Home Care Help

Home Care Help

Everyone wants to avoid the nursing home, so if long term care is needed, getting home care help is the answer. How to pay for that care is the question. Using family resources is one option, but that can deplete life savings very quickly, so Connecticut and the Veterans Administration offer several programs to help pay for that care.
A wartime veteran who is single and who qualifies could get up to $1,911 per month, and if married, up to $2,266 per month. A widow of a wartime veteran could get up to $1,228 per month.

The Connecticut Home Care Program for Elders has several categories of aid. Level II, called State Funded, is for someone who does not need enough care for Medicaid, and can pay up to $2,973 per month, but it does have a 9% co-pay. To qualify financially a single person cannot have more than $38,592 in countable assets, and if married, the couple cannot have more than $51,456. The house does not count and income does not matter. As a practical matter this typically provides about 26 hours per week.

The highest level of care is Medicaid and can pay up to $5,945 per month, or $71,340 per year. In some cases that could be 24-hour care, so that is significant. For Medicaid, the income limit for the applicant of $2,349 per month, but if married, the healthy spouse’s income does not count. If income is too high, the excess income can be paid into what is called a pooled trust, and used for living expenses and then the excess income does not count. To qualify for Medicaid, the applicant cannot have more than $1,600 of countable assets. But if married, special rules allow the healthy spouse to keep half of the countable assets, but not more than $128,640, and under federal law, the healthy spouse may be able to put the assets above the exempt amount into a type of investment that no longer counts as an asset. So a married couple could conceivably have a house, a car, and most of their life savings and qualify to get home care paid by Medicaid.

There is another number that is especially helpful to people with very low income. If a single person has income below $2,196 per month, or a married couple below $2,973 per month, they are eligible as a Qualified Medicare Beneficiary and their Medicare Part B premium ($144.60 per month) will be paid for them, plus all Medicare deductibles and coinsurance. All it takes is a simple application showing the monthly income and it will be approved without any complicated approval process.

Last, Connecticut has expanded home care to try to cover people under the age of 65 with a program called Community First Choice. In this program the family manages their own care.

These are enough numbers to make anyone’s eyes roll, but the numbers do not explain how to qualify. For that families need to get thorough, competent advice on how to navigate the numerous rules and then do an application for the appropriate program that will meet the legal requirements. The help is there if families can qualify.
Attorneys Stephen O. and Halley C. Allaire are partners in the law firm of Allaire Elder Law.
Attorneys Stephen O. 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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