This week I am recommending musician Quinn Sullivan and this just may be a first for me! To me, music is much like art and is very personal and therefore, a very hard sell. But I really like this 14 year old musician. Maybe because he truly has a gift or maybe because he's a local kid. Whatever the reason, there is no denying that Quinn Sullivan has talent. At age three he received a toy guitar and from there his destiny was written.
Quinn has performed at festivals and on local TV and radio programs. He has appeared on national television shows including Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Ellen(two times!), Oprah and The Today Show and was featured in Guitar Player and Guitar World magazines. He has been on stage with Buddy Guy, Jonny Lang and BB King. He has already performed at iconic venues like the Hollywood Bowl, the Apollo Theater and the Beacon.
Quinn has recently released a single called "She Gets Me". If you think that this is another teeny-bopper-One-Direction-ish song. You are wrong, I promise you that! It is a simple bluesy song that showcases, not only his extrodinary guitar skills, but also his singing and songwriting skills. Click here to see the YouTube video of his newest single, "She Gets Me". Interested to learn more about Quinn Sullivan? You can visit his web page at quinnsullivanmusic.com. You can also download his single "She Gets Me" on iTunes.
There is a great deal of confusion regarding the spend down of assets for Medicaid qualification.
For a single person, who can only keep $2,000 in countable assets in Massachusetts, that individual may find him or herself wondering what the money can be spent on without causing any Medicaid disqualification.
Similarly, for a married couple, the rules are even more complex. The community spouse, (i.e., the at-home spouse) may generally keep roughly one-half of the couples assets up to a maximum of $120,900 (in 2017). Depending upon their resources, again the couple may have a substantial amount of money, which needs to be spent before the nursing home spouse qualifies for Medicaid.
That is often where the confusion begins because there is so much information about the kinds of things the money can be spent for. For that reason have put together the the following checklist to help people better understand the law...and where you money can be legally spent.
For someone who is pursuing Medicaid eligibility, the following are the types of spend-down items, in no particular order, which should be considered:
Purchase pre-paid funeral plans. The rules regarding funeral plans are complex so you should only deal with a funeral home that is knowledgeable in this type of planning.
Purchase a new car. It is perfectly acceptable to purchase a new car. The community spouse may even do this and have the entire purchase price come out of the nursing home's spend-down.
Payment of nursing home expenses. Of course, nursing home expenses and other healthcare costs can be paid as part of a spend-down.
Purchase of a new home. Since the home is an exempt asset, in some instances purchases of a new home make sense from a Medicaid planning standpoint.
Make home improvements. Home improvements are often an excellent use of funds in a Medicaid spend-down. For instance, the community spouse might fix the roof, get a new air-conditioning system, new carpeting, new furniture, etc. The intention here is to fix the house up so that, hopefully, no other repairs will be needed to be done during the lifetime of either spouse. That is especially important since, in many cases, the community spouse will have to spend down one-half of his or her assets to the maximum of $120,900 (in 2017) and may no longer have the resources necessary for large lump sum expenditures which may occur.
Buy household or personal effects. Once again, the intention is to have the community spouse purchase these types of things which are needed to keep the household running without major expenditures down the road.
Debt repayment. The key here is to make sure that the debts are repaid only after the Medicaid snapshot has been established. In other words, it would be disastrous to pay down a large amount of debt before there has been a snapshot. Once the snapshot is in force, then the entire debt repayment can count against the assets of the nursing home spouse. If done too soon, however, the debt repayment would only one-half against the assets of the nursing home spouse and one-half against the the assets of the community spouse.
Vacation. This can be a good idea for the community spouse at a time when there has been a long struggle to keep a loved one at home. The community spouse may be exhausted and a well-deserved vacation can come out of the nursing home spouse's spend-down.
These are, of course, not the only appropriate items for a spend-down. There are other expenses which would also qualify. The main rule to keep in mind is that whatever goods or services that are purchased must be done at fair market value.
Also, don't let anyone tell you that anything spent must be done solely for the benefit of the nursing home spouse. On the contrary, virtually anything that benefits the community spouse will also benefit the nursing home spouse.
Finally, keep in minds that while some of these spend-down strategies will not work as well for a single person qualifying for Medicaid, there are other types of strategies that can work equally as well, no matter whether you are dealing with a single person or a married couple. As always, consult an experienced elder law attorney for guidance.
Thanks to HGTV, I think we have all been bitten by the DYI bug (Do-It-Yourself). The only problem with that is, watching it on TV and actually doing it, are two entirely different things! Thankfully, the nice people at Home Depot have plenty of workshops to help us out! They have these great free workshops with hands-on help to guide you through it! Some of the topics include:
Interior and drywall repair
How to install a toilet
Closet and storage organization
Installing a back splash
There are even workshops for kids! Be sure to check them out. You can register either at your nearest store or online by clicking here!
1/2 cup Parmesan and mozzarella cheese pasta sauce (from 1-lb jar)
3 tablespoons cooked real bacon bits or pieces (from 3-oz package)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
Additional cooked real bacon bits or pieces
Heat oven to 425°F. Spray bottoms only of 12 regular-size muffin cups with cooking spray.
In medium bowl, mix Bisquick mix, cheese and 1/2 cup of the milk until soft dough forms.
Place dough on surface sprinkled with Bisquick mix. Shape into a ball; knead 4 or 5 times. Shape into 10-inch-long roll. Cut roll into 12 pieces. Press each piece in bottom and up side of muffin cup, forming edge at rim.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven. With back of spoon, press puffed crust in each cup to make indentation.
