Massachusetts Estate Planning & Asset Protection Blog

VA is Proposing a 3 Year Look Back Together with a Penalty of Up To 10 Years

Posted by Dennis Sullivan & Associates on Mon, Feb 23, 2015

VA is Proposing a 3 Year Look Back Together with a Penalty of Up To 10 Years | Massachusetts Elder Law Attorney

 

veterans_benefits_lawyer 

On January 23, 2015, the VA took the initiative in proposing new regulations that would hit wartime veterans and their spouses with a penalty of up to 10 years for making gifts, if they wish to qualify for the VA’s Aid and Attendance program.

As readers of this blog know, the Aid and Attendance program is a non-service connected pension can provide as much as $2,120 per month in tax free income to help pay the cost of long term care.  This program is means tested with an asset limit of about $80,000.  Currently, there is no look back period like Medicaid has, so that transfers for less than fair value to individuals or trusts do not result in a waiting or penalty period for benefits.

Federal legislators have introduced two bills since 2012 seeking to impose a 3 year look back. Neither bill has managed to pass both houses of Congress yet though. The VA however, is sick of waiting and is trying to take matters into its own hands.  They have proposed a penalty of up to 10 years that would result from uncompensated transfers. The penalty itself would be calculated by dividing the amount of the transfer by the claimant’s pension rate. 

Other changes include a net worth standard of $119,220 including annual income. In other words, an applicant would need to have no more than $119,220 in assets and annual income combined in order to qualify.  The higher the applicant’s income, the lower the amount of assets they can keep.

Under the proposal, expenses related to independent living facilities would not count as care costs.  This would mean that veterans with dementia, or other degenerative diseases who can no longer safely live in their own homes but who don’t yet need assistance with the activities of daily living will not be able to include the cost of that facility in an effort to qualify for the VA benefit. Daily living activities are things like such as bathing, dressing, eating, toileting and transferring. Finally, the applicant’s home will remain an exempt asset towards the net worth limitation only if the lot on which it sits is less than 2 acres.

These changes will dramatically reduce the ability of many veterans to qualify for this important benefit.  The new regulations have been submitted for public comment.  To fight these changes, everyone who cares about veterans must respond no later than March 24, 2015.  You can send your comments through http://www.regulations.gov or by mail to Director, Regulation Policy and Management (02REG), Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Ave. NW., Room 1068, Washington, DC 20420 or by fax to (202) 273-9026.  Comments should include that they are in response to “RIN 2900-AO73, Net Worth, Asset Transfers and Income Exclusions for Needs-Based Benefits”.

 

Click here to access our free report on Aid and Attendance Benefits.

At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center, we provide a unique education and counseling process which includes our unique 19 Point Trust, Estate and Asset Protection Review to help people and their families learn how to protect their home, spouse, life-savings, and legacy for their loved ones, click here for more information. We provide clients with a unique approach so they understand where opportunities exist to eliminate problems now as they implement plans for a protected future.

We encourage you to attend one of our free educational workshops, call 800-964-4295 and register to learn more about what you can do to enhance the security of your spouse, home, life savings and legacy.

 

 Click Here to Register For Our Trust, Estate & Asset  Protection Workshop

Tags: long term care, Nursing Homes, veterans benefits, Nursing Home, wartime veteran, Veteran, federal, look-back, VA benefits, penalty, 2015

Aid & Attendance Pension

Posted by Dennis Sullivan & Associates on Mon, Oct 20, 2014

Aid & Attendance Pension | Massachusetts Elder Care Attorney

  

 veterans

 

A Little Known Tool for Our Nation’s Heroes

When fighting for the nation comes to the close, every veteran will be proud to come back home to live in peace with their family. Well, that may sound good for the youth that enlisted, but when entering into the golden years, every veteran and his surviving spouse needs a better home care as the cost of assisted living continues to rise. 

Is there an official care for the nation’s hero? Yes, the Veterans Administration has an vastly underused pension benefit called Aid and Attendance that provides money to those who need assistance performing everyday tasks. Families of Veterans should be assisted with the VA’s benefit programs that are available to those honorably discharged Veterans who are age 65 and older and are struggling to pay for their cost of care. 

