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While it is true that most senior citizens in the U.S. will eventually require long-term care, the majority of them are ill-prepared for the substantial financial burden this care will place on their estates and their families. Financial devastation looms large for a family facing ongoing care at a rate of $10,000 or more per month. An Elder Law attorney can educate families on the laws regarding elder care and help individuals prepare in advance for their own needs and the needs of their loved ones.

Long-Term Care Options
Although there are different options for seniors who need long-term care, many seniors are unable to afford private long-term care insurance or don’t qualify because of age or health condition. Even those who do have some degree of peace of mind afforded by long-term care insurance must still face the fact that many such policies have high deductibles or afford only short stints in a care facility. Thus, many of these seniors still end up relying on Medicaid to fill in the gaps.

Medicaid Eligibility
Medicaid is a joint state-federal program that provides medical care for low-income individuals including elderly people (i.e. 65 years or older) as well as those who are disabled or blind. As the last resort for seniors who are financially crippled, Medicaid remains the largest provider of nursing home care in the United States. Although Medicaid eligibility rules vary from state to state, federal minimum standards and guidelines must be observed.

While Medicaid eligibility with respect to long-term care was fairly simple in the past, this is no longer the case. Legislation like the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 has resulted in stricter eligibility requirements and more complex guidelines. Securing Medicaid now revolves much more than simply reviewing one’s bank statements. Instead, look-back periods, income caps, transfer penalties, and waiting periods make the process much more complicated.

Veterans Benefits under Medicare Eligibility
If you are a veteran aged 65 or older and you qualify for social security retirement benefits, or under the age of 65 and qualify for social security disability benefits, you are automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. You might quality for both Medicare and Veterans Benefits; if that is the case, you can be covered under both but when you receive care, you must choose which program you want to cover the care. In order for the Veterans Administration to pay for your health care, you must go to a VA facility or have the VA approve your care in a non-VA facility. If you obtain care in a facility that the VA will not approve, you might be able to get that care covered by Medicare.

Need a New York or Illinois Elder Law Attorney? Seeking Medicaid or Medicare legal help? Our law firm has the experience and the expertise to help avoid the financial ruin associated with the high cost of long-term care. Contact us today to start the process of understanding the issues surrounding Medicaid eligibility or to speak to a Medicaid attorney.

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