Friday, May 18, 2012

Wyles Johnson, Jr.
Options for Financing the Cost of Long Term Care for Military Veterans

The average private pay cost of skilled nursing home care in North Carolina in 2012 is $6,300.00. However, veterans and their families may be eligible for assistance from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  A qualifying veteran can receive skilled nursing home coverage through two VA systems. The VA operates its own nursing homes and contracts with private facilities throughout North Carolina. Veterans may qualify for nursing home care if they have a service-connected disability rating of at least 70. In addition, North Carolina operates several skilled nursing facilities for veterans, one of which is a 100-bed facility slated to open this spring in Kinston, North Carolina. Eligibility requirements include two years of North Carolina residency. These facilities are state-licensed and approved for Medicare, Medicaid and third-party insurance.

A veteran may also be eligible to receive the VA’s non-service-connected benefit, known as “Aid and Attendance”. This program provides supplemental funds to veterans and their surviving spouses who are struggling to pay for high medical costs, including the cost of home health care, assisted living and skilled nursing home care.  Eligibility for this benefit does not require a service-connected disability. Instead, the veteran must have served 90 days or more of active duty, one day of which must have been during a war-time period, been honorably discharged, have a total and permanent disability and meet certain income and asset limits.
A qualifying veteran or surviving spouse may receive monthly benefits (in 2012) of $1,703 for a single veteran with no dependents, $2,019 for a veteran with one dependent and $1,094 for a surviving spouse of a veteran.

Wyles Johnson is an experienced White & Allen attorney accredited by the VA for the preparation, presentation, and prosecution of claims for veterans benefits.  He and his staff can clarify applicable eligibility requirements, review individual income and assets, and develop strategies for reducing countable income and transferring assets without triggering transfer penalties that may negatively impact the veteran’s or surviving spouse’s future eligibility for Medicaid nursing home benefits.

Wyles Johnson, Jr.
Attorney At Law

Wyles's practice is concentrated in commercial law, general civil litigation, complex business litigation and construction law. His work also has an emphasis on issues encompassed by elder law including Medicaid Planning and Eligibility. In 2009, Wyles earned accreditation for preparation, presentation, and prosecution of claims for veterans benefits before the Department of Veteran Affairs. The above article is not intended as legal advice nor does it create any attorney-client relationship