Revealing the Secret

Most of the veterans have no idea of this pension program exists. The official title of this benefit is a Pension; the reason for using the Aid and Attendance to refer pension is that many veterans (or their single surviving spouses) can become eligible if they have a steady need for the aid and attendance of a caregiver, or if they are housebound. Evidence for this need for care must be certified by VA as a rating. With their rating in place, certain veterans or their surviving spouses can now qualify for Pension.

 

At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center, we provide a unique education and counseling process which includes our unique 19 Point Trust, Estate and Asset Protection Review to help people and their families learn how to protect their home, spouse, life-savings, and legacy for their loved ones, click here for more information. We provide clients with a unique approach so they understand where opportunities exist to eliminate problems now as they implement plans for a protected future.

We encourage you to attend one of our free educational workshops, call 800-964-4295 and register to learn more about what you can do to enhance the security of your spouse, home, life savings and legacy.

Tags: veterans benefits, wartime veteran, benefit, VA, VA benefit, VA benefits

Three Ways to Pay for Long Term Care part 2

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Fri, Aug 15, 2014

Three Ways to Pay for Long Term Care continued

Long term care insurance, IRA, trust

In our last post we were discussing the difficulties in funding long term care through either insurance or Medicaid.  Most insurance companies seem to be getting out of the long term care market entirely or drastically raising premiums.  Medicaid, the primary government program that covers long term care, is still a fall back for many.  But, there are gaps in terms of what it will and will not cover, and it is increasingly difficult for many to navigate the Medicaid system.

This is especially so given the two objectives most of our clients want to achieve: making sure they have enough money to meet their own needs as well as passing on a legacy to their children and grandchildren.  Without proper planning for long term care, however, the first objective may overwhelm the second, making it unachievable.

That’s where long term care insurance has sometimes helped.  It’s also where our specialty of setting up 5 year planning using trusts, has also helped.  But, sometimes there is no long term care insurance, it’s too late to get it and the legal solution can only go so far.

Self-funding with asset based long term care financial products just might be the answer.  As some insurance companies have left the long term care insurance market, others are now offering alternative ways to fund the care, such as life insurance or annuities.

These products allow your money to grow tax deferred.  It can then be used to pay for long term care and, unlike traditional long term care insurance you don’t have to worry about “using it or losing it”.  A death benefit is paid to your heirs if you don’t use it (or only use some).

The longer you wait until you start drawing out the investment, the more time to build up the account value for use as long term care.  While these investments don’t return the higher rates that can be gained in the market, they also don’t put your principal at risk, meaning you won’t lose any of it if there is another 10 to 30% market correction.  For those who have their money sitting in CDs and cash earning less than 1%, the higher rates are a clear bonus.

Many of these products do not have the same underwriting requirements that exist for long term care insurance.  Whereas a diagnosis of dementia or being age 75 or older would preclude Long Term Care Insurance entirely, these asset based products may still be an option, even as late as age 85.

For our clients with large IRA accounts who want to protect some of that account for loved ones, moving the money to a trust results in a large income tax bill because the account can no longer remain tax deferred.  However, purchasing asset based long term products within the IRA can allow the account to remain tax deferred, increase the income value significantly if long term care is needed, and provide a death benefit for your loved ones if not needed.

 

At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center, we help people and their families learn how to protect their home, spouse, life-savings, and legacy for their loved ones.  We provide clients with a unique educational and counseling approach so they understand where opportunities exist to eliminate problems now as they implement plans for a protected future.

We encourage you to attend one of our free educational workshops, call 800-964-4295 and register to learn more about what you can do to enhance the security of your spouse, home, life savings and legacy.

Click Here to Register For Our Trust, Estate & Asset  Protection Workshop

Tags: Nursing Home Costs, long term care, veterans benefits, VA benefit, VA benefits, Massachusetts, Nursing Home, Veteran, VA, Nursing Home, long term care insurance

VA Rules are Changing: NEW Three Year Look Back! | Massachusetts Elder Law Attorney

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Fri, Nov 08, 2013

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The winds of change are blowing over the VA landscape.  I’ve written about this in the past and the time may soon be here.  These are changes that you need to understand.

 Over the years, many of our clients have been able to qualify for an Improved Pension (sometimes called Aid and Attendance Benefit) to help pay for the cost of long term care, whether that be in an assisted living facility or nursing home or to enable them to stay home longer. This VA benefit has helped many people meet the high cost of care and stretch their dollars.

