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Could You Qualify for Medicaid or VA Aid and Attendance Benefits?

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Could You Qualify for Medicaid or VA Aid and Attendance Benefits?

Ohio families often face a challenging situation. Someone in the family needs nursing home care. The family wants to get their loved one into a reputable and safe nursing home, but the cost is outrageous. The financial stress may be overwhelming, but there are ways to qualify for government help without risking all of your loved one’s assets.

Medicaid Eligibility for Nursing Home Care

Medicaid will pay for nursing home costs if your loved one is eligible. Unlike Medicare, Medicaid is a needs-based program. To qualify for Medicaid in Ohio, the applicant must:

  • Be an Ohio resident
  • Be a U.S. citizen or have proper immigration status
  • Be 65 or older, blind, or disabled
  • Have certain medical needs that require the requested care
  • Need care for at least 30 consecutive days

Additionally, the applicant must meet certain:

Income limitations

Wages, Social Security benefits, Veteran’s benefits, pensions, annuities, retirement savings, and all other forms of income must be below the current legal threshold. The threshold is higher for married couples than it is for single people who live alone. A small amount of income will not be counted toward the income limitations and instead is considered a personal needs allowance. Additionally, a person may qualify for Medicare if they make more than the income threshold, but their income does not cover all of their medical expenses.

Asset limitations

Medicaid classifies assets as exempt or available. Exempt assets are not considered by Medicaid and may be kept by the applicant. However, if an asset is not classified as exempt, then it is considered available. Available assets are sold and the money goes toward nursing home care before an applicant can receive Medicaid benefits. Ohio has a five-year lookback period for a Medicaid applicant’s assets. That means the state will go back five years to determine if you sold assets for less than fair market value or gifted assets to avoid using assets to pay for nursing home costs.

Special income and asset rules apply if the person needing nursing home care still has a spouse living in the community. For example, the spouse may continue living in the couple’s house and may continue to own a car without impacting the other spouse’s Medicaid eligibility.

Veteran’s Benefits Eligibility for Nursing Home Care

There are a variety of Veteran’s benefits available for people who have served in the United States military and their spouses. Aid and Attendance benefits are an add-on benefit to people who already qualify for a Veteran’s pension.

VA Aid and Attendance benefits may pay for nursing home care for eligible Veterans. Someone who already receives a VA pension may qualify for VA Aid and Attendance benefits if one of the following things is also true:

  • The person needs someone else to help them perform daily activities (such as bathing, feeding, or dressing)
  • The person spends a significant portion of the day in bed because of illness
  • The person is already a nursing home resident because of mental or physical conditions related to a disability
  • The person’s eyesight is limited, even with glasses or contact lenses.

Aid and Attendance benefits are subject to maximum annual payments. The yearly benefits depend on whether the benefits are for a single Veteran, a married Veteran, or the Veteran’s spouse.

How an Elder Law Attorney Can Help You Protect Assets and Qualify for Government Benefits

Medicare and VA Aid and Attendance benefits can help with nursing home costs. With careful planning, an Ohio Medicaid and VA Benefits attorney can help you plan ahead to keep your assets and hard-earned income in the family. Additionally, if you or a loved one need nursing home care now, then we can help you navigate the often frustrating government bureaucracy to help you get Medicaid or VA benefits for nursing home care. We will advise you of all of your options and help you get all of the benefits to which you are legally entitled. Contact us today to learn more.

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