Sunday, November 27, 2011

Year end tax deduction

If you are thinking of donating to charity between now and year-end, consider giving away stock that you've owned for more than a year and that is worth more than you paid for it. That way, you can avoid capital-gains tax on the increased value—and you usually can deduct the stock's fair market value at the time you make your gift.
This can be especially smart if you have no idea what you originally paid for a stock years ago since you don't need that information to take advantage of this provision.
Don't donate stock that has decreased in value. Instead, sell it to nail down a tax loss and donate the proceeds.

William Wombacher, your Central Illinois Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) and Social Security Disability Specialist. I'll help you!   www..wombacherlaw.com

Serving Peoria, East Peoria, Pekin, Dunlap, Chillicothe, Morton, Washington, Metamora, Canton and surrounding cites and counties of Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, Fulton and  Knox in Central Illinois.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Social Security Disabilty-Doctor Reviews are Deficient

In targeting the doctors, the Social Security Administration says it is seeking to overhaul a part of the disability-review process that can be both expensive and slow.

But many doctors and former agency officials say the changes threaten the quality of decisions. Several doctors said medical opinions were now prone to inaccuracy since many specialists don't have the backgrounds to make decisions outside their areas of expertise. The new policy could make doctors more likely to award benefits to those who don't qualify and deny benefits to those who are entitled, these doctors said. But many of the doctors haven't practiced outside their specialty in decades, if at all, making the complexities of disability cases even harder to analyze, several doctors said. 

Doctors who specialize in nerve disorders "would be hard pressed to evaluate diabetes and heart disease and … leukemia," said James McPhillips, a doctor who left the program in April once he realized the changes that were coming.

The approach in Baltimore has drawn critics. William Bunn, 47 years old, a truck driver from Peoria, Ill., found his disability claim rejected, in part, on the recommendation of a retired pediatrician. Mr. Bunn was diagnosed with small-fiber neuropathy in 2009, a type of nerve disorder that primarily affects older people. Mr. Bunn, who began suffering from pain and numbness in his legs, said he couldn't drive a truck with his condition and quit his job. His application was supported by two private doctors. But it was rejected after two reviews by the Illinois Bureau of Disability Determination Services, one of which was performed by the pediatrician. His appeal took more than two years. During that time, the family of four had their two cars repossessed and had to rely on food stamps for groceries.

'William Wombacher, Mr. Bunn's Peoria attorney, objected to the pediatrician's review when the case was heard by an administrative law judge. The judge, in a rare move, awarded benefits on the spot.' according to the Wall Street Journal article.

Read about this in a story by Damian Paletta of the Wall Street Journal at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204621904577016221945984492.html

Thank you to Damian Paletta for calling me to contribute to his article and bringing to light some of practices of SSA and DDS.

William Wombacher, your Central Illinois Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) and Social Security Disability Specialist. I'll help you!   www..wombacherlaw.com

Serving Peoria, East Peoria, Pekin, Dunlap, Chillicothe, Morton, Washington, Metamora, Canton and surrounding cites and counties of Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, Fulton and  Knox in Central Illinois.



 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mental Illness--Medication Usage

The medicating of Americans for mental illnesses continued to grow over the past decade, with one in five adults now taking at least one psychiatric drug such as antidepressants, antipsychotics and anti-anxiety medications, according to an analysis of pharmacy-claims data. Overall use of psychiatric medications among adults grew 22% from 2001 to 2010. The new figures, released Wednesday, are based on prescription-drug pharmacy claims of two million U.S. insured adults and children reported by Medco Health Solutions Inc., a pharmacy-benefit manager.

Psychiatric medications are among the most widely prescribed and biggest-selling class of drugs in the U.S. In 2010, Americans spent $16.1 billion on antipsychotics to treat depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, $11.6 billion on antidepressants and $7.2 billion on treatment for ADHD, according to IMS Health, which tracks prescription-drug sales.

In the elderly, the use of anti-anxiety drugs, particularly ones that stay in the body for a longer period of time like Valium, is a major worry, but there has been relatively little in the way of research on their use in this population, according to Dr. Olfson. This new data about the 44% decrease in use of these drugs in the elderly represent a major shift in usage patterns in the last decade and are an "encouraging development," he says.

 Read about this in Shirley Wang's article in the Wall Street Journal at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203503204577040431792673066.html?mod=rss_Health

William Wombacher, your Central Illinois Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) and Social Security Disability Specialist. I'll help you!   www..wombacherlaw.com

Serving Peoria, East Peoria, Pekin, Dunlap, Chillicothe, Morton, Washington, Metamora, Canton and surrounding cites and counties  in Central Illinois

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Nursing Home Care --What will happen?