 In order to be eligible for the VA benefit, as a rule of thumb, claimants had to have assets totaling less than about $80,000 (not counting their home or car). They also had to meet the VA income rules. While giving away assets triggers a five year look-back under the Medicaid rules, under the VA rules there is no look-back period for gifts or asset transfers.

 All of that may be about to change under new VA legislation making its way through the House and Senate.

 While the legislation has not yet been voted on, there are commonalities in the bills which tell us that a change in the law is near. Among the biggest proposed changes are the following:

  • A penalty with a three year look-back for asset transfers under the VA rules.

  • Under the new rules, transferring money into a Vet Trust or into an annuity will also trigger the three year look-back period.

  • What’s more, penalties caused by an asset transfer from a now-deceased spouse will carry over to the surviving spouse.

 As with so many bills that wind through the legislative process, no one can know for sure what the final result will be until the House and Senate have each voted and then reconciled their respective bills and then the President must sign it. Our best guess is that the new legislation will probably make its way to a vote early next year and it appears likely that it will become the law of the land at that time.

 For that reason, people who are eyeing VA eligibility would do well to get their plans in place now before the anticipated law changes. Any new law will be prospective only, meaning opportunities still exist now under the current laws.

At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center, we help people and their families learn how to protect their home, spouse, life-savings, and legacy for their loved ones.  We provide clients with a unique educational and counseling approach so they understand where opportunities exist to eliminate problems now as they implement plans for a protected future.

We encourage you to attend one of our free educational workshops, call 800-964-4295 and register to learn more about what you can do to enhance the security of your spouse, home, life savings and legacy.

Tags: Estate Planning, asset protection, veterans benefits, VA benefits, Veteran, VA, 2013

Mass Health and VA Aid and Attendance 2013 | MA Elder Law Attorney

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Fri, Jan 18, 2013

Every year brings change, sometimes small sometimes big.    Many of the government benefit programs that we work with frequently, such as MassHealth’s Medicaid program and the VA Aid and Attendance program, underwent slight changes as the clock turned to 2013. 

Medicaid and VA Aid and Attendance are needs based programs.  There are certain income and asset limitations.  These numbers typically are tied to the Social Security increases.  When Social Security benefits get a cost of living adjustment so do these other programs.  In 2013 the increase for Social Security is 1.7%.

Accordingly, under MassHealth’s Medicaid porgram, an applicant must spend down countable assets to less than $2000 in order to qualify.  However, in the case of a married couple, the healthy spouse can keep "countable assets" up to a certain dollar limit.  This year that number is $115,920.

VA rates also have increase in 2013.  A single veteran qualifying for Aid and Attendance benefits can now receive a maximum of $1732, an increase of $29 per month.  A married veteran who needs care can qualify for as much as $2053 per month of tax free income and the widowed spouse of a veteran can receive up to $1112.

For more information about  whether MassHealth’s Medicaid program or VA benefits may be available to you or your loved one call (800) 964-4295 (24/7) and register to attend one of our free, educational workshops.

At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center, we help people and their families learn how to protect their home, spouse, life-savings, and legacy for their loved ones.  We provide clients with a unique education and counseling approach so they understand where opportunities exist to eliminate problems now as they implement plans for a protected future.

Again, we encourage you to attend one of our free educational workshops, call 800-964-4295 and register to learn more about what you can do to enhance the security of your spouse, home, life savings and legacy.

elder law, senior, family, estate planning, massachusetts, boston

Click Here to Register For Our Trust, Estate & Asset  Protection Workshop

Tags: asset protection, Medicaid, MassHealth, seniors, veterans benefits, elder care journey, Elder Law, asset, Attorney

Massachusetts Elder Law Attorney | The VA’s Most Often Overlooked Benefit- Aid & Attendance

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Mon, Jan 07, 2013

The number of our nation’s veterans that are eligible for benefits from the Veterans Administration yet do not receive the benefit is staggering. The Aid & Attendance is part of an “improved pension” benefit few are aware of, let alone fully understand.VA, elder law, attorney, benefits

To qualify for Aid and Attendance, the veteran must rely on assistance from another for one or more daily life activities. The benefit is available to help pay for the cost of in-home care, nursing home costs and assisted living facilities. A veteran may qualify for up to $1,731 each month, while a surviving spouse of a veteran may qualify for up to $1,112 per month. A veteran with a spouse can be eligible for up to $2,053 per month.

