Going to a Nursing Home: What Counts as Income for Virginia Medicaid?

When you’re in the process of applying for Medicaid in Virginia, you need to know what you already own or receive in terms of assets and income. This is because Medicaid, while administered at the state level, is a federal program that is meant for those who have a high level of financial need.

States explain what counts as allowable assets and income on their own, so you should always do some research first by speaking with a dedicated estate planning lawyer in Virginia Beach so that you’re clear on what to expect when applying for Medicaid benefits.

Elderly people with limited assets and a high level of need who also meet the activities of daily living requirements to go into a nursing home might be able to turn to Medicaid benefits to pay those nursing home bills.

When it comes to clarifying what counts as income, the Social Security Administration defines this as income from any source. This means your income can include alimony payments, IRA withdrawals, Social Security payments, and more. Take a good look at all of the different sources that might be categorized as income for the purposes of your Virginia Medicaid application before you submit it; speaking with an elder lawyer is also recommended.

When one spouse in a couple is applying for Medicaid but the other is not, only the income of the applying spouse is taken into consideration. However, there are exceptions to this rule as it relates to someone applying for Aged Blind or Disabled Medicaid benefits in Virginia.

Beneficiaries who are approved for Medicaid will have nearly all of their income contributed towards the nursing home costs, even if Medicaid is covering a significant portion. Beneficiaries keep very little funds of their own when Medicaid is active for nursing home care payments.

More questions? Speak with a VA Beach elder lawyer now.

 

What Is Medicaid Spend Down in Virginia?

If you are trying to help a loved one apply for Medicaid in Virginia, you’ll discover many different terms and phrases related to this process. One of them is Medicaid spend down.

The term Medicaid spend down refers to families and individuals who would otherwise meet all of the necessary resource eligibility and non-financial requirements to get Medicaid in Virginia, but who have countable income that exceeds the needy income limit for their county or city of residence. It is helpful to think of a spend down as an insurance policy deductible.

For these purposes, you can insert spend down liability in place of the idea of a deductible. Your spend down period could cover you from anywhere from one to as long as six months. After a family or individual owes the amount or incurs the amount of spend down, they can become eligible for Virginia Medicaid services from the date they met the spend down.

If a person who has applied for Medicaid assistance in Virginia has been evaluated but full coverage is denied due to excess income, notification of the denial will be provided to the applicant. Resources will then need to be evaluated with the assistance of a Virginia Medicaid attorney to determine if the family or individual’s countable resources are below the maximum resource limit for their household.

If your countable resources are under the resource limit for your household, you could be considered eligible for a spend down, upon which you will be sent a notice of action regarding the spend down liability amount. These aspects can be confusing for you and your loved ones but having the support of a Virginia Beach Medicaid assistance lawyer can go a long way in answering your questions.

 

 

How Does Virginia Medicaid Evaluate Senior Applicants?

Every state has the responsibility of determining what parameters will allow a person to receive Medicaid payments. Since Medicaid is a government program designed to provide parties who have no other method of paying for their care, it is important to plan ahead with the support of a Virginia Medicaid lawyer.

Simply retitling or transferring all of your assets in the weeks or months before you apply for Medicaid may subject you to a penalty. It is far better to have a long term plan that considers the costs of long term care and your options to reach it. In 2021 the monthly income limit in Virginia is $2,382 for Medicaid home care benefits. There is no set income limit for nursing home care.

The asset limit is $2,000 but this does exclude the applicant’s interest in certain personal effects, household furnishings, a vehicle and equity in the home up to $603,000. Just having asset limits or income above this level does not mean that a person cannot qualify. There are numerous methods to shelter and protect assets and allow a senior to become eligible for Medicaid home care or nursing home care.

As you can see, there are many different complex facets of qualifying for Medicaid, and it is imperative to have the support of a qualified elder law attorney to guide you through. The cost of a nursing home in Virginia can range from $7,500 a month to nearly $12,000 per month. In the Virginia Beach, Norfolk and Newport area, the average cost for nursing home expenses is between $265 to $385 per day.

