Ways to Avoid the Nursing Home

Ways to Avoid the Nursing Home

No one wants to live in a nursing home, especially in these times of COVID. Although in some cases the needed care may be so great that only a nursing home can give round the clock care, having your loved one at home may be a realistic option for many Connecticut families. That is because Connecticut has two programs that provide care at home which fall under the Connecticut Home Care Program for Elders. The lower level program is funded by Connecticut and can pay up to $2973 per month toward care. A 9% co-pay must be paid, but that amount of care is enough hours per day to allow many people to stay in their home.

The eligibility rules require a single person to be below $37,926 in countable assets, and a married couple below $50,568. But the house does not count.

For someone needing more care, Connecticut has a program partly paid by Connecticut and partly by the federal government called the Medicaid Waiver Program. It can pay up to $5945 per month and in some cases that can mean 24-hour live-in care if the caretaker can get at least 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. The applicant must be below $1600 in countable assets, but federal and state rules allow a healthy spouse to keep significantly more assets. That is
where knowing the rules and carefully following them can allow the healthy spouse in most families to keep almost all of their life savings.

There is an income limit of $2349 for the spouse needing care, but most people can still qualify by putting their income over $2349 into a “pooled trust”, and then each month using that excess money to pay for various living expenses. 

For Wartime Veterans, or their widows, there is still another source of funding called
Veterans Administration Aid and Attendance. A married veteran can get up to $2266 per month, and a widow can get up to $1228 per month. My mother in law is a WWII veteran and she gets the $1911 as a single veteran to go toward her assisted living home costs. That’s $22,932 per year.

The eligibility rules are very different for single people, compared to a married couple. It is fair to say that the average married couple who gets good advice and follows the rules can keep almost all their assets and get significant care to stay at home. 

In addition, many people with low income can automatically qualify for the Qualified
Medicare Beneficiary program. A single person below $2196 per month, or a married couple below $2973 a month can have their Medicare Part B premium paid and all Medicare deductibles and co-insurance paid. People are given a silver colored “connect” card showing they are on QMB and the application is a simple form that can be completed without outside help.

Connecticut has some of the strictest eligibility rules in the country, but if a person
qualifies, it has well funded programs to try to keep people at home, where they want to be. If you or your spouse, or any other elder person in Connecticut needs care, get sound advice on what is available, what the rules are, and how you 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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