When a veteran is unable to care for himself, Aid and Attendance is usually sought, but most people, however, overlook the availability of Aid and Attendance for a healthy, independent veteran who has a sick spouse. The care of the sick spouse will often drain the couple’s income and savings, and the VA Aid and Attendance pension is designed to help in exactly this situation.

DON'T LEAVE MONEY ON THE TABLE

If your loved one is a veteran over the age of 65, that needs extra assistance for daily activities, or has a spouse that ill and requires extra care, call our office at (781) 237-2815 to see if he or she qualifies for Aid and Attendance.

For more information go to www.SullivanVeteransReport.com, which contains important information on the “Hidden Benefit” available to veterans and their spouses, and the steps you should be taking right now to find out if your loved one qualifies. For useful information on Alzheimer’s disease including care tips and resources please visit www.BostonMemoryLawyer.com. You will be given access to the Complete Alzheimer’s Resource Kit, sold nation wide for $197, absolutely free.

At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center, we help people and their families learn how to protect their home, spouse, life-savings, and legacy for their loved ones.  We provide clients with a unique educational and counseling approach so they understand where opportunities exist to eliminate problems now as they implement plans for a protected future.

We encourage you to attend one of our free educational workshops. Call 800-964-4295 to learn more about what you can do to enhance the security of your spouse, home, life savings and legacy.

 Click Here to Register For Our Trust, Estate & Asset  Protection Workshop

Tags: veterans benefits, Massachusetts, Elder Law, Attorney, VA, pension, surviving spouse

Massachusetts Elder Law Attorney | Eligibility for the Aid & Attendance Pension

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Thu, Jan 03, 2013

Determining what veterans are eligible for the Veterans Administration Aid & Attendance Pension can be a confusing subject matter. Let’s take a closer look, and take the guesswork out of determining your loved ones eligibility.VA, veterans, benefits, elder law, attorney

  • Veteran must have served 90 days of active duty
  • One day of active duty must have been during a period of war
  • A spouse must be the surviving spouse of a qualifying veteran
  • Veteran or surviving spouse of veteran must need the assistance of another person for one or more daily tasks including eating, dressing, toileting, bathing, etc.
  • Blindness, residing in a nursing home or assisted living facility also qualifies

Assets will be taken into consideration when determining eligibility. The veteran or surviving spouse of a veteran cannot have assets over the accepted limit. The primary home and vehicles do not count in the asset qualifications.

If you need assistance in determining eligibility or planning for your loved ones financial needs, please contact our office at (781) 237-2815.

For more information go to www.SullivanVeteransReport.com, which contains important information on the “Hidden Benefit” available to veterans and their spouses, and the steps you should be taking right now to find out if your loved one qualifies. For useful information on Alzheimer’s disease including care tips and resources please visit www.BostonMemoryLawyer.com. You will be given access to the Complete Alzheimer’s Resource Kit, sold nation wide for $197, absolutely free.

At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center, we help people and their families learn how to protect their home, spouse, life-savings, and legacy for their loved ones.  We provide clients with a unique educational and counseling approach so they understand where opportunities exist to eliminate problems now as they implement plans for a protected future.

We encourage you to attend one of our free educational workshops. Call 800-964-4295 and register to learn more about what you can do to enhance the security of your spouse, home, life savings and legacy.

Click Here to Register For Our Trust, Estate & Asset  Protection Workshop

Tags: veterans benefits, Massachusetts, Elder Law, Attorney, VA, pension, surviving spouse

Massachusetts Veteran Benefit Lawyer | Secret Dollars Veteran's Benefits From New Guide

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Fri, Nov 23, 2012

Here is a chapter preview: How to Use “Secret Dollars” to Pay for Long Term Care-Veteran’s Benefit for Long-Term Care Revealed,from our upcoming book entitled the “Senior and Boomers Guide to Health Care Reform & Avoiding Nursing Home Poverty”. Learn about valuable benefits that you may be entitled to. The chapter provides information on Veteran Administration benefits,  how to apply and who qualifies. There are currently thousands of veterans who are missing out on th is valuable benefit that may help pay for in home, long term care or assisted living costs.Veterans Benefits, VA, Veterans, Assests

