When you are planning ahead for your senior years, you should anticipate some significant expenses that are lurking over the horizon. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, 52 percent of seniors will need some type of paid long-term care.
Over one third of them will reside in nursing homes, and some folks can receive the care they need in their homes. In Connecticut, the median annual charge for a stay in a private room in a nursing home was $167,900 last year, and the median cost was $57,200 for in-home care.
Just over half of the people that receive paid care require the assistance for more than one year, and 13 percent need professional help for more than five years. Clearly, if you receive long-term care for a significant length of time, the expenses can be devastating.
Medicare exists to address the health care needs of senior citizens, so you may assume that it would cover living assistance. In fact, this program does not pay for custodial care, so you have to look elsewhere for financial support.
If you are a wartime veteran, you may qualify for a very valuable benefit that will help defray long-term care costs.
Veterans Aid and Attendance Pension
There is a military retirement pension (“retired pay”) that service members can receive after 20 years of service, but many people are not aware another special pension. The Veterans Aid and Attendance Pension is available to some veterans that need help with their day-to-day needs.
If you joined the service prior to September 7, 1980, the length of service requirement is just 90 days with at least one of the days beginning or ending when the country was at war. For others, a stint of 24 months or longer is required unless the duration of the tour was less than 24 months.
This benefit is intended for people that have financial need, so every wartime veteran does not qualify. In October of 2018, a hard net worth limit was put in place via legislative mandate. Prior to the measure’s enactment, determinations were made on a case-by-case basis.
At the present time in 2021, the net worth limit is $130,773. It encompasses the assets coupled with the applicant’s income, but your place of residence and one motor vehicle are not considered to be countable assets.
Another change that was part of this legislation established a look back period. You are deemed ineligible if you transfer assets out of your name within three years of your application submission date.
The period of ineligibility is based on the amount of the divestitures. An applicant is ineligible for one month for every $2295 in transfers.
2021 VA Aid and Attendance Pension Rates
A single veteran that qualifies for the Aid and Attendance Pension can receive a maximum benefit of $23,238 this year. For a veteran with a spouse or another dependent or dependents, the max benefit is $27,549.
When two veterans that are married to one another qualify for the pension, the annual benefit would be $36,861.
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If you already know that it is time for you to work with a Westport, Connecticut estate planning lawyer to put a plan in place, we are here to help. You can send us a message to set up a consultation appointment, and we can be reached by phone at 860-548-1000.
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