As the population of older Americans continues to grow at a historic pace, the rest of society has scrambled to try and keep up with their needs. Seniors face many of the same legal issues as their younger counterparts; however, they also have some unique legal needs and concerns. To service those needs, a new area of the law evolved known as elder law. The elder law attorneys at Nash Bean Ford & Brown, LLP offer some questions and answers to help you better understand elder law.
- How do I pick the right nursing home for my spouse/parent/loved one? You have likely heard at least one nursing home abuse horror story, making you very leery of putting a loved one in nursing home care. While nursing home abuse and neglect does occur, the good news is that there are also a number of nursing homes that provide skilled and compassionate care. You may wish to begin your search by asking friends, family members, and co-workers for a referral. Once you have a list of possible facilities or providers, do some research. In the State of Illinois, nursing home complaints are handled by the Illinois Department of Public Health. You can also use the Medicare Compare tool online, which is the official U.S. government site for Medicare, to search for and evaluate nursing homes.
- What can I do if I can concerned that a parent is the victim of elder abuse? For many adult children, this is one of their worst nightmares. Fortunately, you do have several options if you are concerned that a parent is being abused. Elder abuse is now a unique criminal offense in most states so reporting your suspicions to law enforcement is one option. In addition, elder abuse can also form the basis of a civil lawsuit.
- What is the difference between Medicaid and Medicare? Although Medicaid and Medicare are often referred to interchangeably, the programs are not related. Both Medicaid and Medicare provide healthcare coverage and are funded by the federal government; however, the similarities top there. Medicare is what is referred to as an “entitlement” program because if you have paid into the program during your working years you are automatically entitled to benefits when you retire. Medicaid, on the other hand, is a “needs based” program, meaning you must demonstrate a financial need for benefits to be eligible to participate. Medicare comes in four parts with basic Medicare offered at no charge. If you wish to participate in the other three parts of Medicare you will pay a monthly premium. There are no monthly premiums for Medicaid.
- Can an elder care attorney help with Medicaid planning? Most basic health insurance plans will not cover the costs associated with long-term care nor will Medicare. Unless you have the resources to cover the high cost of nursing home care out of pocket and indefinitely, you will likely find yourself turning to Medicaid for help. To be eligible, however, you must contend with very low “countable resources” limits that can put your retirement nest egg at risk if you failed to plan ahead. An elder law attorney can help you incorporate Medicaid planning into your overall estate plan to ensure your eligibility when the time comes that you need to qualify for Medicaid.
- What is the Veteran’s Aid & Assistance Program (VA&A)? The Veteran’s Aid & Attendance program is intended to provide additional monetary assistance, above and beyond that provided by other VA programs such as the VA pension program. The additional assistance is intended to help cover the cost of someone to help you with daily tasks of living, such as dressing, bathing, or cooking.
Contact Elder Law Attorneys
For additional information, please download our FREE estate planning worksheet. If you have additional questions or concerns about elder law issues, contact the experienced elder law attorneys at Nash Bean Ford & Brown, LLP by calling 309-944-2188 to schedule your appointment today.