How to Use “Secret Dollars” to Pay for Long Term Care

Veteran’s Benefit for Long-Term Care Revealed

Thousands of Massachusetts veterans may not be receiving the VA aid and attendance benefits they are entitled to.  One of the VA’s best-kept secrets, which is an excellent potential source of funds for long-term care are veteran’s benefits for a non-service connected disability.  Most VA benefits and pensions are based on a disability that was incurred during a veteran’s wartime service.  This particular benefit is available for individuals who are disabled due to the issues of old age, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, and other physical disabilities and have the additional requirement of needing the aid and attendance of another person in order to avoid the hazards of his or her daily environment.  What that means in English is the veteran needs someone to help him or her prepare meals, bathe, dress and otherwise take care of him or herself.  These benefits can be a blessing for the eligible disabled individual who is not yet ready for a nursing home. 

Under this program, a veteran not married to another veteran can receive a maximum of $2,019 per month in benefits and a widow can receive up to $1,094 per month

In order to qualify for these “Secret Dollars”, the applicant must be “permanently and totally disabled” based on VA standards.  The applicant does not need to be helpless – he/she need only show that he/she is in need of aid and attendance on a regular basis.  Someone who is housebound or in an assisted living facility and over the age of 65 is presumed by the Veterans Administration to be in need of aid and attendance.  We were shocked to learn that thousands of Massachusetts veterans in need may be missing out on this valuable benefit which they have a legal right to receive. 

Filing a Claim for Veteran’s Benefits

To file a claim for this benefit, it is wise to seek the involvement of a trained veteran’s service officer.  A Veteran’s Service Officer is critical to the filing of an application with the local VA regional office.  It is also important to seek the guidance of an experienced elder law attorney who is familiar with estate planning, disability, Medicaid and veterans’ benefits. 

Do You Qualify for “Secret Dollars”?

This particular program does have substantial limitations related to the income and assets that are held by the applicant.  However, the countable income for veterans’ benefits is determined by taking an individual’s gross income and subtracting from that all of their unreimbursed medical expenses to determine their Income for Veteran Administration Purposes (IVAP) that is ultimately used to determine whether or not a person qualifies. 

Some of the cost of an assisted living facility, and even some of the cost of an independent living facility may also be an allowable medical deduction to reduce a veteran’s gross income to a much lower net countable income that may qualify him or her for veterans’ benefits. It is very important to meet with a knowledgeable veteran’s service officer or an experienced elder law attorney for a pre-filing consultation to determine whether or not a veteran may qualify. It is also important to review the estate planning work to see what may be done to assist the veteran in qualifying for this particular benefit. There may be planning steps that can be implemented before applying that will help a veteran or widow to qualify and or obtain an increased benefit.

Determining what is the countable income as measured by the Veterans Administration is very confusing to many individuals in. An attorney skilled in elder law can provide a veteran and the veteran’s family with appropriate pre-filing consultations to determine the appropriate steps that must be taken to be able to determine if it would be right to apply for this VA benefit.  Please contact our firm, The Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center of Dennis Sullivan & Associates, for a more information or for asset protection analysis.  You can call us at (781) 237-2815.  The professionals at the firm are experienced helping counsel people and their families in the area of elder law services for senior citizens, including estate planning, disability, Medicaid planning, and veterans’ benefits related to long-term care needs.

For more information, you can gain free online access to the “Senior and Boomers Guide to Health Care Reform & Avoiding Nursing Home Poverty” which contains secret benefits on health care reform and avoiding nursing home poverty. To Learn even more register to attend one of our free educational workshops hosted by a team of professionals and VA accreditted attorneys.

  VA benefits, assets, VA, veterans benefits

Tags: veterans benefits, VA benefits, assets, VA

Massachusetts Elder Care Attorney | In Home, Assisted Living, or Skilled Care? What Should You Consider?

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Fri, Oct 05, 2012

How Should You Spend Your Money?
The Delicat
e Balance of Care Options: 

In Home, Assisted Living, or Skilled Care?  What Should You Consider?

