When you or a loved one is diagnosed with a disease like ALS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Stroke or the myriad of other conditions that cause you to need assistance with daily living tasks, you know you need help but how do you pay for help? Most people believe that Medicare will pay for care however since Medicare is Health Insurance it does not pay for non-medical care, and for long term care Medicare covers a maximum of 100 days provided that the person needs skilled care after being admitted to a hospital for at least 3 mornings and 3 nights. Most long term care is non-medical care leaving most families to pay for care out of their savings accounts, they borrow money using traditional or reverse mortgages or worse credit cards. Most families don’t know that there are Government benefits that pay for care. Long Term Care Medi-Cal is a benefit designed to cover Skilled Nursing Home Care for middle class families. Long Term Care Medi-Cal has different rules than the poverty based community based Medi-Cal Programs which allows skilled elder law attorneys to quickly qualify a person who needs nursing home care avoiding the state getting your money. California has different rules for qualifying for Medi-Cal benefits than all 49 other states, and attorneys who know the rules will navigate the system often enabling a person to receive full care in a facility within weeks of consulting the lawyer. War Era Veterans can qualify for an enhanced pension (often referred to as “Aid and Attendance Benefits” which can pay a surviving spouse $1,153.00, a single veteran $1,794, a married veteran $2,127.00and two veteran’s married to each other $2,846.00.
The “catch” to getting government benefits is that you need to qualify, and you really need expert advice to qualify. The rules are complicated, and there is more false information on the internet than truth about qualifying for government benefits; and the scary thing is that there are a lot of people who claim to be experts. The National Elder Law Foundation has a process for Certifying that a Lawyer truly is an expert in Medi-Cal, and all the areas of law related to the elderly and disabled, a Certified Elder Law Attorney can provide you with their certification, and will designate themselves as a “CELA”, as with all areas of law, the Certification shows dedication and knowledge in a specific area of law enabling consumers to know the lawyer has proven their expertise. If a person claims to be an expert in Veteran’s benefits they should be an accredited agent, and should be able to provide you with their accreditation number. If a person is not accredited with the Veteran’s Administration they are NOT qualified to give you advice about Veteran’s Benefits.
Martha Patterson is a California Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law, and Certified Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation. She focuses on Elder Law, Asset Protection and Estate Planning. She is a Member of NAELA; Past President of Southern California NAELA. Featured on CNN, Good Morning America, NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox News, and radio stations KABC, KNX, and KKLA. She overcame incredible objections and enabled Kerri and Julie Kasem to visit their dad radio host Casey Kasem. She is a frequent lecturer for NBI, and is a at MCLE events, and public forums.