Asset & Income Protection to Help You Pay for Alzheimer’s Care

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Written by Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright,  A New Jersey Alzheimers and Dementia Attorney

Alzheimer’s Care and You:  Ensuring Your Loved One Gets the Care They Deserve During Tough Economic Times

The decision to move a loved one into a nursing home or long term care residence is emotional for everyone. Individuals play out numerous “what if’s” and ideas in their head before they make a decision. This is quite logical and very understandable, I know.  I see hundreds of new families each year. Diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Dementia, ALS, stroke, Parkinson’s, and many more often affect our loved ones as they enter their elder years. Many times, despite a wish to keep our loved ones at home, we find it to be in their best interest to place them at a medical support and daily assistance facility that can better care for them.

Choosing the proper care facility or assisted living residence can also be stressful. Many individuals and their families are not familiar with a nursing home or any type of professional care residence. These individuals know the importance of a facility that can provide quality care, offer a convenient location, and suit their finances appropriately, but don’t know where to turn. What can they afford? How long before the care starts to eat away at their savings? Will the government help at all or will everything ($) be lost? Fortunately, Fredrick P. Niemann, Elder Care Attorney, and his team at Hanlon Niemann & Wright are here to help.

 

TESTIMONIAL
I wanted to thank you, Mr. Niemann for all of your help.  You made everything very easy on me during a very difficult time.  I know that the three grandchildren by Uncle Bill’s daughter were greatly appreciative of the amount they were sent as they were not expecting to receive anything.  Your intervention really helped with that as well. Anyway, just wanted to let you all know that you’re work is appreciated.
– Carol Graham

Allow Me To Educate You On the Topic of Long-Term Care and Assist You In Choosing the Proper Elder Care Facility For Your Loved One

When caring for someone who requires long term care, it is essential that you educate yourself on the topic of planning for that care and government benefits and programs that can help pay for that care. Trust me, some basic knowledge of the subject can save you a lot of money and time.

By consulting with a knowledgeable Elder Care attorney, you can familiarize yourself with Medicaid, the Veteran’s Aid and Attendance Benefit, and other government financial assistance programs created to help you and your loved one. If eligible, these programs can help offset all or a significant portion of your medical bills and long term care. Allow me to teach you some of the legal solutions that exist to help you avoid emptying your bank account for the care of a loved one. Please call me, Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq., an experienced NJ Elder Care & Medicaid Lawyer today, toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email me at fniemann@hnlawfirm.com. I’m here as a resource to you and to answer your questions.

 

Paying for Long Term Care: What Are Your Options?

There are generally three ways in which one can pay for the long-term care of a loved one:

  • Long Term Care Insurance – One popular option that most families fail to take advantage of is long-term care insurance that typically pays the daily rate for in-home and nursing home care of Alzheimer’s patients together with debilitating cognitive and/or health conditions. The importance of acquiring long-term care insurance at an early age cannot be stressed enough. If you do not acquire insurance before being diagnosed with a debilitating illness, you will likely be out of luck, as the insurance carriers typically will not insure anyone who has already been diagnosed with a disease or pre-existing condition. Similar to car insurance, rates go up based on your risk/claim experience, meaning if you wait to apply until an older age, you will likely be facing higher rates. Additionally, an individual will pay higher premiums if too many people file claims, as what happens with car and homeowner’s insurance.
  • Private Payment – Often a more common option for most individuals is to pay for their care out of their own funds. Unfortunately this can take funds you had stashed away for retirement income such as an IRA, investment assets such as stocks, or even from your savings account. Many less-wealthy families falsely believe they must use up their own funds to pay for long term care. Fortunately, this isn’t always the case, as many individuals with limited finances have alternative options, like NJ Medicaid.  Here’s where we can help.
  • New Jersey Medicaid – A government program funded jointly by the State of New Jersey and the federal government, Medicaid is administered by the NJ Department of Health & Senior Services through the Country Board of Social Services. It was created, along with Medicare, to help seniors and disabled persons pay for long-term care. Often the best payment option for individuals with Alzheimer’s, etc., Medicaid can cover the cost of medical care, nursing home care, and in certain cases, home and community services. The downside to Medicaid is its strict financial and medical eligibility requirements. However, if you pass the criteria, you will see the many positives to this beneficial program.  Here at Hanlon Niemann & Wright it’s our mission to help you qualify for NJ Medicaid.