The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) program, a part of the health-reform law, established a national, voluntary insurance program for purchasing community living services. It was designed to expand options for people who require long-term help. But in mid-October, the Obama administration shut down the program, saying it was not financially feasible.

According to the Urban Institute, relatives of the aging struggle to balance their elder-care duties with employment and other family responsibilities, and the care they provide equates to some $375 billion a year. At the moment, the options for paying for long-term care are limited. Medicare doesn't cover all that much and just 12% of adults age 65 or older have private insurance, according to the Urban Institute. As a result, many families pay out of pocket until they exhaust their resources and turn to Medicaid.


William Wombacher, your Central Illinois Certified Elder law Attorney and Social Security Disability Specialist, I''ll help you!,    www..wombacherlaw.com

Serving Peoria, East Peoria, Pekin, Dunlap, Chillicothe, Morton, Washington, Metamora, Canton and surrounding cites and counties  in Central Illinois

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

SSA Disability --Management by the numbers

Managers in the Social Security Administration, struggling to handle a skyrocketing number of disability cases, had an unusual request for their workers the end of September: slow down.

Social Security judges and employees in Florida, Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Tennessee, Ohio and Arizona were among those instructed to set aside disability cases in late September, with the slowdown allowing managers to boost their performance numbers for the coming fiscal year, which started October 1.

On Monday, September 26, 2011, the Social Security Administration's Office of Disability Adjudication and Review closed out 230 cases nationally, compared with the roughly 3,000 it usually averages a day, a government official said. No cases were closed in the SSA's Boston and Denver regions that day and the Seattle region closed just one case.

It is believed that under political pressure to clear the growing backlog of applications, SSA leaders set numerical goals for judges and field offices in order to expedite cases. It was management's obsession with these goals that led to their directive to go slow the last week of September. 


Read all about his in Damien Paletta's article in the Wall Street Journal. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203405504576601243696313416.html?KEYWORDS=social+security+disability

William C. Wombacher, Central Illinois Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) and Social Security Disability Specialist.  www.wombacherlaw.com

Friday, November 4, 2011

Going after Medicare on "Observation" status game

(Reuters) - A group of Medicare patients and their families sued the Obama administration on Thursday, saying they were deprived of coverage by the government health plan because of a policy that allows hospitals to avoid admitting elderly people with chronic ailments as inpatients.
     The plaintiffs, who are seeking class-action status for the case, asked a U.S. District court in Hartford, Connecticut, to stop Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius from authorizing doctors to place Medicare hospital patients on "observation" status rather than admitting them for inpatient care.
     The observation services policy, meant to apply mainly for hospital stays of no more than 48 hours, is instead being used to keep the elderly on outpatient status for longer stays including some lasting up to a week, according to court documents.
     The plaintiffs, aged 74 to 96, suffered multiple health problems including cancer, Parkinson's disease and arthritis. Each entered the hospital as an emergency patient, usually after a fall, but remained on observation status for days of full hospital service.
None received hospital coverage under Medicare Part A for their stays. Instead they were relegated to the Part B section of the federal program that covers visits to doctors' offices and other outpatient facilities.
     As a result, they and their families incurred medical charges as high as $30,000 for skilled nursing care, drugs and other costs that Medicare does not cover unless a patient has been admitted to a hospital for at least three days.
     The policy is meant to protect hospitals from Medicare penalties for admissions made in error. But the incidence of observation status has increased sharply in recent years with the advent of federal healthcare reform and heightened scrutiny of Medicare spending, according to Medicare patient advocates.
     The result can be tens of thousands of dollars in medical costs for beneficiaries, who do not qualify for Medicare hospital coverage while on observation status."This causes severe financial problems for beneficiaries and their families," said Judith Stein, executive director of the Center for Medicare Advocacy. She cited federal statistics showing that tens of thousands of Medicare beneficiaries are placed on observation status in U.S. hospitals each year.

Read about this at   
http://news.yahoo.com/medicare-beneficiaries-sue-u-over-hospital-stays-210406350.html

William C. Wombacher, Central Illinois' Certified Elder Law Attorney  (CELA) and Social Security Disability Specialist, serving Peoria, Tazewell and Woodford Counties including the communities of Peoria, East Peoria, Pekin, Morton, Metamora, Galesburg, Canton, Bloomington, Illinois. visit my website at www.wombacherlaw.com