In large bowl, beat eggs, remaining 1/4 cup milk and the pepper until well blended.
In 10-inch nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium heat.
Add egg mixture; cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until firm but still moist. Fold in pasta sauce and bacon until blended.
To remove biscuit cups from pan, run knife around edge of cups. Spoon egg mixture into biscuit cups. Sprinkle chives and additional bacon bits over tops.
I probably cannot name one artist on the pop charts today so I think it is fabulous that the The New Bedford Symphony Orchestra (NBSO) is here to dedicate and educate all of us that classical music can enrich and transform lives. NBSO is committed to expanding the educational programs to children in our region. Last year more than 30,000 children benefited from their music programs! Hopefully they will able to reach even more this year! NBSO also builds strong relationships with other music and cultural organizations.Studies show that children who listen to classical music are more apt to do better in school. Music actually awakens the brain and makes it easier to learn. If you have never listened to classical music, please do so! Because if you like music, any kind of music, chances are that you’ll like classical music, too. For more information on NBSO please click here!
THE SPANISH SOUL
February 8, 2014, 8pm
Zeiterion Performing Arts Center
Jason Vieaux, GuitarA FEAST OF THREE
April 12, 2014, 8pm
Zeiterion Performing Arts Center
The Weiss-Kaplan-Newman TrioMUSIC OF THE SPHERES May 10, 2014, 8pm Zeiterion Performing Arts CenterRachel Barton Pine, Violin
By Attorney Brandon C. Walecka, Esq., LL.M. of Surprenant & Beneski, P.C.
It’s that time year again to update on the ever changing important estate planning numbers. Many government benefits, including social security, Veterans benefits, Medicare and Medicaid, have increased 1.5 percent in 2014. The 1.5 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits that seniors receive in January 2014. Below is a chart which includes changes to many figures that affect seniors in our community. Call our office if you have any questions as many of these figures carry with them a planning opportunity for you or a loved one. At S&B, we use this data to pursue government benefits while complying with the rules to help clients preserve assets.
Medicaid and Medicare Figures
Nursing Home MassHealth Figures
Medicaid Spousal Impoverishment Standards
Community Spouse Resource Allowance
Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance
Home Equity Limit
Community MassHealth Figures
Federal Poverty Level (FPL)
$ 958 per month
$ 972.50 per month
$ 1,274 per month
$ 1,293 per month
300% Federal Benefit Rate (FBR)
$ 2,130 per month
$ 2,163 per month
Average cost of nursing home care according to MA
Average daily cost of nursing home care
$ 279 / day
$300 / day
Average monthly cost of nursing home care
$8,370 / month
$9,000 / month
Average yearly cost of nursing home care
$ 100,440 / year
$ 108,000 / year
Part B Premium
*Figure until July 1, 2014.Veterans Aid & Attendance Benefits Figures
Single Veteran Monthly Benefit Amount
Veteran in need of Aid & Attendance
Married Veteran Monthly Benefit Amount
Veteran in need of Aid & Attendance
Surviving Spouse of Veteran Monthly Benefit Amount
Surviving Spouse in need of Aid & Attendance
Gifting and Estate Tax Figures
Annual Gift Tax Exemption (per year per beneficiary)
Lifetime Estate Tax Exemption (Massachusetts)
Lifetime Gift and Estate Tax Exemption (Federally)
NOTE: Check back to this post as these figures may change. The above figures are applicable in Massachusetts. Some numbers may be different in other states.
I have never had Korean food before but I love to try new things. Lucky for me, there is a great little Korean restaurant in North Dartmouth called "From the Seoul".
I wasn't sure what to expect when my friend and I walked in but it was bright and clean and had a very helpful waitstaff that helped me order. We decided to order a bunch of things so we could share. We order Mandu, which are little meat filled dumplings, and Manuguk, a won ton soup. They were both so good and completely different from the Chinese versions. For our entrees we shared Tang Su Yook (sweet and sour chicken with apples) and Bulgogi (marinated beef with mushrooms) and Om Rice. I know that sounds like a lot of food but it was that good and I love leftovers! In addition to that, you are served small little bowls of kimchee and other little appetizers that are free. They also serve alcohol such as saki, rice wine and beer.
I hope that I piqued your curiosity in this little gem of a restaurant and that you get to visit them soon! They are located at 127 Faunce Corner Road in North Dartmouth (near the Texas Roadhouse). You can dine in or call for take out. Their number is 774-328-9344. To see their full menu, you can click here to visit their Facebook page!
Their hours are:
Often, a married couple will be able to afford coverage for only one spouse. Looking at statistics alone, the wife should purchase the policy. In our society women tend to live longer than men and to provide more care than men. The result is that women are much more likely than men to end up in a nursing home for a long period of time. (Realizing this, long-term care insurers are beginning to charge women more than men.) In addition, the Medicaid rules provide some protection for the spouse of a nursing home resident. For these reasons, the best bet for couples who can afford the premiums for one policy only is to purchase it for the wife. Couples should bear in mind, however, that this is playing the odds and is not a sure thing.
On the other hand, some companies offer incentives for both spouses to purchase coverage. The incentive may be either a premium discount or allowing both spouses to share the same coverage. With a “shared care” policy, the couple buys a pool of benefits that they can split between them. For example, if you buy a five-year policy, you will have a total of 10 years between you and your spouse. If your spouse uses two years of the policy, you will have eight years. A shared care policy may cost more than separate policies with the same benefit period, but it will allow you to buy a shorter policy, knowing that you have a pool of benefits to work with.
Article courtesy of Elder Law Answers.