Our Mission and Goals
The mission of the NAELA Foundation is to promote the goals of NAELA and the Elder and Special Needs Law profession through scholarships, advocacy, research, and education. The Foundation Litigation Advocacy Fund’s objective is to establish good legal precedent in matters of critical importance to older Americans and people with special needs. Through the Cohn Sisters’ Scholarships for Patient Advocacy, the Foundation awards scholarships to NAELA members in financial need so that they can attend national education events.
In February 2014, the Board approved a request that NAELA prepare an amicus curiae brief to the Third Circuit to help them understand the context in which Elder Law attorneys are using annuities and educate the panel about the reality facing most Americans who need to pay for long-term nursing care in the matter of Claypoole, et al. v. Mackereth. The brief was written by John Callinan, CELA, CAP; Ron Landsman, CAP; and Stanley M. Vasiliadis, CELA. The goal of the litigation is Third Circuit recognition that under current federal law:
The Litigation Committee has been working with the NAELA Foundation to establish a national Litigation Advocacy Fund, developing the process for entering into litigation and bringing the importance of said litigation to the attention of the membership to solicit financial support for the Foundation’s efforts.
- the purchase of an annuity that meets the four express requirements of 42 U.S.C. §1396p(c)(1)(F) and §1396p(c)(1)(G)(ii) cannot be treated as the disposal of an asset for less than fair market value;
- there is no minimum annuity payment term for the purpose of determining its “actuarial soundness”; and
- until the Secretary of HHS so specifies, annuities cannot be treated as trusts for purposes of determining Medicaid eligibility.
The Committee plans to establish a central forum for sharing pending cases, pleadings, and briefs. To accomplish this, the Committee will reach out to related organizations (ex. Stetson Law School, National Health Law Program, National Senior Citizens Law Center, AARP Litigation Foundation, etc.) to form partnerships to assist with this project.
With a focus on litigation, the Foundation, working with NAELA's Litigation Committee, has become involved in possible precedent-setting cases touching on:
- Annuities as "planning tools";
- Pooled trust deposit for someone over age 65 is not an uncompensated transfer under federal law;
- Preventing the limitation of use of special needs trusts;
- Purchase of immediate annuities is permissible and should not be considered a countable asset; and
- Medicaid estate recovery and divestment provisions.
For more information, visit the NAELA Foundation Litigation page.
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