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Good Things To Know

Good Things To Know

This is a very brief outline of good things to know if anyone in your family might need long term care. For a typical married couple, it is almost always possible to get help paying for long term care at home, or if absolutely necessary, in a skilled nursing facility. For wartime veterans up to $23,238 per year may be available, and for the surviving spouse of a wartime veteran, up to $14,934 per year may be available.

Connecticut has its own state funded program that can pay up to $2,973 per month for care at home, and there is a 9% copay. For those who need more care, Medicaid (Title 19) is the answer. That can pay up to $5,945 per month for care. The applicant cannot have more than $1,600 in their name (the house does not count) but the anti “impoverishment” rules permit the healthy spouse to take steps to protect almost all the assets. That means everything but the $1,600 for the sick spouse must be transferred to the healthy spouse. That is where a thorough and updated Power of Attorney is critical, because, if the sick spouse cannot sign for himself or herself, someone else must have power to sign for them.

A key thing to know is that one spouse can transfer assets at the last minute to the healthy spouse, and then using the many rules on how to spenddown, on both countable and non-countable assets, it is usually possible to save all the average family’s assets. The federal and state laws permit this, because long ago Congress realized it did no good to wipe out all the assets of both spouses, as they could not then afford to live at home. For any married couple it cannot be said enough that the key is to have an up to date Power of Attorney so that the car, the house, investments, and even IRA’s or 401ks might be transferred to the healthy spouse, without paying income tax. The Power of Attorney must have specific terms in order to accomplish such a transfer with a courts order.

There are income limits to the home care program, but if the sick spouse’s income
exceeds the limit of $2,382, there is usually a way to solve that by putting the excess monthly income into a “pooled trust”, which is a trust account that the state allows at Plan of Connecticut. The excess income is then used for various living expenses and will not disqualify the needy person from getting home care. That care is usually provided by a state licensed company, but it is possible in some cases to have a child paid for providing care.

Knowing how these rules work is not simple and requires both knowledge and
experience. Taking the right steps in the right order is key. At national meetings with elder law attorneys, we find that Connecticut has some of the strictest rules, but at least up to now it does provide funding for home care if the applicant is physically and financially qualified.
Attorneys Stephen O. Allaire (Of Counsel) and Halley C. Allaire are partners in the law firm of Allaire Elder Law.
Attorneys Stephen O. Allaire (Of Counsel) and Halley C. Allaire are members of the National Academy of Elder Law. Attorneys, Inc.
Allaire Elder Law is a highly respected, and highly rated law firm with offices in Bristol, CT.
We can be contacted by phone at (860) 259-1500 or by email.

If you have a question, send a written note to us and we may use your question in a future column.




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