Frequently Asked Questions
An Elder Law Attorney is an attorney dedicated to providing support and assistance for senior citizens who are in need of long-term healthcare, estate planning, and other legal services. Elder Law Attorneys are advocates for the elderly and their loved ones. Most Elder Law Attorneys handle a wide range of legal matters affecting an older or disabled person, including issues related to health care, long term care planning, guardianship/conservatorship, retirement, Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, and other important matters.
No. Medicare starts when you turn 65, even if you retire before then. You may be able to continue medical insurance coverage through your employer or purchase it from a private insurance company until you become eligible for Medicare.
Yes, but be careful. Many times our clients are fortunate enough to be able to receive care within their home. Additionally, sometimes they may even be entitled to VA Benefits to pay for the cost of in-home care. Often this care will be provided by a child instead of an actual in-home care company. This is fine as long as you take the proper steps to set up a care contract so that those payments will not be considered a gift for Medicaid, if the need arises in the future.
Medicaid rules very specifically state that care provided by a family member may only be performed after a proper care contract has been signed between the patient and the caregiver. The care contract must be dated and notarized and accompanied with a certificate from the patient’s physician that says the services are “necessary to prevent the transfer of the client to a residential care or nursing facility.”
Additionally, the care contract must not include companionship and must show the type, frequency and duration of such services being provided to the client and the amount of consideration (money) being received by the provider.
The care contract must be signed by the client or legally authorized representative, such as an agent under a Durable Power of Attorney, Guardian, or Conservator. If the agreement is signed by a representative, that representative cannot be the provider or beneficiary of the care contract.
As long as all these criteria are followed, you will have no problem. However, because the result of not following these rules can be so devastating, it is best to consult with an Elder Law Attorney to have your care contract executed.
No. Your home is an exempt asset. The state cannot make you sell your home to pay for the cost of the nursing home.
For a single person, the same is true; however, because most of your income will go to the nursing home as your patient pay amount, they do not leave you any money to keep up the house. Other family members would have to pitch into pay the mortgage, taxes, insurance, utilities, etc.
Maybe. Under Michigan’s Estate Recovery Act, the state can file a lien on the deceased’s probate estate to recover funds paid out for the Medicaid recipient’s nursing home bill. This is, however, not a lien on the actual home. Therefore, as long as you avoid probate, the state cannot take the house. Because the person was on Medicaid, the only way to do this is with a Ladybird Deed, which transfers the property immediately upon death. A regular Quit Claim Deed transfers the property during the person’s lifetime and is then considered a gift that would be penalized.
Yes. Although there is a requirement that the Veteran served one day during wartime, there is no requirement that the Veteran had to have left the U.S. As long as he was active duty, one day during a wartime period, and meets the other criteria, he can qualify.
Generally, No. However, in circumstances of extreme mental cruelty or physical abuse, the VA has been known to consider these circumstances and consider the application. However, there would have to be unquestionable evidence and documentation to support the claim of abuse. Even with this evidence, the VA may choose not to consider the application.
Yes, for asset transfers that occurred before October 18, 2018, there is a 3 year look-back.
Yes. The veteran or surviving spouse may use a family member caregiver. The family member caregiver is not required to be licensed by the state. However, under no circumstance may the spouse be considered a caregiver. The VA alway considers that care provided by a spouse to be done so out of love and affection for the veteran because they are married.
Additionally, in order to have the family member caregiver services count as an “Allowable Medical Expense”, the provider MUST be paid for their services. The family member caregiver will also be required to sign an Attendant Affidavit for the VA which certifies what services that the family member caregiver is providing and how much that the family member caregiver is receiving for providing said services.
No. No one is can sign the VA application for the claimant, unless the Veterans Administration has previously appointed a Fiduciary. Unfortunately, the VA does not recognize a Durable Power of Attorney. Therefore, even if the claimant’s signature is very poor, it will be accepted by the VA. If the claimant cannot sign their name, he or she may mark the document with an “x”, but then the signature needs to be witnessed by two unrelated people.
No. If you are already receiving benefits from a service connected disability, you cannot also receive benefits from a non-service connected disability. However, if you apply for the Aid and Attendance Pension, and are awarded more than your service connected disability benefit, the VA will pay you whichever is greater.