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Modern Estate Planning Blog

Elder Law & Special Needs Planning

Talk to Your Elder Care Lawyer in Fair Oaks about the VA, Assisted Living, and Nursing Home Costs

January 30, 2014

One of the biggest concerns for clients of elder lawyers in Fair Oaks is how to pay for long-term care if and when it becomes needed. This question doesn’t go away simply because the client is a veteran of the armed forces, but it does have some different possible answers. Those who are eligible for VA benefits may find that they have some assistance when it comes to assisted living and in-home costs.

One of the first things to keep in mind, as always, is that you may need to enroll for VA benefits. If you have not done so already, it’s a good idea to start the process, as it can take quite a while for approval and for benefits to begin. Typically, benefits can take up to a year to come through, and even though they will be paid from when the application was submitted, that doesn’t necessarily help during the waiting period.

There are some groups who are pretty much guaranteed benefits for nursing home care, for example, veterans rated 70 percent service-connected or greater and veterans with a 60-percent service-connected disability rating who are unemployable (or have a “permanent and totally disabled” rating). If a disability is service-connected, and it’s clinically determined the nursing home care is required, that care will likely be covered. Also, those who need nursing home care for non service-connected disabilities may be eligible if they meet certain income and asset criteria.

Aid and Attendance

If you are not eligible for the above, your elder lawyer may still also be able to work with you to get VA assistance through the Improved Pension benefit, which is also referred to as “Aid and Attendance.” This is for wartime veterans who meet specific requirements, such as:

  • Serving at least 90 days of active duty (or the spouse of one)
  • At least one day of active duty in:
  • WWI (Dec. 7, 1941-July 25, 1947)
  • Korea (June 27, 1950-January 31, 1955)
  • Vietnam (August 5, 1964-may 7, 1975)
  • Gulf War (August 2, 1990-a date not yet determined)
  • Discharged other than dishonorably
  • Income of less than $1,759 per month ($2,085 if married) after certain expenses

Care Costs

Care costs, whether at home, in a nursing home or assisted living community aren’t likely to decline any time soon, and they end up taking a considerable amount of a senior’s income. Elder lawyers in Fair Oaks are happy to help veterans work with the VA to uncover whatever benefits they might have coming to them due to their service in the armed forces. The process for applying can seem a little overwhelming sometimes, so if you are uncertain, don’t hesitate to ask an attorney to help you.

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