Justin, My name is Pam and I am a long-time reader of your column. I am writing about my mother, Geraldine. She lives at home and is in decent health. Over the last two years since my father’s passing, her health has declined. She stopped driving and reluctantly hired in-home care for a few hours per day as recommended by her doctor. She is concerned that she will be forced into a nursing home one day when she can no longer afford to pay for home care. Mom owns her home, some savings, and is the widow of a Vietnam veteran. Do any programs exist to help her? – Pam
Thanks for writing Pam. There are two programs that seem relevant to your mother’s situation. First is ElderChoices through the state Medicaid program, and second is the Aid and Attendance benefit through the VA. We have worked with many clients to build legal plans that help them become qualified for these programs while protecting the maximum amount of their savings possible.
It sounds like the Aid and Attendance benefit will be your mother’s best option. This program gives financial assistance to veterans and widows of veterans that have high long-term care costs. Unlike other VA programs, you do not have to have a service-connected disability to qualify for Aid and Attendance. There are, however, several requirements to be met. The veteran must have served on active duty at least ninety days, with at least one day during a period of war. The applicant must also have health needs that warrant long-term care services.
Additionally, the VA imposes financial restrictions for the benefit, examining both the income and assets of an applicant. Many applicants do not immediately meet the income or asset tests, but with some planning, they can often get over those hurdles.