This could decimate your retirement savings and leave your without the money they need to take care of themselves. Don’t hesitate and don’t wait until a crisis occurs. Schedule a consultation with a Virginia Beach Medicaid planning lawyer.        

 

Is It Time to Find Long Term Care for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s?

You and your family might have already had the initial conversations around whether a loved one needs additional support beyond what you can provide. Sometimes you and a network of family members may be unable to provide the kind of support that a person with Alzheimer’s disease requires. This person might wander a lot, be aggressive, be incontinent or require round the clock care, making it more complicated to establish a schedule.

You may want to seek out a long term care facility for this person when these milestones are reached. It’s normal to feel guilty, confused or overwhelmed by the prospect of placing a loved one in a long term care facility but it might be the best thing to do if the Alzheimer’s condition has advanced enough.

A few residential care options exist for those with Alzheimer’s. This includes:

  • Assisted living facilities that have apartments or rooms in which a person who needs help with daily tasks can get support.
  • Continuing care retirement communities which include rooms, apartments or homes where people with Alzheimer’s can get care as well as live.
  • Group homes. A home in which several people who are unable to care for themselves and at least two staff members live to help support.
  • Nursing homes which are the most advanced form of support for a person with Alzheimer’s.

In some facilities there are special wings and locations for those with Alzheimer’s who require more advanced care. It’s important to evaluate the care options and affordability of these different decisions before moving forward with the right call for your family. Schedule a consultation with an elder lawyer in Virginia Beach to learn more about some of the legal components of estate planning that affect these decisions.

 

Is it Time to Revisit Your Financial Plan?

Deciding to retire brings with it a variety of different logistical decisions that need to be made but also plenty of emotions about making this transition in your life. Concerns about your financial future and excitement for the new freedom you might face are both common feelings and many people have these at the same time.

By reviewing or executing a financial plan for your retirement, which incorporates your estate plan and how you intend to take care of yourself in older age and pass on assets to your children will give you peace of mind so that you have something to build and adapt from.

A comprehensive financial plan needs to include many different components, looking at each aspect of your individual retirement. This includes spending habits, the design of your current portfolio, account balances, personal retirement plans like gifting, estate planning and travel, and insurance planning.

Each of these plays at least one small part in your overall retirement playbook. It’s a good idea to look at things from the data that can give you a good idea of what you need to have saved and some of the challenges that you might experience if you don’t adapt your savings plan now.

Plenty of people are nervous about having enough set aside for health care expenses, for example, so you might want to discuss with your elder lawyer whether or not the long term care plans you have in place will be enough. Schedule a consultation today with an elder lawyer in Virginia Beach to learn more.

New Study Shows People More Interested in In-Home Care

Do you know how you’ll get support if you have healthcare needs or day-to-day living needs that extend beyond what you can provide for yourself? These issues should be incorporated into your Virginia elder law plan in accordance with state laws and your own preferences.

Going to a nursing home is not the only option available to most people who are between living on their own or getting around-the-clock support from staff. In fact, you might be able to get the help you need inside your own home.

Following the aftermath of the impact of Covid-19, more people who are recognizing their need for outside help in managing their health and activities of daily living are interested in home care.

Many family health care decision makers have decided to look into home-based care options before looking at nursing homes. A study recently conducted by Transcend Strategy Group found that over 50% of family members are more likely to select in-home care for their loved ones than they were prior to the pandemic. More than 1,000 respondents were included in the survey and all of them were family health care decision makers. Those most likely to be family health care decision makers were women between the ages of 40 and 45. The widespread news about the many different infections and deaths from Covid-19 in nursing homes is prompting people to capitalize on an already existing trend of more and more seniors wanting to stay at home for their care, however possible. If you are interested in creating an estate plan and an elder law plan that work hand in hand with one another, schedule a consultation with a trusted elder law planning attorney today.

 

Does Your Elder Law Plan Include Long Term Care Insurance?

You might not know just how many people rely on long-term care to deal with an ongoing or a short-term medical issue, but the odds show that there’s a good chance you’ll need long term care in the future.

If you don’t have any other plan in place and you don’t qualify for Medicaid when you face an urgent health crisis and need to go into a nursing home, you’ll pay an average of $140,000 out of pocket. For most people, that could decimate the retirement savings they had set aside for themselves or for them and their spouse.

