Long Term Care Benefits
Funding sources for long-term care include private pay, long-term care insurance, government benefits, such as Social Security, Medicaid and Veterans benefits. The programs available to help pay for long term care will vary depending on the type of residential setting that is needed. Different rules apply depending on the type of residential setting that is suitable for that person’s needs and wants.
LONG TERM CARE INSURANCE – the team at the Center will work with you to procure a suitable and affordable long term care insurance policy or will evaluate the policy you already have. We frequently find that people do not know or do not remember what the terms of their insurance policies are. We will sit down with you to review your policies. We will discuss how long term care insurance works and exactly what your benefits are. It is important to review all policies of insurance, including life insurance, annuities, etc to gain a comprehensive understanding of what you bought and why.
Our team can help you understand the ability to leverage assets you already own to be used for long term care benefits, in the home, in independent living, in assisted living, and in skilled nursing homes. Did you know that if never used, the premium paid into a longterm care plan can become a death benefit, just as it would have been if you didn’t leverage? This is a powerful tool. Under the Pension Protection Act of 2010, the government enacted legislation incentivizing citizens to use their own money to do a tax-free transfer into a long term care vehicle, and for which they would get an amplifier. For example, a multiple of the premium paid to be used for long term care or death benefit.
VETERANS BENEFITS (IMPROVED PENSION AND DISABILITY COMPENSATION)
Every day our Armed Forces demonstrate their ongoing commitment to protecting and preserving our freedom from tyranny, terror and those who want to bring us down. We demonstrate our ongoing commitment to these brave men and women by protecting and preserving what they’ve earned because of their valor, whether that is:
Disability Compensation for those Veterans who sustained injury during service or for those whose injuries were exacerbated during service
Base/ Improved Pension. This includes the supplemental benefits of Housebound Benefit Pension and Aid and Attendance for those veterans who have served on active duty for at least 90 days with at least one of those days during a period designated as wartime.
The Department of Veterans’ Affairs has strict rules governing who can provide assistance to veterans and their families. I am accredited* by the VA to prepare, present and prosecute claims for veterans before the VA.
*Accreditation is the authority granted by the Department of Veterans Affairs to those attorneys who meet the standards established by the VA to ensure that claimants for VA benefits receive “qualified assistance in preparing and presenting their claims.”
PUBLIC BENEFITS PLANNING: MEDICAID
The income and asset requirements for Medicaid eligibility are complex but navigable. Don’t listen to those that tell you that you won’t qualify for Medicaid because you have too many assets or too much income and that you have to spend all your money down to $2000.00 to qualify. I’ve seen families burn through hundreds of thousands of dollars–their entire life savings – paying for a long term care facility when they didn’t have to. If you or your spouse or loved one is currently in a long-term care facility or will soon enter one, come and talk to us before you make any transfers, gifts or expenditures of money in order to qualify. We will save your precious assets, and your home, from the Nursing Home.
Traditional Medicaid is available to pay for a nursing home level of care if the recipient exhibits a skilled level of care need. North Carolina may pay for an assisted living facility or for in-home care but under what is called a Medicaid Waiver program, Special Assistance, in North Carolina but with stringent income requirements and so there still persists an institutional bias in North Carolina that warrants a renewed focus on the part of the legislature and the public.
Pre-Planning versus Crisis Planning is the difference between vertical and horizontal planning. With Vertical planning, you are in control, all planning is done according to your preferences and from your perspective, while you are alive and well. With Horizontal planning, it is exactly the opposite. All decisions you make are in a time of crisis and confusion, from a hospital, rehab facility or a bed at home, staring at the ceiling and with fewer choices and with constrained timeframes. In the area of public benefits, there are definite benefits to pre-planning, Vertical Planning, before crisis strikes. Because the Medicaid rules assign penalties for asset transfers made within the five year period prior to application, earlier planning can help you avoid these penalties. Remember, however, it is never too late to do something to help ease the strain of long-term care costs, especially during a crisis. There is always something that can be done to safeguard money, assets and certainly, your sanity.
Elder Law & Life Planning Center works with you to understand, define, and customize your social security benefits, working with governmental and other professional resources and referrals, as needed, to help you receive the benefits you’ve earned and deserve from this program and to implement spousal strategies the SSA won’t tell you about.