 

What is the Difference Between Medicare vs. Medicaid?

Due to their similar sounding names and the fact that they are both government programs typically benefiting seniors and the disabled, Medicaid and Medicare are often confused. It is important to understand that each is its own distinct program and each has different qualification requirements.

Medicare is essentially public health insurance for individuals that are 65 or older, or younger than 65 but have a certain qualifying disability. Medicare becomes the primary health insurance coverage for these people. That being said, Medicare does NOT pay for long-term care. Many often confuse Medicare and Medicaid for this reason. Confusion typically arises because Medicare does pay for rehabilitation after an individual is hospitalized. This includes placement in a skilled nursing facility. However, Medicare places a 100 day cap on the period of time one can receive payment for rehabilitation. Most people are unaware that Medicare seldom approves 100 days of rehabilitation.  It is generally approved for a much shorter period.  This cap can even be reduced depending on how successful your rehabilitation is going. For example, if you fail to make progress to a specified level of health for your condition, Medicare may cut funding, deeming your condition custodial and thus, not covered. With Medicare, there is also a deductible of around $120 a day after the first 20 days. Since Alzheimer’s and many other cognitive illnesses have no known cure, it is impossible to rehabilitate. Therefore, Medicare will NOT pay for the care of an individual with Alzheimer’s and other degenerative conditions and disease.

Medicaid, on the other hand, is designed to help individuals pay for long term care in nursing facilities, assisted living, and sometimes even for at-home care. If you have no knowledge or experience with Medicaid, don’t worry. Most people are in the same boat. While Medicaid is funded by both the federal government and the state of New Jersey, it is administered solely at the state level through the County Board of Social Services. This means that rules will vary depending on what county you are in. Compliance with Medicaid qualifications is a necessity, as New Jersey has extremely strict requirements that must be followed if you wish to receive assistance. Since Medicare doesn’t provide coverage for Alzheimer’s and many other diseases affecting seniors, it is important that you consult an experienced NJ Elder Care attorney to make sure you are in compliance with these requirements. Otherwise, should you lack long term care insurance, you will be forced to pay for the care of your loved one out of your own pocket if you fail to qualify for NJ Medicaid.

Here is a brief breakdown of the two government-funded programs:

MEDICARE MEDICAID
Eligibility based on being age 65 or older or having a qualifying disability if younger than age 65 Eligibility based on strict income and resource limits
Federally administered uniform rules and regulations applicable in all 52 states Individual state rules and regulations apply
Pays for up to 100 days of nursing home care for approved rehabilitation programs only Pays for long-term care at nursing homes, assisted living, and at-home services
Pays for primary hospital care and related medically necessary treatment only Pays for medications, therapy, medical equipment, limited home care

Some Additional Frequently Asked Questions About NJ Medicaid Eligibility to Pay for Alzheimer’s, Dementia Care

Question 1) “Is it true I’m allowed to give $14,000 a year to each of my children without a penalty?”

Question 2) “Why don’t I just put my children’s names on all my bank accounts to avoid this whole Medicaid formality? If that doesn’t work, can’t I just give all of my assets to my kids?”

ANSWERS:

Both myths are related in the fact that the individual is seeking to give away assets to ensure Medicaid eligibility. First, the $14,000 that one is entitled to give away is an IRS rule that pertains to taxes only. It is completely irrelevant to Medicaid eligibility.  Medicaid does not recognize the tax code.  It is not subject to the IRA.

Putting your kids’ names on your bank accounts has no effect on Medicaid eligibility. New Jersey follows what is called the “source of funds” rule. This rule states that ownership of the funds in your accounts for Medicaid purposes is determined by who funds the account. Therefore, unless your kids placed the money in the account (provided the source of the funds), this money is not protected.

