January 15, 2021 
Contact: Abby Matienzo, Communications Manager

NAELA Celebrates Passage of Latest COVID-19 Relief Package

Relief Package Addresses NAELA’s Top Three Public Policy Priorities

Washington, DC — The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) praises the U.S. Senate for passage of the latest COVID-19 relief package. The relief package will aid in three of NAELA’s top public policy priorities for 2021:

Made permanent the lower medical expense deduction threshold. This tax deduction helps individuals offset the cost of high out-of-pocket health expenses, including long-term care. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 temporarily lowered the threshold for the deduction from 10 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI) to 7.5 percent of AGI. Congress had previously extended the measure, and it was set to expire at the end of the year.

Extends Medicaid’s spousal impoverishment protections to home and community-based service waivers until September 2023. This policy ensures that individuals can access Medicaid long-term care at home while allowing their spouse to retain a modest amount of resources for living. The Affordable Care Act temporarily mandated that Medicaid’s assets and income protections for the spouse of a beneficiary apply not just to institutional settings (nursing homes) but also to home and community-based service waivers starting in 2014. Since its initial expiration at the end of 2018, Congress had continually used short-term extensions to keep the protections going through December 2020.

Funding for Money Follows the Person through 2023. First created in 2005, the Medicaid Money Follows the Person Demonstration Project (MFP) provides grants to states in order to 1) support Medicaid enrollees who want to transition from nursing facilities back to community-based settings; and 2) develop infrastructure to promote and enhance access to HCBS. Thanks to MFP, over 100,000 individuals have transitioned out of nursing homes and back to the community.

“NAELA members advocate for the needs of older adults and people with disabilities, and the passage of this relief package will benefit these populations tremendously,” said NAELA President Wendy Cappelletto, Esq., CAP.

Learn more about NAELA members and read Questions and Answers When Looking for an Elder and Special Needs Law Attorney.

Find an elder and special needs law attorney in your area using NAELA’s Member Directory.

Members of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) are attorneys who are experienced and trained in working with the legal problems of aging Americans and individuals of all ages with disabilities. Upon joining, NAELA member attorneys agree to adhere to the NAELA Aspirational Standards. Established in 1987, NAELA is a non-profit association that assists lawyers, bar organizations, and others. The mission of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys is to educate, inspire, serve, and provide community to attorneys with practices in elder and special needs law. NAELA currently has members across the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit NAELA.org, or to locate a NAELA member attorney in your area, visit NAELA.org/findlawyer.

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