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Funding long-term care for elderly veterans and their spouses

Q. My elderly parent is a wartime veteran or the surviving spouse of a wartime veteran, and he or she needs long-term care, such as care from an assisted living facility or nursing home.

Matthew Wages Johnson

What kind of help does the Department of Veterans Affairs offer?

Someone described modern assisted living facilities to me as Disney World for senior citizens, and he was right.  I have visited many of them, and the good ones provide daily activities, music, Bible studies, a fun social atmosphere, good dining options, and a caring staff.  In fact, many newer facilities are resort-like in quality.  Good assisted living facilities allow children to know that their parents are in safe environments so that the children can live their own lives without worrying that their parents might fall and injure themselves at home, for example.

Deciding whether to place an elderly parent in long-term care, such as in an assisted living facility or nursing home, can be very tough on many different levels.  It involves accepting that the parent has lost the capacity to live alone, and placing a parent in a facility might mean selling the parent’s house and getting the parent’s financial affairs in order.  More children will make this decision in the next few years as baby boomers become older, and the Atlanta area will add many new facilities for senior citizens during this time.

Quality assisted living facilities give children peace of mind, but they can be very expensive, often costing several thousand dollars per month.  The Department of Veterans Affairs provides a tax-free benefit called Aid & Attendance for qualified wartime veterans and their surviving spouses, and this benefit helps the people who have served our country stay in quality assisted living facilities and nursing homes during their later years.  Applicants must have impairments in at least two activities of daily living, such as  bathing or feeding or dressing, in order to qualify.  A veteran who has at least one dependent can receive up to $2,120.00 per month, which lightens the burden on a family that needs to fund long-term care.

Financial planning is key for any elderly veteran or surviving spouse who needs long-term care, because it impacts not only the veteran or surviving spouse but also his or her children and grandchildren.   A VA pension planning attorney manages qualifying for a VA pension while protecting the client and the client’s family from both financial and personal hardships.  He acts in the best interests of the client, understands how to qualify for benefits as quickly as possible, knows current tax rules, and knows when to use trusts.  He also allows the client to comply with a VA pension’s asset limit, and he can prepare a caregiver agreement that complies with Medicaid and allows the client to comply with a VA pension’s income limit.

For more information on how your veteran or surviving spouse can qualify for a pension, contact the Law Office of Matthew Johnson LLC at 770-910-9920 or  Matthew Wages Johnson is a seventh-generation Gwinnett County native, a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, and a graduate of the University of Georgia, where he earned his undergraduate and law degrees.  He practices probate law and VA law and is a VA-accredited attorney who is passionate about taking care of veterans.