Nick & SharonIt is estimated that more than one million seniors and disabled individuals will have to make the hard decision of choosing between paying for medications and feeding themselves. Despite their daily struggle, they are considered “too rich” to qualify for the benefits needed to improve their quality of life. Often, they are told they need to “spend down” what little they have managed to save, leaving them with practically nothing in order to qualify for help. To make things even worse, the cost of healthcare, medication, and living expenses continue to increase. What many people don’t know is that they don’t have to spend down their assets to qualify for the benefits they need, and that’s where Advocates & Guardians for the Elderly & Disabled (AGED) can help.

AGED, Inc. is a non-profit Special Needs Trust Company that assists elderly and disabled persons with income and/or asset requirements allowing them to qualify for federal and state benefits such as Medicaid Benefits. By taking your excess income and/or assets and placing them in a Pooled Special Needs Trust, it represents a legal way to qualify for Medicaid. The funds in the trust can typically be used to pay bills such as mortgage, rent, utilities, caregivers, and others as needed.

“It’s all about sheltering your income and assets,” says Nick Barton, Executive Director of AGED, Inc., which has offices in Longwood and at One Senior Place of Greater Orlando. “Many seniors simply fall through the cracks because they can’t pay for their medications and don’t realize they can use this kind of trust.”

Barton admits that the biggest challenge is to get seniors and disabled individuals to realize that this solution is available and to understand what a difference it can make in their lives. The key, he says, is to get in front of Care Managers, Hospital Discharge Planners, Legal Guardians, Elder Law Attorneys, and Medicare Insurance Specialists because they see the patients and clients that need the help.

Basically, you can use a Pooled Special Needs Trust if you are over the income and/or asset limit for government benefits, and don’t want to spend down assets in order to qualify for benefits. Reducing medication and healthcare costs can help free up available income to help people age in place at home, which may help prevent and/or delay the need for a nursing home. Similarly, this type of trust can help people who are facing a nursing home stay and have limited funds to private pay, or who are already on Medicaid and may lose benefits due to the sale of a home, settlement, or inheritance.

The potential benefits of a Pooled Special Needs Trust include Medicare Part B reimbursement, a reduction in prescription medication costs and medical co-pays, access to durable medical equipment (DME), home health care, and reduced cost of nursing home and assisted living facilities.

“You see people struggling, and it’s frustrating because they don’t have to live like that,” says Barton. “It’s amazing how many people suffer needlessly because they aren’t being informed and educated on their options.”

Barton’s company supports senior and disabled causes throughout Florida, including The Seniors Intervention Group, South Orlando Rowing Association (Adaptive Rowing), Best Buddies, and Florida Adaptive Sports. He believes it all ties into helping those who need it the most.

For Barton, the best part of what he does is giving people peace of mind. “It’s incredibly stressful when you can’t afford critical medications,” he says, “and we want seniors and disabled individuals to not only be able to take their medications, but to also be able to eat, pay their bills and live a good quality of life.”

To find out more about how AGED can help you set up a Pooled Special Needs Trust, qualify for government benefits, reduce medication costs and preserve your assets, contact Nick Barton at 407.682.4111 or visit www.trustaged.org.

Photo caption – AGED Executive Director, Nick Barton, and Senior Trust Advisor, Sharon Reich, at the AGED office at One Senior Place in Altamonte Springs.

 

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One Senior Place is a comprehensive, one-stop resource office with access to information, advice, and services for seniors. Not only are a variety of businesses available in one location, but we also offer educational seminars on a regular basis, and our Senior Resource Library is available to help you find what you are looking for. Call 407-949-6733 for more information or for a complimentary consultation with a One Senior Place Aging Services Expert.