Is Medicaid the Answer to Rising Costs?

McNair Dallas Law

older couple needing Medicaid or VA Pension

Planning for long-term care can be an intimidating process, especially when it comes to decoding the specifics of resources, like Medicaid and Veterans Pensions. Working with the help of an experienced elder law planning attorney allows people to prepare for the future and save time, money and stress.

The rising costs of long term care can exhaust even healthy retirement savings.  Most people can’t continue to pay monthly charges of $6,000 to $10,000 indefinately.  Many come to rely on VA Pension or Nursing Home Medicaid as their savings are depleated, but they often don’t realize that advanced planning can help speed the approval process.  For seniors who are looking at Medicaid and VA Pensions, there are a few key things to consider, says WRAL.com’s recent article entitled “The top 5 things to know about Medicaid and VA pension.”

  1. Background and criteria for qualification. An initial question that arises with Medicaid and VA Pension is how to know whether you are eligible. Both are needs-based programs and examine your net worth and your monthly income.  For the VA Pension, they look at your income and assets in relation to the rising costs of your care. You also must have a need for medical or personal care before you qualify for these benefits.
  2. Medicaid and your assets. A frequent concern for those looking at Medicaid, is what will happen to their home. Proactive planning can save the house, and Medicaid won’t sell the house out from underneath your spouse. After the death of the Medicaid recipient, the state will attempt to recoup the cost of what it is spent on their care. In effect, Medicaid becomes a creditor of their estate after their death. The state can potentially foreclose on the house. That is where people hear stories about Medicaid taking the house. However, with planning and the help of a Medicaid planning attorney, a senior can implement some simple tools to avoid this.
  3. Misconceptions about Medicaid and VA Pension. A big misconception about these programs is that after you’ve applied once and been denied, you can’t try to qualify again.  As the rising costs of care continue to soar, or other life circumstances change, you may meet the requirements. Work with a Certified Elder Law Attorney to see exactly when you meet the eligibility requirements, so you don’t miss out on funds that might be needed.
  4. Factors that affect qualification. Some people planning on receiving Medicaid or VA Pension may inadvertently disqualify themselves or extend their waiting period by making financial gifts or asset transfers. Medicaid has a five-year lookback period, and VA Pension has a three-year lookback period, so they will kow if you gave anything away for less than fair market value. A house is a non-countable resource for both programs, if you have the intent to return home. However, if you transfer it to your children, it could cause a penalty which presents many complications upon qualifying for benefits. If you sell the house the cash you receive is a countable resource and can be and turn it into cash in your name, the home can be taken. It’s a non-countable resource and turn it into cash, which is a countable resource. This must be appropriately spent down before qualifying.
  5. Getting started. For information on Medicaid and VA pension eligibility, government websites have more information. But understanding these eligibility requirements can be difficult — and an experienced elder law attorney can make certain that you’re taking full advantage of these programs, and that you are approved the first time you apply.  Start today, before the rising costs of long term care get any higher.

Contact our office today.  We can help.

Reference: WRAL.com (July 1, 2021) “The top 5 things to know about Medicaid and VA pension”

 

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