The veterans benefits attorneys here at our firm can help you understand how to cope with long-term care costs if you are a former military service member. There are various different ways to proceed, and the ideal approach will depend upon the circumstances.
This is why personalized attention is so very important, and this is exactly what you receive when you engage our firm to provide you with assistance.
Many people are not aware of the existence of a certain type of pension that can be very useful for veterans who need help with their day-to-day needs. The benefit that we are referring to is the Supplemental Income for Wartime Veterans special pension.
Most people, and all veterans, know that there is a military retirement pension that former service members qualify for after 20 years of active duty. This special pension is something that is entirely different.
Unlike the retirement pension, you do not have to spend a significant portion of your career in the military to gain eligibility. To qualify for this veterans pension, you need a minimum of 90 days on active duty with at least one of these days being during a time of war. There is also a discharge status requirement. Dishonorably discharged veterans are not eligible for this benefit.
In order to qualify, you have to provide medical proof that you need help with our day-to-day needs, or you have to be at least 65 years old.
The benefit is only available to people with a certain level of financial need. Your home and your motor vehicle are not considered to be countable assets, but when you submit your application, the analysts will look at all of your other resources to determine whether or not you need the extra financial assistance. There is a hard limit on countable assets in 2020 that stands at $128,640.
You used to be able to give assets to loved ones in an effort to stay under the limit, but there is now a three-year look back provision. If you give away assets within three years of the submission of your application, your eligibility will be denied, and a penalty will be imposed.
Don’t Be Overconfident
Whether you are a veteran or not, you should definitely brace yourself for potential future long-term care costs. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, seven out of every 10 people who are attaining senior citizen status will someday need living assistance.
If you are thinking that Medicare will pick up the tab, we have some bad news to deliver. The Medicare program will pay for convalescent care after an injury or illness, but it will not pay for custodial care. This is the type of care that you would receive if you were permanently unable to take care of all of your own daily living activities.
There are strategies that can be implemented to address these costs. If you are a veteran, the special retirement pension can be part of the plan. For others, and for some veterans, Medicaid will be the solution. This jointly administered federal/state government health insurance program does pay for long-term care.
Since it is only available to people with limited resources, there is a look-back for Medicaid as well, and it is longer than the veterans pension period. You have to divest yourself of assets at least five years before you apply to gain eligibility. Because of this five-year look back period, it takes careful advance planning to gain eligibility at the right time without losing anything in the process.
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