As I set righting this blog entry, I am looking over Lenox Mall, and see that the famed tradition of the Pink Pig is already up and running. This marks the beginning of the holiday season, which is traditionally a time when families take a break and get together. This can be a good time to address the need for care of family members.
Often, when families gather for holidays, they notice that there has been a change in their loved one’s health. This is a good time to begin thinking about the amount of care that will need to be provided to aging relatives. With the rising cost of long term care and increased longevity, it is necessary to plan for the costs of long term care. This planning often necessitates a consultation with an experienced elder law attorney.
There are two main benefits that are considered when protecting assets from long term care costs, Medicaid and VA pension. Nursing home Medicaid is a program from the federal government that is administered by the Georgia Department of Community Health to cover the cost of nursing home care for those who show a medical need for such care. Aside from having a medical need for nursing home level of care, applicants for nursing home Medicaid must meet stringent asset and income qualifications to receive care. These asset and income qualifications are complex and carry significant penalties that can limit access to long term care going forward. A qualified elder law attorney can assess the need for nursing home Medicaid and propose a customized solution to establish Medicaid eligibility as soon as possible.
VA Pension, also known as Veterans Improved Pension with aid and attendance, provides monthly cash payments to veterans and their surviving spouses to cover the cost of long term care. These cash payments can be used for a wide range of long term care options, including independent living, assisted living, and at home medical care. While the options for long term care are more expansive than Medicaid, VA pension has similar qualification requirements as Medicaid in terms of asset and income requirements. The VA asset and income rules are not as clearly defined as those for Medicaid. An experienced elder law attorney can assist in structuring assets to qualify a senior for VA pension and balance the need for nursing home Medicaid and VA planning.
By addressing the need for long term care, relatives will be able to enjoy the holidays for years in the future.