neck injury, whiplashes occurs after impact when the head suddenly moves backwards and then just as suddenly, moves forward—the same motion as someone cracking a whip. In minor cases, whiplash can last a few weeks or months. In more severe cases, the pain can last several years or even longer and can be the cause of chronic pain.

The scariest part of whiplash is that the degree of injury is not necessarily based on the severity of impact. This means, that the driver of a car that is hit from behind can suffer from whiplash no matter if the car that struck him or her, was traveling at 10 mph or 40 mph. This is true because the speed the car was traveling is not as important when it comes to whiplash, as is the “surprise” factor. If a driver was not aware that he or she was about to be hit, then he or she could not have braced him or herself for the impact.

If you or a loved one suffered serious injuries as the result of a rear-end collision, the experienced Kansas City Personal Injury Attorneys at Hubbard & Kurtz, L.L.P. can help. Our skilled team of injury attorneys will make sure that your rights are protected and that you receive proper compensation. The team of Kansas City Personal Injury Attorneys at the Hubbard & Kurtz, L.L.P. have helped countless injured clients around the area, in both Kansas and Missouri. We invite you to contact Hubbard & Kurtz, L.L.P. today at (816) 472-4673 to schedule an initial consultation. Our caring and hardworking injury attorneys will make getting back on your feet, easier on you.