2019 Will Bring Social Security Beneficiaries the Biggest Increase in Eight Years The Social Security Administration has announced a 2.8 percent increase in benefits in 2019, the largest increase since 2012. The change will put an additional $468 anually in the pocket of the average retired beneficiary. Cost of living increases are tied to the consumer price index, and an upturn in inflation rates and gas prices means recipients get a boost in 2019. The 2.8 percent increase is higher than last [...]


It’s Open Enrollment Season: Is Your Medicare Plan Still Working For You? Do you have the right Medicare plan? It is fall, which means it is time to think about whether your current plan is still giving you the best coverage or whether a new plan could save you money or offer better coverage. Medicare's Open Enrollment Period, during which you can freely enroll in or switch plans, runs from October 15 to December 7. During this period you may enroll in a Medicare Part D (prescription [...]


USCIS Revising Validity Period of Form I-693 USCIS is revising policy guidance for the validity period of Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record. The updated policy, which goes into effect on Nov. 1, 2018, will require applicants to submit a Form I-693 that is signed by a civil surgeon no more than 60 days before filing the underlying application for an immigration benefit. The Form I-693 would remain valid for a two-year period following the date the civil [...]


Can I Give My Kids $15,000 a Year? If you have it to give, you certainly can, but there may be consequences should you apply for Medicaid long-term care coverage within five years after each gift. The $15,000 figure is the amount of the current gift tax exclusion (for 2018), meaning that any person who gives away $15,000 or less to any one individual in one particular year does not have to report the gift to the IRS, and you can give this amount to as many people as you like. If you give away [...]


It’s Now Harder for Veterans to Qualify for Long-Term Care Benefits  The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has finalized new rules that make it more difficult to qualify for long-term care benefits. The rules establish an asset limit, a look-back period, and asset transfer penalties for claimants applying for VA pension benefits that require a showing of financial need. The principal such benefit for those needing long-term care is Aid and Attendance. The VA offers Aid and [...]


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