Tag Archives: Married Couple

Home Health Care – Another Option for Your Long-Term Care Needs

Home Health Care – Another Option for Your Long-Term Care Needs

You’ve decided that the purchase of a long-term care policy for yourself and your spouse would be advisable.   The figures, however, are daunting and the premiums exceed your budget.  If you are considering the idea of long-term care insurance, the option to receive necessary assistance in your own home may be more preferable to living in a nursing home.  Because the vast majority of the middle aged and senior population are in favor of this option, the insurance industry has responded.

The assisted living and home health care industry is growing along with the desire to receive care in your own home.  Most long-term care insurance providers are now offering the consumer the opportunity to purchase insurance that provides coverage for community health services and home health care at much lower rates than a full blown long-term care policy.

For example, using the guidelines of one “A” rated provider, full coverage for a 55-year old married couple, both in good health, with a $150.00 per day policy featuring inflation protection and a 30-day waiting period, would require an annual premium of about $2600.00.

The same provider also offers a policy covering home health care and community care coverage for an annual premium of just under $1,000.00, a considerable savings over the full coverage policy, while still offering protection for the most commonly required assistance.

While some policies will restrict the care to be offered by licensed providers, there are policies now available which also offer coverage for services performed by non-licensed personnel, allowing the opportunity for care to be provided by people known to the policyholder, such as a family friend or a neighbor.  This raises the comfort level of the care provided, since allowing strangers into their home is something of which most seniors are wary.

In order to prevent fraud or abuse of the coverage, family is excluded from providing services in most cases, unless the family member happens to be a licensed provider.

As the baby boomer population ages, and home health services are seeing increased effectiveness and popularity, the purchase of this type of coverage can be an affordable, attractive alternative to the more traditional long-term care insurance.

Tips to Maximize Your Social Security Benefits

Tips to Maximize Your Social Security Benefits

A married couple, or an unmarried couple who were previously married for at least 10 years, combine their working records, for the purposes of Social Security benefits, while they are both living. With careful planning, a couple can maximize their benefits in ways that are not available for single people.

Claim Deceased Spouse’s Benefits

If your spouse is deceased, you are eligible to receive his/her full retirement benefit when you reach the age of 60. If you are disabled, you only need to be 50 years old to collect. If you claim benefits before the full retirement age of the deceased, they can be decreased up to 28 ½ percent. However, you could choose to ask for the lower benefit on your deceased spouse’s working record when you reach 60, and change to your own full benefit when you reach your full retirement age.

Claim Ex-Spouse’s Benefits

If you are at least 62 years old and were previously married for at least 10 years to the same person, and unmarried now, you could be entitled to collect benefits from your ex-spouse’s earnings. The amount that you collect will not decrease the amount that your ex-spouse receives.

Claim % of Your Spouse’s Benefits

A spouse can collect 50% of the amount of his/her spouse’s benefit if that would be more than his/her own benefit amount. You must have reached your full retirement age to collect that amount. If you apply at the earliest age you can, which is currently 62, you will only receive 35% of your spouse’s benefit amount. Note that the higher earning spouse must apply for Social Security benefits before his/her spouse can receive spouse’s benefits.

If the higher earning spouse has reached full retirement age, he/she may apply for the benefits and then ask to have them postponed. In this way, the spouse who earns less can apply for the spousal benefit while his/her spouse keeps working until age 70 to earn more credits. Each year that you postpone claiming benefits after reaching your full retirement age adds approximately 7 and 8 percent to your retirement checks when you apply at age 70. Note that there is no advantage in delaying benefits past the age of 70.

If you and your spouse are both past your full retirement age, you can draw based on your spouse’s benefits and keep working and accumulating credits on your Social Security record. You can then claim benefits on your own work record when you reach the age of 70 and get a larger monthly check because you deferred your credits.

If you can increase your benefits by any of these methods, it is worth a phone call or a trip to your nearest Social Security office.