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Making Sense of Elder Care Benefits

2018 Veterans and Surviving Spouse Pension Rates

Effective January 1st 2018 Veterans and survivors will see a 2.0% cost-of-living adjustment to their benefits. Below is a table of the new Veterans Pension amounts. If you’re a wartime veteran (or surviving spouse) with limited income you could be eligible for one of these non-service connected pensions. The Three Levels Of VA Pension: • Basic Pension – for claimants over the age of 65 with very low income • Aid & Attendance – for claimants over the age of 65 that require assistance with their activities of daily living • Housebound – for claimant’s that don’t fully qualify for the Aid and Attendance benefit, i.e. they are legally blind. The Aid & Attendance and Housebound pensions provide an additional monthly benefit above the Basic pension amounts listed. These are needs based pensions and in order to qualify one’s countable income must be lower than the benefit amount in this table. However, the VA allows the Claimant to deduct eligible medical and care expenses. To see if you or loved-one can qualify book a free initial consultation with a benefits advisor... read more

Long Term Care Benefits for Widows of Veterans

When considering long-term care options the widow of a wartime veteran may be eligible for the VA survivor’s pension, a monetary benefit available to low-income dependents of a deceased veteran. The following criteria must be met in order to be eligible for the basic pension: You were married to a veteran who served during a wartime era You lived with the veteran continuously until the Veteran passed away You did not remarry after the veteran died You have very low income and assets Aid & Attendance for a Surviving Spouse If you are the surviving spouse of a veteran and need assistance from another person to help you with your daily activities then the VA will grant an additional allowance to help cover the costs of home care or an assisted living facility. This is commonly referred to as the VA death pension with Aid & Attendance. This needs-based benefit requires that the applicant meet 3 areas of eligibility. The applicant’s annual “countable” income must be less than the limit set by VA legislation. The applicant must have low assets and net worth. The applicant must be receiving regular aid and assistance from another person. “Countable” Income Income and asset eligibility is often a complex issue for several reasons, and while the income cap for this benefit may seem far too low for the average retired senior, high costs of assisted living or home care can reduce the applicant’s “countable” income. When applying for this pension it’s important to deduct all eligible medical expenses such as health insurance, Medicare part B, or the cost of an assisted living facility... read more

Retroactive Senior Veterans Pension Offers Hidden Financial Aid

Are You Eligible For Additional Retroactive Veterans Pension? The Veterans Aid and Attendance pension helps aging veterans and surviving spouse’s afford the type of long-term care they require, but you or your loved-one may be missing out on an additional monetary award of up to one year’s pension back pay.   Improved Pension prior to the original award effective date Those who have been awarded the VA improved pension are generally eligible for retroactive benefits going back to an “earlier” effective date. For example, if a veteran or surviving spouse received a pension approval letter with an effective date of October 1, 2016 they would begin receiving their benefits on November 1, 2016. However, an earlier effective date of October 1, 2015 could allow up to twelve months of additional retroactive pension. For a single Veteran that could be as much as $21,531.00. In some cases a partial year of benefits could be awarded if the claimant’s eligibility was in place for only part of the previous year. What is my pension award effective date? Generally, the first step to the claim filing process for Aid and Attendance is to submit an Intent to File form. This form tells the Department of Veterans Affairs that you plan to submit a pension claim and it allows the applicant up to one year to do so. If done correctly, fully developed claims can be approved within 90 days, and the awardee is automatically granted retroactive benefits back to their Intent to File date. This date is important to know because not only does it determine when the pension benefits will begin,... read more

Saving the Home From Medicaid

Elder Care Resource Planning is committed to helping American families understand and access their Medicaid and Veteran’s benefits successfully.  Our mission is multifaceted and the primary goal is to obtain benefits for those in need of long term care.  This frequently impacts not only the elder’s well-being and finances but often affects the elder’s loved ones, and frequently the home. We are often asked how one can protect the home of the Medicaid recipient from estate recovery. Following are some facts about how Medicaid treats the home and some suggestions on how other families have successfully dealt with protecting the home from recovery. If the elderly is single and his or her principal place of residence is their home (or condominium), it is an excluded asset during the Medicaid recipient’s lifetime—subject to a few restrictions discussed below. There are limits to the value of the house owned by a single person. Federal law says the equity interest (fair market value, less mortgage) in the home must not exceed $814,000 to be protected. The states, which run the Medicaid program separately for each state on behalf of the federal government, can reduce this value. If the Medicaid recipient is married and the community spouse remains in the home, the home is excluded regardless of the value. The home consists of the building, the land it sits on, and all contiguous land and outbuildings. During the life of the recipient, if he or she is single and moves into assisted living or a nursing home but intends to return home, no matter how unlikely, he or she should express his or her intentions by executing... read more

Why We Do What We Do

 The Urgent Case for Elder Care Planning There’s a coming elder care crisis in our country. Everyday 10,000 people turn 65. Medicare and health insurance only cover therapeutic medical services. Yet, elders often need basic assistance with getting out of bed, getting dressed, and getting a healthy meal. As their needs change, they rarely can afford the additional help out-of-pocket with their fixed income and limited resources. Financial assistance is available in many forms. For example, we track over 450 different programs that help seniors afford their care and continue to live independently or in care communities. However, these programs are poorly known and even harder to access. Families often give up in frustration trying to navigate the bureaucracies. Further, innovative financial products can help families to stretch their resources while a wide range of new information technologies are making elder care safer and more affordable. We help families make the most of the available benefits, financial resources, and technologies to make a sustainable and affordable long term care plan. We are a family business committed to helping aging Americans. We are an integrated team of technology, benefits, financial and legal advisers. Together, through personalized and comprehensive planning, we provide advisory solutions to make elder care affordable. Our clients are deeply appreciative. Through working with their ECR Planning benefits adviser, they were able to discover new programs and access new financial assistance for their parents and loved ones. ECR Planning fees are more affordable than an elder law attorney or specialized Medicaid planners, while our expertise is broader and more specific to middle and lower income seniors. If your... read more
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