The Law Office of William C. Wombacher
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September 2010 Archives

Social Security changes language related to mental disorders

The Social Security Administration wants to start using the term “intellectual disability/mental retardation” in lieu of “mental retardation,” following a similar switch at other state and federal agencies across the country.
In a notice posted last month in the Federal Register, the Social Security Administration indicated that it wants to make the language change amid a series of updates to the agency’s eligibility criteria for those with mental disorders.
“The term ‘mental retardation’ has taken on negative connotations over the years, is offensive to many persons and results in misunderstandings about the nature of the disorder and the persons who have it. The term ‘intellectual disability’ is now widely used internationally and is gradually replacing ‘mental retardation’ in the United States,” the notice indicates as reason for making the change. Read more about it. Wombacher, your Central Illinois Social Security disability attorney

Spinal-Fluid Test, an Early Warning on Alzheimer’s

Researchers report that a spinal fluid test can be 100 percent accurate in in identifying a signature level of abnormal proteins in patients with significant memory loss who went on to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers are finding simple and accurate ways to detect Alzheimer’s long before there are definite symptoms. In addition to spinal fluid tests they also have new PET scans of the brain that show the telltale amyloid plaques that are a unique feature of the disease. Sometimes patients with severe memory loss do not have the disease. Doctors might want to use the test in cases where they want to be sure of the diagnosis. And they might want to offer the test to people with milder symptoms who want to know whether they are developing the devastating brain disease.
The new study included more than 300 patients in their 70s, 114 with normal memories, 200 with memory problems and 102 with Alzheimer’s disease. Their spinal fluid was analyzed for amyloid beta, a protein fragment that forms plaques in the brain, and for tau, a protein that accumulates in dead and dying nerve cells in the brain.Nearly every person with Alzheimer’s had the characteristic spinal fluid protein levels. Nearly three quarters of people with mild cognitive impairment, a memory impediment that can precede Alzheimer’s, had Alzheimer’s-like spinal fluid proteins. And about a third of people with normal memories had spinal fluid indicating Alzheimer’s. Researchers suspect that those people will develop memory problems.Read more about this in the New York Times Wombacher  your Central Illinois Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA)

COPD Related Depression

COPD affects the airways and air sacs within the lungs, which makes breathing difficult and can result in a person becoming less active over time. An elderly person who has COPD will easily become depressed, when dealing not only with breathing difficulties but other age related problems.
The most common types of daily COPD medicines are:

Funeral costs-Ideas on how to control

I found this interesting article from the Wall Street Journal smartmoney feature that you might find interesting. I'm not sure about buying a casket at Costco but certainly there are some ideas to consider. Wombacher

Tips for People Who Receive Social Security -Free Webinar

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has tips for you! According to SSA, there are many Social Security services available online. You can replace a Medicare card, request a proof of income letter, change your address or phone number, start or change direct deposit, get or change a password or receive updates by email. SSA gives you some tips on how to make the most of using those services.

Coming up on Tuesday, September 21, 2010, at 2:00 p.m. ET, is the webinar. Mark your calenders now. You can sign up for the webinar on Social Security's home page, Scroll down to the bottom of the center column to "Watch Our Webinars."  Double click on "Learn More." You will be directed to a description and link to RSVP for the webinar.

William Wombacher

The Case Against Do-It-Yourself Wills

Deborah L. Jacobs, a writer for Forbes wrote an interesting article about why the do it yourself will can be a disaster. Sometimes people tell me that don't need a will because they don't have much. The problem is what they do have is very important to them and they they want to get it to the right persons. All the more reason for doing it right by using an attorney. Read this article and learn from other persons mistakes. William Wombacher

Medicare denies you coverage in the nursing home-what now?

The Medicare program often requires an individual to need "skilled" care in order to trigger coverage for both that care and related services. This is true, for example, to obtain coverage for home care, skilled nursing facility care, and outpatient therapies. Skilled services are those services provided by (or under the supervision of ) technical or professional personnel such as registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, and audiologists. Medicare law recognizes that skilled services may include those which are needed to maintain the status of a medical condition or of the patient's functioning or slow or prevent the deterioration of a medical condition or of the patient's functioning. You don't have to be improving!

Understand basic rules for providing Medicare covered services for chronic, long-term conditions, including maintenance and rehabilitative therapies and services. For information on coverage in all settings visit the Center for Medicare Advocacy's website: Click on the "Improvement Standard" link.

9 Billion Dollar Man-No Estate Tax

Dan Duncan died in March 2010.  He was not in the donut business and if you didn't live in Texas you may have never heard of Mr. Duncan. Dan L. Duncan, a soft-spoken man built a network of natural gas processing plants and pipelines that made him the richest person in Houston. It is estimated that he had personal wealth in excess of 9 billion dollars. Mr. Duncan gave more than $100 million to Baylor College of Medicine to build a Cancer Center in Houston. He also was a patron of the arts and conservation causes. Mr. Duncan death has created a lot of attention because persons dying in 2010 will pay no estate tax. Most estate planning attorneys thought Congress would change the law before 2010 and this would never happen. President Obama's agenda had other priorities and it didn't happen in 2009 and not so far in 2010.  Will Congress change the law retroactively? They have done it before. Will it happen before or after the November elections?  William Wombacher