In regards to gifting your assets outright to your children, this is not recommended. One of my golden rules for Medicaid has been do not give to your son or daughter directly. In addition to not always protecting the assets for Medicaid purposes, gifting outright to a child has potentially devastating income and estate tax implications. For example, if a mother transfers her house title to her daughter, this converts her property tax classification from owner-occupied to non-owner occupied. This may result in an increase in property taxes and could even eliminate certain exemptions. In addition, gifted assets do not receive a favorable cost basis (what you paid for the asset). This results in unfavorable income and estate death tax results which otherwise could have been avoided.

The better solution is creating and funding an Irrevocable Trust which I discuss at length in this site.

Are There Exempt Assets When Qualifying for Medicaid?

ANSWER:

Qualifying for Medicaid sometimes requires you to spend down your assets. Fortunately, NJ Medicaid laws allows certain assets to be exempt from the state’s determination of your financials for qualification purposes, but many tricky rules apply.  The following items of yours will NOT count in the state’s determination, if structured correctly:

  • Your home, under limited and defined conditions, with a maximum equity of up to $750,000, if you can show an “intent to return” to the home after your placement in the nursing home since applicants are at a severe disadvantage if they own a house.  Call me to learn the rules.
  • Note: This is a hard exemption to qualify for. NJ has a tough standard and for single individuals, this is often not an option.
  • Personal belongings, such as household furniture and personal property.
  • One car or truck, (assuming you meet certain condition(s)).
  • Burial plot and some related items. This applies to the applicant, spouse, and immediate family members.
  • Pre-paid Funeral Contract, as long as it is irrevocable.
  • Up to $1500 in face value of life insurance. If face value is greater than $1,500, the cash value is countable as a resource for payment.
  • Rental Income Property (subject to limiting conditions).
  • Qualifying Medicaid Annuities (a/k/a SPIA).  This type of annuity is highly specialized and not available through most insurance companies but it is a devastating tool to protect a lot of your hard earned $$$.

All Non-Exempt Assets Are Labeled As Countable Resources

If an asset is not exempt, it will be counted as a resource for Medicaid purposes and therefore must be spent down. This means that New Jersey assumes the asset can be used to pay for long-term care. Countable resources are basically anything of value that is not exempt. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Cash
  • Bank accounts
  • US savings Bonds
  • Credit Union accounts (CD’s)
  • 401(k)s, IRAs, and all other defined compensation plans
  • Pre-paid funeral contracts that can be revoked
  • Trusts (depending on terms/conditions)
  • Real estate, other than your primary residence)
  • Any car or truck beyond your first
  • Stocks, Bonds, Mutual funds, and other investments
  • Land contracts or mortgages held on sold real estate
  • Commercial annuities
  • Boats

Single vs. Married: Different Situations When Applying for Medicaid

Single Individuals

Medicaid applicants that are single face a much harder road in becoming Medicaid eligible in New Jersey. The State has strict requirements for eligibility that forces many to spend down a significant portion of their assets to become eligible unless you know the secrets to protecting those assets.

Some single individuals seek to gift assets to trusted friends outside the family in an attempt to qualify for Medicaid. This typically occurs when the individual is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, a stroke or another major illness and knows they will need long term care very soon. Unfortunately, federal law provides that the “look-back period” is now five years, extended from what used to be only three years. This means that when applying for Medicaid, the State is allowed to look back at your finances from up to five years prior. If you have gifted assets within this period, these gifts still count against you for Medicaid qualification purposes.

Some may think that no way will NJ look back at an asset given away three or four years ago, but let me be clear: I guarantee they will. It is important to plan for your long term care and qualifying for Medicaid today. Nobody has a crystal ball that can see into the future. We don’t know what the future has in store for us. Who knows how long it will be before you or your loved one needs some sort of long term care? Planning today is the safest way to ensure eligibility.  We need to start the five year clock; the sooner the better, especially when diagnosed with an early on-set condition or significant age.

For those of you that are single, focusing on your income should be your first priority. You must keep in mind income from all sources needs to be considered. This includes social security, pensions, annuities, VA benefits, etc.