Even though the numbers paint a picture of just how important it is to factor long term care into your elder law planning, few people consider long term care insurance as one of their options. In fact, only around 7 million Americans have long term care insurance to help pay for this very expensive and possibly necessary support.

Long term care insurance policies might not be the best fit for you, however. Many who bought these policies have been subjected to major rate spikes since the insurance companies underestimated how many claims they’d have to pay out. The number of companies offering LTC insurance has also dwindled. And some of the premiums for these policies can cost more than $2700 a year.

But just because LTC insurance might not be the right fit for you doesn’t mean your search for a plan stops there. Getting qualified for Medicaid does not have to be a difficult process, but you need to spend the time thinking over your choices and tools in advance. The right attorney can help you do that.

Speaking with an experienced elder law attorney in Virginia can prepare you for the possibility of nursing home care so that you can review all of your options.

Wealth Planning and Long-Term Care Planning for Aging Parents

If you have the responsibility of taking care of your aging loved ones, this is an extremely common situation that is facing more people in the sandwich generation. The sandwich generation often has children of their own, while they are also helping with the health care management or the costs associated with the loved one.
Many people don’t like to think about incapacity, money or death, but this is extremely important for any situation in which you are helping a loved one work through the issues of aging. There are several different steps that you can take in order to minimize the negative impacts of failing to plan. Failing to plan can make things more complicated for everyone, in the event that your loved one suffers from incapacity or suddenly passes away. Several different things should be discussed with your aging parents, including:

  • Putting together a living trust.
  • Planning for the possibility of long term care, including long-term care insurance.
  • Evaluating housing options.
  • Determining transportation needs.
  • Ensuring proper documents are in place.

Having a consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney can help you address many of the issues associated with the estate planning and the elder law planning process. Learn more about how estate planning Virginia can help you by setting up a consultation today.
 

Caring for a Child with Addiction or Mental Illness After You Pass Away

A woman in train alone and sad
Every parent has concerns about how they will pass on their assets to their loved ones in the future but there are many more complications when you have a child who is struggling with mental illness or with addiction issues.
Many parents who find themselves in this situation may feel overwhelmed by the process of caring for these children and therefore, avoid thinking about how these children will be taken care of when the parents are gone. Estate planning might differ in this situation when compared with another type of family. There are a couple of important steps that you need to take in order to plan appropriately for the future.
Whether the child is affected by addiction or mental illness, they may never fully recover from this condition and this is why it is important to think about using tools such as a trust in order to strategically allow access to them for support.
Not distributing the assets directly to your children means that they will most likely be invested with an experienced financial advisor with the ideal purpose of the money growing. In the event that the mental illness or addiction problem gets worse, this allows for more resources to fight the addiction. If the addiction problem is abated, however, the trustee may be able to help the child with new endeavors such as education or job opportunities. Careful planning should always go into any situation in which there is mental illness or serious concerns about addiction or spendthrift behavior. A trust may be the most appropriate way to plan for this- ask your Virginia estate planning attorney for more information.

Caregivers Should Take Care To Get Care Themselves

Home care

Home care

People who are willing to become a caregiver to a loved one, regardless of the circumstances, are taking on an awesome responsibility.
Consider this set of guidelines offered at Preserve dignity

  • Involve your loved one
  • Promote independence
  • Ask for help
  • Be an advocate
  • Take care of yourself

That last guideline might sound simple, but it’s perhaps one of most overlooked on the list, according to the website.
“Many caregivers are so accustomed to providing help and seeing to another person’s needs that they don’t know how to ask for aid themselves,” the article notes. “Take advantage of the help that’s available. Your family is your first resource. Spouses, brothers and sisters, children and other relatives can do a lot to ease your caregiving burden. Let them know what they can and should do.
Look to your church for aid and counsel. Make your minister or religious leader aware of your situation. Turn to caregiving support groups, or support groups for specific illnesses like Alzheimer’s or heart disease.“Encourage your loved one’s friends and neighbors to provide what comfort they can.”