Public Benefits Planning
Medicaid Eligibility Planning
The cost of nursing home care can wipe out savings. Medicaid regulations allow planning that often can protect significant amounts of assets, particularly when the spouse is still living. An elder law specialist has the knowledge of the Medicaid program’s complex state and federal rules that are required for successful asset and income protection planning.
The cost of nursing home care, usually $5,000 to $10,000 or more per month, can wipe out savings. A significant majority of nursing home residents in Tennessee and Mississippi need financial assistance from Medicaid to help pay for their care at some point in their lives. Medicaid regulations often permit families to protect significant amounts of assets, particularly when the spouse is still living. There are also important rules protecting family income for the well spouse. Unfortunately, most families do not take full advantage of those rules, with the result that spouses are often unnecessarily impoverished by nursing home expenses. An elder law specialist has the knowledge of the Medicaid program’s complex state and federal rules that are required for successful asset and income protection planning.
For an overview of current Medicaid Law, see the Medicaid Law Overview 2017 article.
Veteran’s Administration Planning
The cost of health care for veterans and the widows of veterans as they age can wipe out savings. The Veteran’s Special Monthly Pension commonly known as Aid & Attendance is a benefit designed to provide wartime veterans and their widows with tax-free monthly income to help pay for the cost of health care.
Qualification for Aid & Attendance is dependent on a multitude of factors.
- The veteran must typically have served at least 90 days of active duty with one day during a qualified wartime period.
- The veteran cannot have had a dishonorable discharge.
- The claimant must be in need of assistance with their daily living requirements.
- The claimant should have limited household assets.
- Finally, the claimant’s out-of-pocket annual medical expenses must exceed or come close to their annual household gross income.
When a veteran or the widow of a veteran’s income and/or assets exceed the threshold, an elder law attorney can assist veterans and their families in becoming qualified for the Veteran’s Special Monthly Pension through estate planning.