If your spouse or a parent(s) is single and in crisis, I can still save a significant $ amount of your assets if you act immediately.  Yes, you read me correctly.  I can save your divorced or widowed parent, sibling, friend or the neighbors down the street a significant amount of $$$ under many, not all but many circumstances.  Isn’t it worth a call or email to meet with me to see what can be done?

Hypothetical

Here is a hypothetical example: Suppose Jim is a widowed veteran receiving Social Security income of $1,300 and income from a pension of $1,100. While he has always been physically healthy, his Parkinson’s has become a big concern for the rest of his family. They decide collectively that it would be in his best interest to enter a long-term care facility so he can receive the 24 hour care he needs. The family finds a facility that seems ideal based on his needs and its location. The cost is $8,200 per month. He also has a pharmacy bill of around $300 per month. Jim has saved up $400,000 in savings and investments. So how should he pay for this long-term care?

Jim’s total income is $2,400, taking into account the $1,300 from social security and $1,100 from his pension. He also receives benefits in the amount of $1,644 tax free dollars from the Aid and Attendance Benefit, a wartime veteran’s pension which we will discuss in detail in a bit. Adding this benefit to his income, the total is $4,044. Since his care and pharmaceutical costs are $6,500 together, he winds up $2,456 short. If we add this up for every month, Jim is looking at $146,360 over five (5) years that he must pay out of his own savings. Though his family’s financial assistance will be needed, this is a good start to successful financial planning. They understand where they stand. When the family consults with an Elder Care attorney, together they can determine what assets are appropriate to gift to family members, what amount should be left “at risk”, and what other financial determinations that can be made.  Remember asset protection is still possible even for single persons in crisis.

Married Couples

Although single individuals typically face a tougher road when it comes to Medicaid eligibility, married couples also face unique problems. The problems usually stem from a lack of knowledge of the Medicaid system and their right to avoid impoverishment. Unfortunately, when many individuals finally realize their error, it’s often too late.

Arguably the most common example is a misconception about what counts toward Medicaid’s eligibility rules.  Many people say something along the lines of, “My wife’s name isn’t on any of the bank accounts and most of the stocks and investments we have are in my name, so these assets are safe from Medicaid.” This is incorrect. New Jersey views all assets as jointly owned by married couples for purposes of eligibility. Therefore, it is irrelevant whose name is on what account. All assets from both spouses will be taken into account when determining your financial eligibility and calculating your required spend down.

Another common misconception is that couples can gift the assets to their children to avoid adverse Medicaid consequences when the time comes. As previously mentioned, this tactic will not work. In fact, this is actually a major Medicaid rule violation, known as an “improper transfer.” The State’s rules pertaining to Medicaid and gifting are extremely strict and must be followed. Always be careful when gifting your assets, as it can have significant Medicaid and income/estate tax implications.

The Spousal Impoverishment Act (Commonly Referred to as “Protecting the Community Spouse”)

While long-term care costs for a declining loved one must be considered, one must also think about the costs of living and support for his/her spouse to live a comfortable lifestyle. Contained within Medicaid laws is the Spousal Impoverishment Act, which dictates how much in resources and assets one can live on should their spouse become sick and require care.

New Jersey refers to the spouse receiving care as the “institutionalized spouse’ and the spouse remaining home as the “community spouse”. The law states that the community spouse may keep up to a maximum of $119,220. This is referred to as the Community Spousal Resource Allowance (CSRA). The institutionalized spouse may keep $2,000 under NJ Law.

The Community Spouse Resource Allowance (CSRA)

In New Jersey, a community spouse is given an allowance which is an amount of $$$ (i.e., assets, investment, CD’s, annuities, etc.) which he/she can keep without adversely affecting the sick and/or institutionalized spouse’s eligibility for Medicaid.  This allowance often is referred to by its acronym, CSRA.

The purpose of this resource allowance (CSRA) is to prevent the community spouse from becoming impoverished after his/her spouse qualifies for Medicaid benefits.

