A Medicaid Trap! Important Information for Seniors & Veterans by Rick Law, Senior Estate Planner & Elder Care Attorney in Aurora, IL
One important factor to consider in the VA asset limitation test is that giving away cash or other things of value can create terrible problems later for senior citizens if they need to apply for Medicaid to assist them with skilled nursing home care. Giving away assets can create a long penalty period of ineligibility for Medicaid benefits. Any senior facing long-term care needs to seek capable legal advice from an attorney who is skilled in the areas of estate planning, financial planning options, Medicaid, Medicare, income tax, and gift tax, as well as having experience regarding VA rules. The big question for many families will be, “What will it cost me to seek advice in this area?” Although an attorney who chooses to assist a veteran in filing for benefits must do that portion of his or her work for free, the attorney may charge their usual fees related to any estate planning, financial planning options, Medicaid, Medicare, income tax, or gift tax work, as well as the determination of the financial suitability of filing for a veterans benefit claim. The VA General Counsel’s advice regarding legal fees and VA claims: “To the extent that after consultation the veteran expressed to the attorney an intention to file a specific claim for VA benefits, if the attorney charged the veteran for preparing the claim, the attorney did so in violation of Section 5904…The better practice would have been to charge the veteran for the pre-filing consultation and simply prepare the claim on a pro bono basis.” (The above is a quote from a letter written by Tim S. McClain, General Counsel of the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, to The Honorable Lane Evans of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Veterans Affairs, dated May 24, 2004.) We strongly recommend that you contact an elder law attorney such as those at Law Elder Law to determine if you qualify. An elder law attorney can assist you and your family by explaining many difficult-to-understand things about long term care. Qualification for a VA benefit is only one of several concerns that must be considered. As you struggle to provide dignified long term care for a wartime veteran and/or surviving spouse, we can help you understand the options. We are your advocates, and we want to help you stretch your hard-earned dollard. VA benefits are only one part of the puzzle. We will hold your hand and guide you every step of the way as we consider all of your family’s resources and needs. Sincerely, Rick L. Law, Attorney and Estate Planner for Retirees. Rick was named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law Elder Law, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future. Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care. Appointments available in Chicago, Aurora, Oak Brook, Schaumburg, and Joliet. Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!