When we plan for the VA Aid and Attendance Pension benefit, we plan for Medi-Cal at the same time. Medi-Cal and the VA benefit are both asset and income based programs. Medi-Cal pays for the costs of skilled nursing facilities, minus the share of cost paid by the recipient. The VA benefit can help pay for the costs of assisted living facilities, board and care facilities, and in home care costs. Under both programs, if the applicant is “over assets”, they can spend down, gift some of their assets away, or use other legitimate asset protection techniques to obtain qualification.
The VA Aid and Attendance Pension Benefit program does not have a “look back” penalty period. The applicant could give away $50,000 for instance, today, and theoretically be eligible for the VA benefit tomorrow. If the same applicant then went to apply for Medi-Cal, after having gifted the $50,000, there would be an eight month penalty period. Divide $50,000 by $5,698 (penalty divisor) and you have 8.775 or, rounded down, eight months of ineligibility. As a result, the applicant would not be eligible for Medi-Cal for eight months.
There are legitimate gifting and planning techniques which your elder law attorney can show you to create fewer months of ineligibiity for Medi-Cal. Remember that Medi-Cal pays for skilled nursing, which is much more expensive than assisted living facilities. Planning for Medi-Cal and the VA Aid and Attendance Pension benefit at the same time, is good planning. Your Medi-Cal, elder law attorney can help you with this.
Written Michael J. Young, elder law and asset protection attorney in Walnut Creek, CA. www.WalnutCreekElderLaw.com mike@WalnutCreekElderLaw.com. 1931 San Miguel Dr., Suite 220, Walnut Creek, CA 94596. 925-256-0298. Mr. Young serves Contra Costa County and Alameda County, including the cities of Walnut Creek, Alamo, Danville, Concord, Brentwood, Pleasant Hill, Antioch, Clayton, etc. Medi-Cal Attorney Contra Costa.