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  The attorneys and staff at Dutton & Casey send you the warmest thoughts and best wishes for a wonderful holiday season and a very Happy New Year.  



Janna Dutton

Kathryn Casey

Helen Mesoloras

Hanny Pei

Julie Dow

Betty Rodriguez

Pat Sandifer

Erin Vogt


The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid announced,  the standard Medicare Part B premium will remain the same, $104.90 a month. The Part B deductible will also hold steady at $147.00.


Social Security recipients will receive a 1.5 percent increase in payments in 2014. Because most recipients have their Medicare premiums deducted from their Social Security benefits, the absence of an increase in Medicare premiums means that most will receive a small boost in Social Security benefits.


2014 Medicare figures:

  • Part B premium: $104.90 per month
  • Part B deductible: $147.00 per month
  • Part A deductible: $1,216.00
  • Co-payment for hospital stay days 61-90: $304.00 per day 
  • Co-payment for hospital stay days 91 and beyond: $608.00 per day
  • Skilled nursing facility co-payment, days 21-100: $152.00 per day

As directed by the 2003 Medicare law, higher-income beneficiaries will pay higher Part B premiums. 

  • Individuals with annual incomes between $85,000 and $107,000 and married couples with annual incomes between $170,000 and $214,000 will pay a monthly premium of $146.90.
  • Individuals with annual incomes between $107,000 and $160,000 and married couples with annual incomes between $214,000 and $320,000 will pay a monthly premium of $209.80.
  • Individuals with annual incomes between $160,000 and $214,000 and married couples with annual incomes between $320,000 and $428,000 will pay a monthly premium of $272.70.
  • Individuals with annual incomes of $214,000 or more and married couples with annual incomes of $428,000 or more will pay a monthly premium of $335.70.

Rates differ for beneficiaries who are married but file a separate tax return from their spouse:

  • Those with incomes between $85,000 and $129,000 will pay a monthly premium of $272.70.
  • Those with incomes greater than $129,000 will pay a monthly premium of $335.70.

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It is common knowledge that husbands and wives  are entitled  to collect Social Security benefits on their spouses' work records.


Less well known is that this benefit applies to divorced spouses, as long as the spouse has not remarried. Divorced spouses are even entitled to survivor benefits in certain circumstances.


As a spouse, you have the option of claiming a Social Security retirement benefit based on your own earnings record or collecting a spousal benefit equal to half of your spouse's Social Security benefit. You are automatically entitled to whichever benefit is higher and you can collect on your spouse's record even if you have never worked yourself.


As a divorced spouse, you can collect benefits on your ex-spouse's record, even if the ex-spouse has remarried and even if the ex-spouse's new spouse is collecting on the same record.


But, to get this benefit, you must meet the following requirements:

  1. You were married for at least 10 years.
  2. You are at least 62 years old.
  3. Your ex-spouse is eligible for retirement benefits.
  4. You are currently unmarried.

If your ex-spouse has not yet applied for retirement benefits, but can qualify for them, you can receive benefits on his or her record provided you have been divorced for at least two years.


In addition, if you have reached full retirement age and are eligible for both a spouse's benefit and your own retirement benefit, you have a choice. You can receive only the spouse's benefit and delay receiving your own retirement benefit until a later date. The longer you delay taking your own benefit, the higher the benefit you receive later will be (up to age 70).


If you remarry, you cannot receive benefits on your former spouse's record unless the new marriage ends (by death, divorce, or annulment).


Survivor's Benefits

If you are the divorced spouse of a worker, who has passed away, you could still be eligible for survivor's benefits if the marriage lasted 10 years or more. Survivor's benefits are equivalent to the deceased spouse's full Social Security benefit amount.


However, if you remarry before the age of 60, you cannot collect survivor's benefits (unless the marriage ends for any reason). If you remarry after age 60, you can still receive survivor's benefits based on your former spouse's record. However, if your new spouse is also collecting Social Security benefits and you would receive a higher amount based on the new spouse's work record, you will receive the higher amount.


Additionally, if you are caring for a child under age 16 or disabled, who is getting benefits on the record of your former spouse, you would not have to meet the 10-year marriage rule.


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For additional questions, the attorneys at Dutton & Casey concentrate in estate planning and can assist you or someone you care about.  learn more


When families live far away from one another, the holidays may  be the only opportunity that long-distance caregivers and family members have to personally observe older relatives.


Age-related decline can happen quickly. Family members who haven't seen their aging loved one since last year may be shocked at what they see: a formerly healthy father looking frail, or a mom whose home was once well-kept now in disarray.


For those who have relied on regular telephone conversations and assessment by other closer-living relatives to gauge an older loved ones well-being, the holiday visit can be revealing. Absence - even for a short period - often allows us to observe a situation through new eyes...and the following changes may indicate the need to take action to ensure your aging relative's safety and good health.


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This resource has been mentioned before, but, because of the importance, we are sharing it again.


On August 28, 2009, the Illinois Premise Alert Program Act (PAP) became law in Illinois. This is a safety program that supports individuals living with disabilities, as well as police and paramedics responding to calls at a specific address. This program requires 911 call centers to maintain a database of information about individuals with special needs when requested by families, caregivers, or the individuals themselves.


The program assists local police departments in identifying individuals who have special needs, which will enable responding police officers and paramedics to have additional information at their disposal in the event of an emergency.


For more information on the Premise Alert Program, call the non-emergency police department phone number in the city where you live. 

Our Attorneys
From left to right: 

Helen Mesoloras, Janna Dutton, Kathryn Casey, Hanny Pei.  


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Serving Cook, DuPage, and Lake Counties in Illinois.