 

Seniors all around the country are concerned about their future,especially finances and health care.  The stock market,  investments and retirement accounts have fallen in recent years, but medical and nursing home costs continue to rise. Americans today are living longer than ever before. On average, those who reach age 65 can expect to live well into their eighties. In fact, the average life expectancy in the United States recently reached an all-time high of 78.7 years and the Census Bureau estimates that in the near future the average life expectancy will be into the low 90’s. This blog discusses in home, assisted living, and skilled care to help you decide which care option is best.

 

Click Here to Download the Senior & Boomers Guide to Health Care Reform & Avoiding  Nursing Home Poverty

 

When you or a loved one become unable to completely take care of yourself, the question, "What care option is best?" becomes important to answer. While it is important to consider one's personal  needs and desires, it is equally important to consider what the future may hold in terms of changes in the type of care needed. With care being so expensive today, you may want to look into applying for VA benefits or Medicaid or some newly available community resources to help pay for your care.  There are a number of options available so it is might be time for some careful consideration and planning for the care that may be needed at some point during your lifetime. Perhaps NOW would be a good time to consider that you may need to take personal responsibilty for some costs that may be facing you and your family at some point during your lifetimes.  The following is meant to help you understand in more detail what needs to be considered as you evaluate your options.assisted living, medicaid, in home care

 

In Home Care

One option people tend to start with is an in-home caregiver. You can obtain an in-home caregiver either independently, or through an agency. If you have a non-agency caregiver for which there is no record of payment, as many people do because it can be more cost effective, it is vital that you enter into a written caregiver contract with that caregiver. This will allow you to prove to VA, and eventually Medicaid, if needed in the future, that this caregiver was paid at fair market value and at a certain amount per hour. You must also obtain the necessary medical opinions indicating that the caregiver is a necessity, and then document the caregiver expenditures. Once there is a physician's opinion, a contract in place and documentation of the caregiver expenditures, a VA application or Medicaid application.  You will be better positioned to submit. 


VA Benefits May Help

It is important to know that, in order to qualify for VA Aid & Attendance benefits, your unreimbursed medical expenses must exceed your income. For example, if you have a monthly Social Security income of $1,800, and pursuant to the caregiver contract, you are privately paying a private caregiver at the rate of $15 per hour for 40 hours a week, the result is a monthly expenditure of $2,400 per month. This would more than offset your $1,800 per month Social Security income, thereby potentially enabling you to qualify for maximum VA benefits of about $1,700 per month.  It is important to note that a Bill has been proposed that would add a 3-year lookback period, making it more difficult to qualify.  The window of opportunity is closing and it is critical that you act now if you think you qualify.

 

How Long is Too Long to Spend Monies on In Home Care?

Let's say you have an in-home caregiver and have been paying them for a while. The question now becomes "How do I plan for the day that I run out of cash, and require either assisted living or nursing home care?" The problem with in-home caregivers is that you can expend all of your monies with them. When you run out of assets with a caregiver at home, you will not have built any goodwill with a Medicaid facility, which you are now asking to care for you for the rest of your life. It is important for you and your family to understand that at this point, while you may want to stay at home, if all of your funds are depleted from paying for an in-home caregiver and your health is declining, then you will subsequently have no money to offer as "key" money to a facility, either assisted living or skilled care, when and if you need to move from home to a higher level of care.

 

Can You Stay Too Long in an Assisted Living Facility?

Going to an assisted living facility may not be the answer either, though. The result can be the same in an assisted living facility as it is with the private caregiver. Once you run out of money at an assisted living facility, they will ask you to leave. All the goodwill you built with the assisted living facility becomes worthless when you then enter a skilled care facility, to which you now have no money to offer, and with which you have the eventual hope of Medicaid eligibility.

 

A Balanced Approach

A better approach would be to balance the situation by staying at home with a caregiver, or staying in an assisted living facility, as long as possible, but not spend down to the point where you do not have at least enough assets to cover one year of private pay at a Medicaid skilled care facility in order to make yourself an attractive candidate for the facility of your choice.

 

Thus, while the extra $1,700 per month from the VA may help keep you at home longer, don't stay at home or in an assisted living facility too long, putting yourself in the position to not have available monies to make you an attractive candidate for a skilled care facility. Keep in mind that a skilled care facility may eventually take Medicaid, and you may need such a higher level of care in the future, which can be very expensive.  This will require some initial "key" money payment to the skilled care facility. This is a very delicate balance that you can only achieve with your eyes wide open and with sensitivity to your wishes, while also being circumspect about protecting yourself now, as well as in the future.

