Frequently Asked Questions
How can I pay for nursing home costs?
When it comes to paying for long-term care, there are generally three options: paying out-of-pocket, using long-term care insurance or applying for Medicaid assistance.
I think we can all agree that we don't want to see our hard-earned savings drained by paying out-of-pocket for care. As for long-term care insurance, it's becoming more and more difficult to come by and difficult to afford, and the simple truth is that most people don't have it. That leaves us with Medicaid.
The problem is that in order to qualify for Medicaid, an applicant must meet strict financial requirements. For example, a single applicant in Virginia will likely be required to "spend down" their assets, including their home, until less than $2,000 remains.
That's why so many people find their life savings circling the drain of nursing home costs.
Thankfully, Medicaid planning can prevent this crisis. With the help of an experienced elder law attorney, you can protect and save your assets while still qualifying for Medicaid.
Medicare vs. Medicaid- what's the difference?
It's important to understand that Medicare does not pay for long-term care. Medicare will cover a stay in a nursing home of up to 100 days if you meet certain medical guidelines, and it will also cover some specialized care. But the government Medicaid program is what you'll need to cover long-term nursing home care.
How can I qualify for Medicaid?
First of all, you must be a US citizen or qualified alien, age 65 or older and in need of long-term care.
Your elder law attorney can help you qualify. Medicaid is a needs-based program, which means that you will have to meet strict financial requirements in order to qualify. For example, a single applicant in Virginia will likely be required to "spend down" their assets, including their home, until less than $2,000 remains. A married applicant will usually be required to go through a partial spend-down of assets as well. For more information, visit our Medicaid Planning page as well as our Links and Resources page.
It's important to note that you don't necessarily have to lose your assets in order to qualify for Medicaid. With the help of an experienced elder law attorney, you may be able to protect what's yours while still qualifying for Medicaid assistance.
How can you help protect my savings?
Experienced elder law attorneys have many tools at their disposal to protect what's yours. When you choose to begin Medicaid planning at Legal Solutions for Seniors, our attorneys will work with you to create a unique strategy tailored to fit your needs.
Can I choose where I receive my care?
Yes, the choice is yours in which nursing home provides your care. Most nursing homes accept Medicaid, although there are some which do not. Those facilities that do not accept Medicaid will generally require that you pay out-of-pocket for the full cost of your care.
Can you help me with other legal services?
We offer a variety of legal services, and if you are in need of a service we don't provide we are happy to refer you to another qualified attorney. We encourage you to contact us about any other legal services you may require.
When I run out of money, is my house at risk?
This is a question we hear very often. Let me start by saying that with the proper Medicaid planning, we will most likely be able to protect your home, but because each case is different the Medicaid plan will be different for each client.
The qualification requirements for Medicaid applicants are different for those who are single and those who are married.
If you are married and have a spouse living at home, then then home is exempt and protected. However, that can quickly change in the unfortunate event that your spouse will may also require long-term care at some point in the future. It's best to discuss how to protect your home with a qualified elder law attorney.
If you are a single Medicaid applicant, your house is exempt and protected as long as you have the "intent to return home." HOWEVER, after you have been in the nursing home for more than six months, Medicaid will consider you unable to return home. You will then be required to sell your house and use the money from the sale to pay for the nursing home costs.
With the proper Medicaid planning, your elder law attorney will be able to help you protect your home. What’s more, in the event that your home should have to be sold, your elder law attorney will be able to help you protect as much of the proceeds from the sale as possible, so that you do not lose it all to the nursing home.
If I qualify for Medicaid, will it cover all my costs?
Medicaid pays all of the costs of nursing homes for those who are eligible, but if you have an income such as a pension or social security, you will still have to pay most of your income toward nursing home costs. However, if you have a spouse still living at home, your spouse may be able to keep some or all of your income.
How can I pay for in-home care?
If you are a veteran or the surviving spouse of a veteran, the Veterans Pension or Survivors Pension can help pay for in-home care. For more information, see our Veterans Pension page and our Links and Resources page.
Medicaid can pay for some in-home care through the Medicaid waiver program, which will pay for up to 20 to 40 hours per week of personal care assistance. In order to qualify for the Medicaid waiver program, however, the same rules apply with regard to your assets, so a single applicant can have no more than $2,000 in assets (other than the home, which is excluded from consideration if the applicant lives in the home). The Medicaid waiver program is limited in scope and applicability, but in the right circumstance, it can help pay for in-home care for qualified applicants.