Senior Citizens

General Senior Citizens Articles

Guardianship is a court proceeding. When an adult is unable to make personal decisions, such as medical decisions, or to handle his or her own property, a court can appoint a guardian.
What happens when someone becomes disabled and can no longer manage his or her financial affairs? Perhaps that person has dementia, suffered a stroke, or has some other ailment or injury that renders that person unable to act. That person’s financial affairs must be put in order, and kept in order, so that the financial needs of that person can be taken care as long as possible. Often, the answer to that question is to initiate a guardianship proceeding on behalf of that disabled adult.
Establishing a guardianship is a formal, public, legal process. It is initiated when someone files a petition with a Maryland circuit court to be appointed guardian for an “alleged disabled person.” It should be noted that a disabled person is always an “alleged” disabled person until that person is determined by a court to be disabled, based on competent medical evidence, affidavits or opinions. Prior to that determination, a person is presumed to have capacity. If the court determines that a person is disabled, the court will appoint someone, most often an interested person, to serve as guardian, and issue an order setting out the terms and conditions of the appointment.
Interested persons play a pivotal role in guardianship proceedings. For example, only an interested person can petition for guardianship.
Whether or not the guardianship is contested, a hearing on the guardianship petition will be conducted in the circuit court for the county in which the petition was filed. The two main issues in a guardianship hearing are (1) whether a guardian is needed (i.e., is the alleged disabled person really disabled?) and (2) who is the most appropriate guardian for the disabled person. The Petitioner has the burden to prove both of these issues.
If a parent is destitute, do the children legally have to support him or her under Maryland law?
Information for people caring for a frail elderly relative.
Sometimes as people age, their physical abilities fail and may make it difficult, or even impossible, to stay in their homes without some changes or modifications to the home.
Medical Assistance (also called Medicaid) is a program that pays the medical bills of people who have low income and cannot afford medical care.
The Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) program is a state program to help people with lower income pay for out-of-pocket Medicare expenses, such as deductibles, co-payments and premiums.
What are reverse mortgages and what are the common pitfalls.
Questions and Answers from Maryland Legal Aid's Maryland Senior Legal Hotline
Specified Low Income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB) & Qualified Individual Program (QI) pay the Medicare Part B insurance premiums for Part B participants who have trouble paying premiums.
The tax relief provided by this law is based on a calculation that includes your total income and the actual amount paid as occupancy rent.

Discrimination Issues

There are a number of federal and state laws that prohibit discrimination because of age, race, color, gender, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, and pregnancy.

Nursing Homes/Assisted Living

An ombudsman is a third party that acts to investigate and resolve complaints involving residents of long-term care facilities. The Ombudsman is an advocate whose goal is to promote the highest possible quality of life for residents.
Assisted living is a residential program that provides housing, supervision, personal care services, health related services, or a combination of these to residents who are unable to perform activities of daily living or who need help performing them.
Under the Medicaid Waiver, the federal government "waives" the requirement that services be provided in a nursing facility and pays for home and community based services for those who otherwise go to a nursing home.
Your treatment, care and services must be adequate, appropriate, and promote your social, emotional, physical and spiritual health. For example, you have a right to a service plan based on an assessment of your needs; you also have a right to three meals and additional snacks each day.
Issues to consider before you sign.
In Maryland, Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC) offer older adults a variety of services and care facilities, ranging from independent living arrangements to nursing home care. This article discusses the issues making a decision.
This article answers frequently asked questions about medical assistance and nursing home care. Prepared by: Long Term Care Assistance Project, Legal Aid Bureau, Inc.
This article describes the rights that nursing home residents have under state and federal law and regulations.
This FAQ covers the rights of nursing home residents when the facility moves to discharge or transfer the resident.
Residents of nursing homes have certain rights.

Pensions

Federal legislation gives spouses and divorced spouses some rights in a worker’s pension plan and social security benefits.

Social Security Benefits

This article discusses issues involving Social Security benefits, SSI and the prison population.
HALLEX is the abbreviation for Hearings, Appeals, Litigation, and Law (LEX) Manual. It contains instructions for administrative law judges (ALJs), the Appeals Council, and the Office of Civil Actions.
The Program Operations Manual System, or POMS, is a massive, multi-volume manual of substantive and procedural material for the adjudication and processing of all claims under the jurisdiction of the Social Security Administration.
How to calculate the percentage of benefits you will receive if you retire.
This table lists how to apply for Social Security
A representative payee is a person who has been chosen by the Social Security Administration to receive a Social Security or Supplemental Security Income check on behalf of another person.
You can apply online, over the phone or in person for Social Security Retirement Benefits
This article contains tools for determining an estimate of how much you will receive in Social Security benefits.
Social Security Benefits for children of a recipient
Social Security Benefits for divorced spouses
Social Security Benefits for spouses
Social Security benefits for widows and widowers
The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program pays benefits to disabled adults and children who have limited income and resources.
Many older taxpayers have Medicare premiums deducted from their Social Security checks each month and forget to take the deduction at the end of the year.

Wills/Estates/Probate

A Will is a written legal document prepared for one person, called the testator, which sets forth what is to happen after death to his or her property, called the estate, and who is to be named as guardian to care for any minor children.
A power of attorney is a document that gives someone legal authority to act for another person.
This article contains information on different kinds of personal banks accounts, who can access them, and what happens when the owner dies.
This page gives an overview of estate administration and links to a number of resources for people who need to open an estate.
This article defines and describes the basic law of trusts.
This article describes a general process for giving away property rights to someone else for no money. For example, you may wish to make a gift of property, or you may wish to add a family member to your deed. You should be aware that simply adding someone to a property deed can have very different results depending on the exact words used in the new deed. If you are buying or selling property, it is important to get professional help.