Because Medicaid includes the assets of both spouses when dividing the eligibility of the sick spouse regardless of whose name it is owned under, it is critically important that the family maximize the CSRA available to the healthy spouse remaining at home, otherwise everything the family worked for and saved during the marriage will have to be spent down and lost before Medicaid comes to the rescue.

So what can be done?  Fortunately, a lot.  First, advanced planning should be considered depending on the age and health of each spouse.  If a crisis situation is not at hand, meaning imminent placement or need for placement in a nursing facility, etc., then a five-year asset protection plan should/can be implemented after five (5) years and if structured correctly, the assets are legally free from the spenddown requirements mandated by the state and beyond the reach of the nursing home and others.

But what happens if you don’t have five (5) years?  What if you are in a crisis and mom or dad will need placement somewhere in a matter of months, weeks or even days?  Well, a lot can still be saved and in many cases almost everything.  It depends on a number of factors unique to each couple but the good news is that there is hope, even if dad needs placement next week.

The solution to your crises is to call me immediately.  Alert my support staff that you are in crisis and need to get in to see me right away.  We’ll get you in.  If you are a child of aging parents, etc., and live far away, we can video conference or schedule a conference call at a set date and time.  Before we talk, I’ll send you an informational questionnaire that when completed will give me an immediate road map of exactly what we can do to protect your loved ones.

In addition, the state allows the community spouse to keep $1,991.25 per month, an amount referred to as the Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance (MMMNA). What exactly does this mean? Say a community spouse receives $500 in Social Security per month, while the institutionalized spouse receives $1,250. The $1,250 will automatically go to the community spouse since they have yet to the reach the MMMNA of $1,991.25, as opposed to the nursing home. However, if the community spouse were to earn $3,250, as opposed to $500, then the nursing home would take the $1,250 that the institutionalized spouse is receiving every month from social security, as opposed to the community spouse.

Is There Any Advantage To Your Loved One Being a Military War Veteran?

Absolutely. The Veteran’s Aid and Attendance Benefit is commonly known as the “VA’s Best Kept Secret”. While Medicaid is the biggest form of government financial support offered for long-term care, there are other options for some individuals. For example, New Jersey offers a limited number of benefits for at-home services through a waiver program known as Medicaid Managed Long Term Services and Supports (MLTSS).  There are also the New Jersey Veterans homes located in Menlo Park, Paramus and Vineland.

The VA pension benefit is one financial option available to certain qualifying veterans. It helps these veterans, along with their spouses, with unreimbursed medical expenses. While there are strict eligibility requirements, being broke is not one of them. There are some income and asset qualifications, but eligibility is mainly defined by being over 65 years old or homebound and in need of regular aid and attendance. This care can be necessary at your home, in an assisted living facility, or at a nursing home.

Veterans Benefits for NJ Veterans and Surviving Spouse

The Veteran Aid and Attendance Benefit program offers the following financial benefits to those eligible:

  • Married Veteran with a living spouse – Up to $2,120/ month, tax free
  • Single Wartime Veteran – Up to $1,788/ month, tax free
  • Widowed Spouse of a wartime veteran – Up to $1,149/ month, tax free

Eligibility can be tricky. The key lies in educating yourself on just how the benefit works. The most essential calculation is your income for VA purposes (IVAP). This is calculated by taking your gross income from all sources and then subtracting your unreimbursed medical expenses (UME). Your UME’s typically include doctor and dentist fees, Medicare and health insurance premiums/co-payments, transportation costs to your doctor’s offices, and care costs for nursing home/assisted living facilities or in-home care, among others. The UME’s include any medical expense that you incur as an ongoing cost.  I know this is so confusing.  But hang in there and keep reading.  Absorb what you can.  Remember, when you’re done you can always call and meet with me to understand the topic better.

Income (IVAP) = Gross Income – Unreimbursed Medical Expenses (UME)

Let’s take New Jersey Veteran Harry Sharp for example. Harry is a 71-year old Korean War veteran receiving care at his home. He receives $1,700/month from Social Security and a pension. The cost of his in-home care is $3,000/month, in addition to the medication prescription costs of $200/month. Harry has $40,000 in savings, but is concerned because he knows that his care and medication is $1,500 more than he receives every month. He knows that this will drain his savings account in less than two years because he knows he also has basic living expenses such as utilities and food. He also knows that care costs are constantly increasing, so he wouldn’t be surprised to see his costs jump in the future. It is important that Harry see a knowledgeable Elder Care attorney to advise him on his situation.

