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"How to get Medi-Cal coverage for your nursing home care... without selling your home or leaving your family without a dime... Surprising ways to pay for your assisted living and long term care costs."

Elder Law Today Newsletter | Vol. 25 | March, 2008


A VA Benefit for Long Term Care Pt. 1 - And to be 85 Again

Are you a veteran? The Veterans Administration can be an excellent potential source of funds for long-term care (either at home or in an assisted living facility). Veteran’s benefits are available for a non-service connected disability. Most VA benefits and pensions are based on a disability which was incurred during a veteran’s wartime service. There is another benefit, however. It is a pension program called “Aid and Attendance,” available for individuals who are disabled due to the issues of old age, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, and other physical disabilities.

For those veterans and widows (ers) who are eligible, these benefits can be a blessing for the disabled individual who is not yet ready for a nursing home.

Under this program, a veteran can receive a maximum of $1,801.00 per month in benefits and a widow or widower can receive up to $976.00 as a maximum benefit for aid and attendance for the year 2007. The applicant must be “permanently and totally disabled” under the VA rules.

The vet does not need to be helpless under the rules. He only needs to show that he is in need of aid and attendance on a regular basis. Someone who is housebound or in an assisted living facility and over the age of 65 is presumed by the Veterans Administration to be in need of Aid and Attendance.

Eligibility for the program is based on the income and assets of the veteran. In determining income, deductions are allowed for unreimbursed medical expenses (UMEs). In home care workers are an allowable deduction, provided that some medical or nursing services are provided. Also, the cost of an assisted living facility can be an allowable medical deduction against gross income.

To file a claim for this benefit, it is wise to seek the involvement of a trained veteran’s service officer. An elder law attorney can help you with pre-planning information for this benefit as part of the overall elder care plan.

We will provide additional information about this benefit in future Elder Law Today newsletters, and on our website.

A funny story: The stories in the ELT newsletters are printed with permission of the clients, and sometimes poetic license is used in the stories. I am a member of Kiwanis, and I recently attended a district meeting. Various Kiwanians reported on the status of their clubs. One of the members stood up for his report, but announced first that next month he would be 85 years old. Another Kiwanian spoke up immediately and said, “Ah, but to be 85 again!” I am wondering now if 85 is the new 65!

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