APRIL 24, 1995 VOLUME 2, NUMBER 42
Wayne Greer was an Arizona nursing home resident. Since his assets were limited, his wife Janet applied for Arizona's long-term care Medicaid program, ALTCS.
ALTCS calculated that the Greers' assets should be limited to $14,148.00. Unfortunately, Greer had an interest in a piece of real property he owned jointly with his brother and sister. The property had been listed for sale since 1987, but had not sold.
ALTCS denied eligibility based on the availability of the jointly-owned property in February, 1993. The final agency decision (after appeals) came in August, 1993. Despite Greer's death, his widow brought a federal court action to challenge the ALTCS determination.
Last month (just over two years after Greer should have been found eligible) the Federal District Judge ruled in favor of Greer's estate.
Despite regulations that provide for a new determination of the availability of property that is difficult to sell, the Court ruled that ALTCS is bound to use the same procedure adopted by the Social Security Administration in SSI determinations. Under that approach, the fact that the property had been continuously offered for sale without buyers was sufficient to establish eligibility. Estate of Greer v. Chen, USDistrict Court, Arizona, 3/27/95.
Ed. Note--the same result should have obtained if Greer's siblings simply refused to sell their interests in the property. This case points out that regulations can be wrong, and even insoluble problems sometimes have more than one legal solution.
Delaying Social Security
Social Security is available, at a permanently reduced rate, to those who decide to retire at 62 instead of 65. Many seniors are confused about whether the early retirement option makes economic sense for them.
A recent article in The Wall Street Journal included a thoughtful economic analysis of the question, with suggestions on how to make the choice. More information is available to Elder Law Issues readers who want details, but the suggested factors to consider include:
- Whether you are likely to work again.
- The age of your spouse.
- Your family health history.
Other available sources of retirement income, and the types of investments you currently have.
The author's general advice? Despite common notions that it always pays off to delay retirement, for most people the economic considerations make it "pretty much a toss-up."