A knowledgeable advisor would calculate his IVAP by taking the $1,700 income he receives and subtracting the unreimbursed medical expenses, which in this case is $3,200. This shows an IVAP of negative $1,500. Regardless of the fact that Harry has $40,000 in assets, he will be eligible for the full VA benefit of $1,644 per month, tax-free. Remember, you don’t have to be completely impoverished to receive the VA benefit. Since his IVAP is a negative $1,500, he is eligible for the full benefit. Thanks to this calculation, Harry can rest easy knowing he is eligible to receive the VA benefit to pay for the care he needs and won’t have to drain his bank account.

How To Get A Pension Benefit From the VA

In filing a claim for a VA benefit, it is important to know that only three types of professionals are authorized to assist you. They are:

  1. A licensed New Jersey attorney that is also accredited with the VA.
  2. A Veteran’s Service Organization (VSO), such as your local American Legion or Veteran’s of Foreign Wars (VFW).
  3. A state of New Jersey County Department of Veteran’s Affairs official.

The new VA rules and strict eligibility requirements make it essential that you hire an experienced consultant to assist you.

Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. is a caring, sensitive NJ Attorney that can offer you qualified professional planning and assistance. Please call him toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email him at fniemann@hnlawfirm.com today to set up an office consultation.

Who Qualifies For the VA Pension Benefit?

If you belong to any of the following groups and received a favorable discharge, you meet the service requirements for the benefits (keep in mind you still must qualify financially):

  • Medal of Honor recipients;
  • Woman Air Force Service Pilots (WASPs);
  • WWI Engineer File Clerks;
  • WWI Signal Corps Female Telephone Operations Unit;
  • Female clerical employees of the Quartermaster Corps serving with the American Expeditionary Forces during WWI;
  • Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC);
  • Reconstruction aides & dietitians of WWI;
  • Civilian Employees of Pacific naval air bases that actively participated in defense of Wake Island during WWII;
  • Male civilian ferry pilots;
  • Wake Island defender’s from Guam;
  • Guam Combat Patrol;
  • Civilian personnel assigned to OSS secret intelligence;
  • U.S. civilians that participated in the defense of Bataan;
  • Quartermaster Corps members of the Keswick crew on Corregidor during WWII;
  • U.S. merchant seamen that served on block ships in support of Operation Mulberry in WWII invasion of Normandy;
  • American merchant marines in ongoing service during WWII;
  • U.S. civilian employees of American Field Service that served under the U.S. army and U.S. army groups during WWII;
  • Civilian Navy IFF radar technicians that served in combat areas of the Pacific during WWI;
  • U.S. civilian employees of American Airlines that served overseas in contract with the Air Transport Command between December 14, 1941 and August 14, 1945;
  • Civilian crewman of certain U.S. Coast and Geodetic survey vessels between December 7, 1941 and August 14, 1945;
  • Members of the American Volunteer Group (Flying Tigers) that served between December 7, 1941 and August 14, 1945;
  • U.S. civilian flight crew and aviation group support of TWA that served overseas between December 4, 1941 and August 14, 1945;
  • U.S. civilian flight crew and aviation ground support of Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corp. that served overseas between December 14, 1941 and August 14, 1945;
  • Honorably discharged members of the American Volunteer Guard, Eritrea Service Command between June 21, 1942 and March 31, 1943;
  • U.S. civilian flight crew and aviation ground support of Northwest Airlines that served overseas between December 14, 1941 and August 14, 1945;
  • U.S. civilian flight crew and aviation ground support of Braniff Airways that served overseas in the North Atlantic between February 25, 1942 and August 14, 1945;
  • U.S. civilian female employees of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps that served in the defense of Bataan and Corregidor from January 2, 1942 to February 3, 1945;
  • The operational Analysis Group of the Office of Scientific Research & Development, Office of Emergency Management, which served overseas with the U.S. Army Air Corps from December 7, 1941 through August 15, 1945;
  • Chamorro and Carolina former native police that received military training in the Donnal area of Central Saipan and were placed under command of Lt. Casino of the 6th Provisional Military Police Battalion to accompany U.S. Marines on active, combat patrol from August 19, 1945 to September 2, 1945;
  • The Alaska Territorial Guard of WWII.

