When you’re looking into long-term care for a loved one, you know how expensive it can be. The cost of long-term care has been rising for years and doesn’t seem to be leveling off.
The options for long-term care include in-home care, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes. Choosing the best option depends on the level of care your loved one needs and the budget. If they only require some help each day, they may be able to stay at home and receive in-home care. However, a nursing home might be the best option if they need constant care.
When considering how to pay for long-term care, you need to look at the financial situation. Ideally, your loved one will have planned ahead and have resources in place. This is not always the case. The following is a list of alternatives to help pay for long-term care.
Medicaid is an option for people with low income and limited assets. It is a federal and state program, and its guidelines vary by state. The amount of assets and income an applicant is allowed to have are very limited. Some people think they can give away their money and most valuable assets to qualify for Medicaid. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Medicaid has a five-year look-back period, meaning they want to see an accounting of the applicant’s finances for the previous five years to ensure they haven’t given away their assets under value just so they could qualify for benefits.
There can be a lengthy penalty period for violating Medicaid’s five-year look-back period. Also, not all senior living facilities accept Medicaid patients, so you will need to figure out which ones do. Since there is a limited number of senior living facilities that accept Medicaid, you may have to get on a few waiting lists.
Supplemental Security Income
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is for Americans who are blind, have a disability, or are over age 65 and whose income and resources are below certain financial limits. SSI provides monthly payments that can be used for basic living costs, such as food, clothing, and shelter. To find out if your loved one is eligible and to apply, go to the Social Security Administration’s website.
If your loved one, or their spouse, is a veteran, there are a variety of benefits available to them. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers benefits that help with income, living costs, and health care. To learn more about benefits available for veterans and their families, check out the VA website or consult with a VA- accredited attorney.
Long-term Care Insurance
If your loved one has a long-term care insurance policy, it can be used to pay for the long-term care they need. Policies vary, so review the guidelines before cashing in on the policy. It would also be a good idea to consult with an elder law attorney to make sure cashing in the policy will not negatively affect your loved one’s ability to receive government benefits.
There are other options you may be able to consider, such as annuities and reverse mortgages. The best way to start the long-term care process is to consult an experienced elder law attorney. Contact our office today to learn how we can find the best way to pay for your loved one’s long-term care.
Our law firm is dedicated to keeping you informed of issues that affect seniors who may be experiencing declining health and people of all ages who are living with a disability. We help you and your loved ones prepare for potential long-term medical and life expenses and the need to transition to in-home care, assisted living care, or nursing facility care.
This article offers a summary of aspects of estate planning and elder law. It is not legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice, you should contact an attorney. For legal advice, contact us today at 505-830-0202.