An elder individual should consider disability planning when planning their estate. There are numerous tools that are available to the elder individual with respect to disability planning. Some of the available tools include:
- Supplemental Security Income. (SSI)
- Medical Power of Attorney or Healthcare Proxy.
- Financial Power of Attorney.
- Durable Power of Attorney.
- Long-term care insurance.
SSI is a federal program that provides elderly individuals with a guaranteed minimum monthly income. Eligibility for SSI is based on financial need alone. SSI benefits have nothing to do with the duration of time the elder individual worked or how much money that he or she contributed into the social security system.
The majority of states supplement SSI benefits with other state benefits.
Medical Power of Attorney or Healthcare Proxy
A medical power of attorney or healthcare proxy is an important document for an elder individual to have in their arsenal for her disability planning. The medical power of attorney or healthcare proxy gives another individual the right and permission to make medical decisions on behalf of the elder individual if the elder individual is unable to make medical decisions. This is an important document if the elder individual has specific wishes with respect to her care and the continuation of her life if she is in a disabled state.
Financial and Durable Power of Attorneys
The financial power of attorney is an important document for the elder individual to have with respect to disability planning. If the elder individual becomes disabled, the financial power of attorney gives an individual who was selected by the elder individual the power and authority to make decisions regarding the elder individual’s financial affairs. The durable power of attorney provides the selected individual with power to make decisions. Generally the decisions affect the elder individual’s overall welfare. The durable power of attorney may be very specific or may be general in nature.
Long-Term Care Insurance
Many elder individuals purchase long-term care insurance as a part of their overall disability plan. Long-term care insurance may assist with specific expenses that result from a disability that the elder individual may suffer. Long-term care insurance may be very costly and does not cover 100% of the costs incurred.