This year has seen an increasing number of individuals who have contacted Beck & Lenox Estate Planning & Elder Law, LLC, to learn more about Medicaid and VA pensions. Some of these calls are as a result of a parent who has been living at home with family because of COVID, and it has become evident to the family that a higher level of care is now needed. For seniors and their families who are looking at these government programs, there are a few key things to consider, says WRAL.com’s recent article entitled “The top 5 things to know about Medicaid and VA pension.”
- Background and criteria for qualification. An initial question that arises with Medicaid and VA Pension is how to know whether you are eligible. Both are needs-based programs and examine your net worth and your income. You also must satisfy certain thresholds, before you qualify for these benefits.
- Medicaid and your assets. A frequent concern for those looking at Medicaid, is what will happen to their assets after they no longer need this assistance. Being proactive can help avoid or decrease any asset seizures. Proactive planning can save the house, and Medicaid won’t sell the house out from underneath your spouse. After the death of the person getting Medicaid, the state will attempt to recoup the cost of what it is spent on the individual. In effect, Medicaid becomes a creditor of their estate after their death. The state can potentially foreclose on the house. That is where people hear stories about Medicaid taking the house. However, with planning and the help of a Medicaid planning attorney, a senior can implement some simple tools to avoid this.
- Misconceptions about Medicaid and VA Pension. A big misconception about these programs is that after you’ve applied once and been denied, you can’t try to qualify again. However, if your life circumstances change, you may meet requirements. Work with an elder law attorney to see exactly when you meet the eligibility requirements, so you don’t miss out on funds that might be needed.
- Factors that affect qualification. For some planning on receiving Medicaid or VA Pensions, they may inadvertently disqualify themselves or extend their waiting period. A senior will frequently give the house to the children, and then a few years later, they need Medicaid. Medicaid has the lookback period, so they look at the past five or three years, depending on the type of Medicaid, to see if you gave anything away for less than fair market value. A house is a non-countable resource for Medicaid, if you have the intent to return home. However, if you transfer it to your children, it could cause a penalty which presents many complications upon qualifying for benefits. If you sell the house and turn it into cash in your name, the home can be taken. It’s a non-countable resource and turned it into cash, which is a countable resource. This must be spent down before qualifying.
- Getting started. For information on Medicaid and VA pension eligibility, government websites have more information. But understanding these eligibility requirements can be difficult — and an experienced elder law attorney can make certain that you’re taking full advantage to what you’re entitled.
Beck & Lenox attorneys have successfully helped over 3,000 clients with Medicaid planning and over 2,200 clients to apply for VA benefits. Learn more about Medicaid and VA pensions by clicking on these links: https://beckelderlaw.com/elder-law/medicaid/ and https://beckelderlaw.com/elder-law/veterans-benefits/ .
Reference: WRAL.com (July 1, 2021) “The top 5 things to know about Medicaid and VA pension”