 

At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center of Dennis Sullivan & Associates, we help people and their familes with our unique conseling & educational process.  Our process starts with a health assessment designed to help people better understand their options as well the time frame in which they'll likely need help, whether at home or in an assited living facility.  Our team of professionals then evaluates the families options based on their health needs and financial circumstances and help determine which significant resources may be available. In some cases we can even help people qualify more more resources than they thought would be available and are able to help people qualify for resources much sooner than they would otherwise have been able. 

 

For more information on how our team of professionals can help you, call (781) 237-2815 today.  We also invite you to attend one of our free educational Trust, Estate, & Asset Protection Workshops.  Seating is limited and registration is required.  To register Click Here or call (800) 964-4295 (24/7).

Click Here to Register For Our Trust, Estate & Asset  Protection Workshop

Tags: Estate Planning, Medicaid, Nursing Homes, elder care, assisted living, veterans benefits, VA benefit, Massachusetts, caregiver, in home, skillled care

Massachusetts Elder Law Attorney | Why Planning Now Could Save Your Bacon Later

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Wed, Sep 12, 2012

In earlier blogs, I've told you about giving away assets, and why that can be a pretty risky move. "Sure," you might say, "it's only dangerous for people who need to qualify for Medicaid in the next 5 years. That won't be my dad; he's doing just fine at home." And you may be right - for now.veterans benefits, VA benefit

Most housebound and assisted living veterans do not realize that their health care needs and expenses are NOT going to stay the same very long. Unfortunately, the aged and frail veteran has begun an end-of-life journey that is reasonably foreseeable.

A housebound or assisted living facility resident has perhaps a 90% probability of needing to go on to skilled nursing home care within two to three years. The cost of skilled nursing home care can run from $5,000 to $10,000 per month. The veteran could be in the nursing home for several years prior to death. It is highly likely that the veteran's family will need to apply for Medicaid benefits to pay the nursing home costs.

Medicaid now has a penalty period of ineligibility if a senior has given away any assets within five years of applying for Medicaid assistance. This means that if you were to ignore our advice and transfer assets to qualify for Aid and Attendance, you could become ineligible for Medicaid.

As you can now see, most of VA claimants, if they live long enough, will need Medicaid in less than five years.

Beware: Any time a veteran gives away assets to qualify for VA benefits, the veteran is setting a Medicaid penalty Time Bomb! A VA-accredited elder law attorney who has substantial experience with the Medicaid eligibility rules for our area can tell you if you're putting yourself in harm's way. If you know you need to do some planning for eligibility reasons but aren't sure what to do, call my office at (781) 237-2815 - we can offer you direction.

A VA-accredited elder law attorney is a trustworthy guide for the client and his or her family for all of the significant issues that may arise as the senior travels this path. It our job to counsel you so that you may be never out of money and out of options as you take the elder care journey.

We are available to assist you and your family to avoid the land mines that lay along the elder care pathway. Our goal is to provide my clients who face long-term disability care with:

- The financial benefits;

- The quality health care options;

- Peace of mind; and

- Preservation of personal dignity.

If you are a senior facing long term care, or someone who loves a senior dealing with long term care issues, then contact us today at (781) 237-2815 for a free no-obligation discussion of your heartfelt concerns and care-giving burdens.

For more information go to www.SullivanVeteransReport.com, which contains important information on the “Hidden Benefit” available to veterans and their spouses, and the steps you should be taking right now to find out if your loved one qualifies.

At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center, we help people and their families learn how to protect their home, spouse, life-savings, and legacy for their loved ones.  We provide clients with a unique educational and counseling approach so they understand where opportunities exist to eliminate problems now as they implement plans for a protected future.

We encourage you to attend one of our free educational workshops. Call 800-964-4295 and register to learn more about what you can do to enhance the security of your spouse, home, life savings and legacy.

Click Here to Register For Our Trust, Estate & Asset  Protection Workshop

Tags: Estate Planning, Elder Law, Medicaid, veterans benefits, elder care journey, VA benefit, Massachusetts

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