Key Elder Law Numbers for 2010

Below are figures for 2010 that are frequently used in an estate planning / elder law practice or of interest to clients.

Medicaid Spousal Impoverishment Figures for 2010 Unchanged From 2009: The minimum community spouse resource allowance (CSRA) remains $21,912, as does the maximum CSRA, $109,560. The minimum monthly maintenance needs allowance remains $1,821.25 until July 1, 2010.

Income Cap: Because the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) federal benefit rate was unchanged, the income cap for 2010 applicable in “income cap” states should remain $2,022 a month.

Annual Gift Tax Exclusion Stays at $13,000: The annual gift tax exclusion remains at $13,000.

Social Security’s Contribution and Benefit Base: Social Security limits the amount of earnings subject to taxation in a given year. The annual limit is called the “contribution and benefit base”. In 2010, the contribution and benefit base is $106,800.

Exempt Amounts Under the Earnings Test: Social Security withholds benefits if your earnings exceed a certain level, called a retirement earnings test exempt amount, and if you are under your normal retirement age (NRA), which ranges from age 65 to 67 depending on year of birth. For people attaining NRA in 2010, the annual exempt amount is $37,680.

Substantial Gainful Activity: To be eligible for disability benefits, a person must be unable to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA). A person who is earning more than a certain monthly amount (net of impairment-related work expenses) is ordinarily considered to be engaging in SGA. The monthly SGA amount for statutorily blind individuals for 2010 is $1640. For non-blind individuals who are disabled, the monthly SGA amount for 2010 is $1000.

Trial work period: After a person becomes eligible for disability benefits, the person may attempt to return to the work force. Social Security does not consider services performed during the trial work period as showing that the disability has ended until services have been performed in at least 9 months (not necessarily consecutive) in a rolling 60-month period. In 2010, any month in which earnings exceed $720 is considered a month of services for an individual’s trial work period.

SSI Federal Payment Amounts for 2010: Maximum Federal SSI payment amounts increase with the cost-of-living increases that apply to Social Security benefits. This year there is no cost-of-living increase, so there will be no increase in SSI payment amounts. The monthly maximum Federal amounts for 2010 are $674 for an eligible individual and $1,011 for an eligible individual with an eligible spouse. The supplement to the federal benefit amount paid by New Jersey remains $31.25.

Medicare Premiums and Copayments for 2010: Basic Part B premium: $110.50/month (was $96.40) (But most beneficiaries will not pay this increase due to a “hold-harmless” provision in the Medicare law prohibiting Part B premiums from rising more than that year’s cost of living increase in Social Security benefits.) Skilled nursing facility co-payment, days 21-100: $137.50/day (was $133.50)

Long-Term Care Premium Deductibility Limits for 2010: The Internal Revenue Service has announced the 2010 limitations on the deductibility of long-term care insurance premiums from taxes. At age 40 or less, the maximum deduction is $330; for those more than 40 but not more than 50, the maximum deduction is $620; for those more than 50 but not more than 60, $1,230; for those more than 60 but not more than 70, $3,290; and, for those more than 70, $4,110.

Source: Elder Law Answers