Elder Law Attorneys Drive New State Legislation to Maintain Financial Security and Meet the Healthcare Needs of Seniors

The Massachusetts Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law
Attorneys (MassNAELA) Continues Its Mission to Protect the Legal Rights
and Financial Security of Senior Citizens

BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–As part of its advocacy for quality of life for seniors, the
Massachusetts Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys
(MassNAELA) is filing five bills for the 2017-2018 legislative session
that affect the state’s elder population. The bills focus on improving
the ability of elders to obtain necessary assistance to remain
financially independent in their home while dealing with the cost of
long-term care.

MassNAELA has been a significant force behind legislation concerning
seniors. The organization also advocates for seniors with respect
to the state budget.

“Our efforts at the State House over the years have made a tremendous
difference for elders in the Commonwealth,” said Laura Silver Traiger,
president of MassNAELA. “It is critical we do all we can to allow elders
to remain in their homes and live with sufficient income and resources
to provide for their needs. We are very pleased that so many Senators
and Representatives have signed onto our legislation supporting the
financial security of elders, particularly those who are low income,
disabled or military veterans.”

The five bills recently filed by MassNAELA are as follows:

“An Act to Preserve Special Needs Trusts for Disabled Seniors,”
sponsored by Senator Patricia Jehlen and Representative Kate Hogan,
would enable disabled seniors to continue to use special needs pooled
trusts without penalty to pay for important services and care not
covered by MassHealth. For more than 20 years, disabled individuals of
any age have been permitted to fund pooled trusts without impacting
their MassHealth eligibility. MassHealth recently proposed regulations
that will penalize disabled individuals 65 and over who set up a pooled

“An Act to Protect Medically Needy Veterans,” filed by Senator
Michael Rush, would ensure that the rules governing veterans’ benefits
intended to help medically needy veterans pay for care will be applied
with consistency. Many veterans must also apply for MassHealth to obtain
the additional care they need. The bill clarifies how federal guidelines
pertaining to veterans’ aid and attendance and housebound benefits
should be interpreted by Mass Health.

“An Act to Support Equal Access to Community Care for Elders and the
sponsored by Senator Jamie Eldridge and Representative
Jennifer Benson, helps seniors who are clinically eligible for nursing
home care but want to remain at home. This bill would ease the financial
impact of having increased income by allowing participants of Home and
Community Based Service Waiver programs and the PACE program with income
over program limits to remain on the program but charged a reasonable
premium. The bill would provide that the premium charged is equal to the
individual’s income above the program income limits.

“An Act to Protect MassHealth Applicants Facing Undue Hardship,” filed
by Senator Harriette Chandler and Representative Kate Hogan, would help
low income seniors who are eligible for nursing home care. The bill
would establish criteria to be used by MassHealth to determine whether a
penalty for a transfer of assets would create an undue hardship for an
applicant. This legislation creates a rebuttable presumption
establishing that the applicant would be granted a waiver of the
ineligibility period if certain criteria are met.

“An Act Relative to Transfers of Assets by MassHealth Members,” filed
by Senator Mark Montigny and Representative Christine Barber, would also
help low income seniors who are eligible for nursing home care by
clarifying that a period of ineligibility for nursing home care does not
apply to an applicant who transferred assets for an intent other than to
qualify for Mass Health. This legislation would protect innocent elders
from ineligibility for MassHealth nursing home care for certain
transfers of assets.

Anyone with questions regarding these bills or interested in expressing
their support should contact their local state representative or state

About MassNAELA
The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys
(NAELA), the premier organization of elder and special needs law
attorneys in the country, is dedicated to developing awareness of issues
concerning the elderly and those with special needs. Nearly 500
attorneys are members of the Massachusetts Chapter. Members work
directly with the elderly and those with special needs in areas as
diverse as planning for catastrophic care costs, disability planning,
age discrimination in employment and housing, benefits planning, estate
planning, veterans’ benefits and more.

MassNAELA will be the host and sponsor of NAELA’s 2017 Annual
Conference, to be held April 27 – 29, 2017 at the Boston Marriott Copley
Place, Boston, MA.

For more information about MassNAELA, visit www.massnaela.com.


Beth Bryant, 508-786-3013