More Details About Eligibility for Non-Service Connected Pensions

So now that you know that the following requirements must be met initially:

  1. Must be an honorably discharged veteran, surviving spouse, or child of any military group. This includes special groups mentioned above;
  2. Must have served in active duty for 90 consecutive days, one of which was during a period of war;
  3. Must be at least 65 years old or have a qualifying “permanent or total disability”. Permanent or total disability means:
  • Receiving long-term nursing home care; or
  • Receiving Social Security disability benefits; or
  • Unemployable as a result of disability reasonably certain to continue throughout the life of the person.

Keep in mind the disability does NOT have to be one connected to the veteran’s service in the military.
Assuming you meet these eligibility requirements, it’s time to address the financial requirements. As you are aware, the Veteran’s program is a needs-based program that looks at your income and assets. There are two main tests to look at:

  • Gross income minus certain expenses
  • Certain expenses includes un-reimbursed medical expenses for both the veteran and his household, as well as certain educational expenses.
  • Net Worth Limitation
  • Aside from certain items that are exempt, such as your house, car, etc., the maximum value of one’s assets they can generally have is between $50,000 and $80,000. This includes savings accounts and assets, such as investments. Keep in mind this is just an estimate and various factors will be included in this determination.

Benefits Available

Special Monthly Pension Rates – Paid to the Veteran’s themselves

Based on 2016 Rates

SITUATION MAXIMUM ANNUAL PENSION RATE MAXIMUM MONTHLY AMOUNT RECEIVED
Permanently & Totally Disabled Veteran $12,868 $1,072
With one dependent $16,851 $1,404
Permanently & Totally Disabled AND Homebound $15,725 $1,310
With one dependent $19,710 $1,642
Permanently & Totally Disabled AND in Need of Regular Aid & Attendance $21,466 $1,788
With one dependent $25,448 $2,120
Increase for each dependent child $2,198 $183 additional

Death Pension Rates – Paid to the Veteran’s Surviving Spouse

Based on 2016 Rates

SITUATION MAXIMUM ANNUAL PENSION RATE MAXIMUM MONTHLY AMOUNT RECEIVED
Surviving Spouse $8,630 $719
With one dependent $10,548 $879
Surviving spouse that is Permanently Housebound $13,794 $1,149
With one dependent $13,209 $1,110
Surviving spouse that is in Need of “Regular Aid and Attendance” $13,794 $1,149
With one dependent $16,456 $1,371
Increase for each dependent child $2,198 $183 additional

Call Today To Get Your Finances In Order and Start Planning For the Future

Much of the information I have given you seems complex and confusing. Don’t worry, it is. The best way to defend yourself significant long-term care charges is to plan early and make sure you apply for benefits as soon as allowed. In these harsh economic times, there is the possibility of funding cuts by the State, which means less financial aid available. The sooner you start moving forward and planning for the future, the safer you can feel that your finances will be safe and your loved one can receive the long-term care they deserve.

 

Fred Niemann, New Jersey Alzheimer's & Dementia Lawyer

Fred Niemann, New Jersey Alzheimer’s & Dementia Lawyer

Contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. today with any questions you may have concerning Alzheimer’s, Dementia, or long-term care planning in general. He can be reached

toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or

by email at fniemann@hnlawfirm.com.

We look forward to hearing from you.

For more information about VA rules and benefits, visit our very informative website at www.njveteranbenefitsattorney.com

Alzheimer’s & Dementia Lawyers serving these New Jersey Counties: 

Monmouth County, Ocean County, Essex County, Cape May County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Bergen County, Morris County, Burlington County, Union County, Somerset County, Hudson County, Passaic County