Monday, October 19, 2009

PA Bar Association's "Senior Guide" Reissued

In September, 2009, the Pennsylvania Bar Association issued its 2009 Guide to Legal Issues for PA Senior Citizens, available free in PDF format on its website and by request in printed form.

This annually-revised guide, developed by the Senior Lawyers Committee of the PBA, provides information about legal issues faced by Pennsylvania's older residents and their caregivers. The information provided helps seniors make appropriate choices so they can maximize personal autonomy, minimize costs, navigate through the maze of government benefits, and protect themselves against predators who want to deceive, exploit or defraud.
The Foreword to the revised publication explains the objective of the publication:
This guide is designed to provide information about legal issues faced by Pennsylvania’s older residents and their caregivers. Its authors and publishers intend to help seniors make appropriate choices so they can maximize personal autonomy, minimize costs, navigate through the maze of government benefits, and protect themselves against predators who want to deceive, exploit or defraud.

Senior citizens within Pennsylvania require timely and reliable access to legal information. The Senior Lawyers Committee of the Pennsylvania Bar Association has determined that it can best serve the needs of the legal community by serving the needs of the citizens of Pennsylvania.

Its concentration on the creation of this statewide Guide for Senior Citizens is complimented by other programs such as a mentoring project, a pro bono project and the sponsorship of continuing legal education (CLE) programs, all designed to aid the legal community by offering the expertise of older, more experienced attorneys to all Pennsylvania practitioners. This in turn helps to bring the best possible representation to the clients of Pennsylvania Lawyers.
This publication, in its 94 pages, is like a textbook for consumers on issues in the areas of Elder Law. I last noted such free, quality publications offered by bar associations in a posting entitled Online PA "Elder Law" References (01/26/07).

These areas of the law are noted in the publication's Table of Contents:

Elder Law
  • Attorney-Client Relations
  • Continuing Legal Education
  • Pennsylvania Lawyers Fund For Client Security
  • Choosing an Attorney
  • Pennsylvania Local Lawyer Referral Services
Older Americans Act
  • Area Agencies on Aging
  • Services Provided
  • Attendant Care
  • Senior Adult Activities Center (SAAC)
  • Resources
Financial Planning
  • Income Tax Planning
  • Tax Preparation
  • Standard Deduction at Age 65
  • Income Tax Credit Age 65 or Older
  • Medical Expense Deductions
  • Sale of Residence; Exclusion of Gain from Income
  • Tax Basis; Special Rules for Surviving Spouses
  • Reverse Mortgages (Home Equity Conversion)
  • Basic Requirements
  • Types of Reverse Mortgages
  • Impact of Reverse Mortgages
  • Property Tax and Rent Rebates
  • Amount of Rebates
Estate Planning
  • The Will
  • Trusts
  • Revocable Living Trusts
  • Non-Probate Property
  • Inheritance, Estate and Gift Taxes
  • Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax
  • Federal Estate and Gift Taxes
  • Planning for Gifts
  • Meeting with your Lawyer
Power of Attorney
  • Revoking a Power of Attorney
  • Special Powers of Attorney
  • Failure to Act
  • Fraud
  • Health Care Provisions in a Power of Attorney
  • Health Care Powers of Attorney and Living Wills
  • Out of Hospital Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Orders
  • Hearing Before the Court
Social Security
  • Applying for Benefits From the Social Security Office
  • Deadlines
  • Toll-Free Social Security Number
  • Website
  • Written Explanation for Denial of Benefits
  • Correcting Records with Social Security
  • Legal Assistance
  • Social Security Benefits
  • Retirement Benefits
  • Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDIB)
  • Supplemental Security Income Benefits (SSI)
  • Survivor Benefits
  • Benefits for a Divorced Spouse
  • Benefits for a Divorced Widow(er)s
  • Income Tax on Social Security Benefits
  • Considerations and Issues to be Aware of if you Already Receive Some Benefits
  • Resources
  • Social Security Fact Sheet
  • Part A – Hospital Insurance.
  • Part B – Medical Insurance
  • Additional Insurance
  • Medigap Medicare Supplement Insurance Policies
  • Medicare Advantage
  • Medicare Savings Program
  • Notice Questions and Appeals
  • Appeals
  • Part D Assistance for Persons with Low Income
  • Eligibility
  • Disqualification
  • Estate Recovery
  • Medicaid Planning

Pennsylvania Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

Public Benefits
  • Railroad Retirement Benefits
  • Disability Benefits
Veterans’ Benefits
  • Federal Benefits for Veterans and Dependants
  • Veterans’ Health Care Benefits
  • The Veterans’ Uniform Benefits Package Medicare
  • Additional Prescription Benefits for Members of the Uniformed Services
  • Legal Counseling for Veteran’s Benefits
Public Benefits for Non-Citizens

Low Cost Legal Services

Long Term Care Facilities
  • Nursing Homes
  • Resident’s Rights
  • Assisted Living Facilities
  • Questions
  • Resident’s Rights
  • Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC)
Housing Options
  • Services for Individuals who Remain in Their Homes
  • Independent Housing Options
  • Housing Options for Individuals Who May Require Assistance or Supervision
  • National Housing Locator for Seniors
  • The National Family Caregiver Support Program
  • Geriatric Care Managers
  • Nursing Home Licenses
  • Resources
Long Term Care Insurance
  • Long Term Care Costs
  • Services Covered
  • Coverage Needed
  • Factors Affecting Costs
  • Benefit Triggers
  • Newest Developments
  • Consumer Tips
  • Independent Advice
  • Resources
Elder Abuse and Neglect
  • Signs of Abuse or Neglect
  • If you Observe Abuse or Neglect
  • If you are Abused
  • Protection From Abuse Orders (PFAs)
  • Zero Tolerance of Abuse
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • Disability Defined
  • Accommodations
  • Reassignment
Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
  • Protection from Discrimination Against Caregivers
  • Special Agencies
Consumer Protection
  • Pennsylvania Consumer Protection Bureau
  • Suggestions for Resolving Complaints.
  • Avoiding Scams
  • Charitable Organizations
  • Mail Fraud or Identity Theft
  • Telemarketing
  • Do Not Call Lists
  • On-line Scams
  • Resources
Grandparents’ Custody and Visitation Rights

Mediation Services
  • Benefits of Mediation
Drivers’ Licenses

Identification Cards

Handicapped Parking

Personal Records
  • A Checklist for Your Personal Filing System
Dedicated lawyers, working pro bono, initiated, revised, and updated this Guide to Legal Issues for PA Senior Citizens.

It is reliable, current, and useful, and, therefore, is highly recommended as a resource.