Dutchess County Office for the Aging’s

AGING NEWS

For the week of November 16th

Note: the Office for the Aging is closed on Thursday, November 26th for Thanksgiving Day. Clients of our Home Delivered Meals program will receive their meals in advance of these holidays, and will also receive their Friday, November 27th meal in advance of Thanksgiving.

The Office for the Aging is open for all other regular business on Friday, November 27th – but please contact us before visiting. In the interests of physical safety, much OFA business can be handled remotely while you stay safe at home.

Golden Living . . . News for Seniors, Their Families and Caregivers

Todd N. Tancredi, Director

Dutchess County Office for the Aging

NEW YORK MEDICAID LOOK-BACK CHANGES COMING IN 2021

Changes are on the horizon for New York seniors considering applying for Medicaid-funded home care programs in 2021 – especially if their assets are transferred in anticipation of making a new application for those services.

OFA has been following developments in the new New York State Medicaid “look-back” law since it was announced in April. Since then, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, key features of the law have changed more than once, and may continue to change depending on how the pandemic evolves from here.

And what’s a “look-back” period? Put simply, it’s a period of ineligibility for assistance due to any uncompensated transfers of assets.

As originally passed in the spring, the new law would have imposed a phased-in 30-month “look-back” period, for every person submitting a new application to Medicaid for community-based home care benefits, effective October 1st, 2020. Since the pandemic emergency, the effective date has been pushed back twice by the New York State Department of Health: to January 1st, 2021; and then to the current effective date of April 1st, 2021. We emphasize that this deadline applies only to new applications for Medicaid-funded community-based home care benefits.

What does this mean for potential applicants?

It’s an opportunity to apply for “community Medicaid” without penalty or look-back, until next April 1st. After that date, the new look-back period will begin phasing in, starting at six months and reaching the full 30-month look-back period in 2023. In other words, an application for community Medicaid filed after April 1st would be subject to penalty for asset transfers made on or after October 1st, 2020.

This may become a concern sooner than you think. We’ve learned over the years that many seniors and caregivers applying for formal aide services did not expect to be doing so, and are unaware of Medicaid’s significant role in paying for in-home long term care. Unless you can afford to pay for services privately, have long-term-care insurance, or meet eligibility requirements as a veteran, you could be in for a scramble, with a steep learning curve and many unexpected expenses.

The Office for the Aging exists to help plan for these situations. NY Connects staff at OFA are well-versed in Medicaid regulations and can help seniors and caregivers plan for the long term and make the application process go as smoothly as possible.

Besides getting in touch with OFA, here’s a quick checklist of key planning points:

  • Make sure financial transactions are documented in detail, and consult an elder law attorney for any advanced planning;
  • Keep family informed as to the location of important documents;
  • Have designated power(s) of attorney and health care proxies in place, and review them regularly.

Pandemic restrictions mean there may not be as many large family holiday gatherings as usual. Not seeing a senior family member in person could add another step to essential planning, so have our contact information handy as you make those plans.

Golden Living is prepared by the Dutchess County Office for the Aging, 114 Delafield St., Poughkeepsie, New York 12601, telephone (845) 486-2555, email: ofa@dutchessny.gov website: www.dutchessny.gov/aging

SUCCESS IN OFA’S FIRST TRY AT DRIVE-IN BINGO

Many thanks to all those who contributed to the success of this fall’s first ever OFA Drive-In Bingo events: Office for the Aging volunteers; Sheriff Butch Anderson and the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office; Dutchess County Parks; Dutchess County Fair; Towns of Beekman, Dover and Stanford; Beekman Recreation; and Stanford Free Library.

Our five Drive-In Bingo events attracted hundreds of senior bingo players eager for a socially-distanced day out. As we prepare our 2021 calendar, drive-in bingo may make a return; in the meantime, we’re planning our winter calendar so that Dutchess County seniors can make the most of that season as well. We thank the seniors who have given us suggestions for socially-distanced wintertime activities – if you have an idea, email Outreach Coordinator Brian Jones at bjones@dutchessny.gov.

TAX-AIDE PROGRAM SEEKS VOLUNTEERS

The look of the coming year’s tax calendar will depend a great deal on what happens with the COVID-19 pandemic in the weeks and month to come. The Hudson Valley Ca$h Coalition is preparing for whatever may come and is seeking volunteers to provide free, reliable tax preparation assistance to low to moderate income residents so they can receive all the credits they are entitled to and keep every penny of their tax refund. You need not be an expert to volunteer; help is needed not only with tax prep itself, but also with support for the program. As for time commitment, all that’s required to begin is four hours per week of availability during tax season – February to April, at present.

Online training for Dutchess residents begins in December.

More information is available at www.uwdor.org/hv-cash, by calling (845) 475-7500, or by emailing CA$H Coalition Co-Chair Linda Eddy at leddy@dutchesscap.org.

Other aging news online:

Since the pandemic has created additional hurdles to activities like museum visits, we’re going to include a virtual museum tour in every Aging News. Our first Virtual Museum of the Week – the Smithsonian: https://naturalhistory.si.edu/visit/virtual-tour

Older and abandoned retail centers and malls are being converted to senior housing: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/24/business/senior-housing-retail-redevelopment.html

This week in senior birthdays:

11/14: US astronaut Fred Haise (87)

11/15: Actor/activist Ed Asner (91)

11/16: NASCAR driver Terry Labonte (64)

11/17: Singer/songwriter Gordon Lightfoot (82)

11/18: Author/poet Margaret Atwood (81)

11/19: Talk show host Larry King (87)

11/20: Actor/comedian Dick Smothers (81)

Even if your usual Thanksgiving is happening remotely this year, you can still share Bad Jokes with the little ones:

Knock knock. Who’s there? Arthur. Arthur who?

Arthur any leftovers?

Why was Thanksgiving soup so expensive?

The recipe required 24 carrots.

What did the turkey say to the turkey hunter on Thanksgiving?

Woof, woof!

(Second helpings of Thanksgiving Bad Jokes next week!)