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Social Security and VA Benefits in Medicaid Planning

Understanding Medicaid Long-Term Care

To achieve eligibility for long-term care Medicaid, an applicant must apply for all other benefits that may be available to him or her. If an applicant fails to avail himself or herself of other benefits that would help defray the cost of long-term care, then the applicant will not be eligible for Medicaid until showing they have applied for all other benefits. These benefits, called "Prerequisite Benefits," include the most common of these benefits: Social Security and Veteran's Benefits.

Social Security

Because long-term care services are typically provided for people over the age of 65, applicants are usually enrolled in the Social Security OASDI benefit program, commonly known as Social Security retirement. Sometimes, blind or disabled people under the retirement age require long-term care and seek Medicaid coverage. In either instance, in order to qualify for Medicaid, an applicant must make a claim with Social Security in order for the application to be approved. Medicaid does not require that the claim actually be approved before Medicaid eligibility begins, however.

VA Benefits

Because VA benefits can be available to Medicaid long-term care applicants, a Medicaid application will typically ask if either spouse is a former member of the armed forces. If the answer is yes, the applicant must make a claim for VA benefits. A Medicaid caseworker is usually prohibited from approving an application for a veteran or a veteran's spouse unless and until the applicant also demonstrates proof that a VA benefits application was filed.

The primary benefit available for veterans seeking long-term care is the VA Improved Pension (VAIP), also known as the Aid and Attendance Benefit. VA benefit eligibility is based on discharge from the military for anything other than a dishonorable discharge. A dishonorable discharge causes disqualification for VA benefits. A veteran with a low income who is permanently and totally disabled or age 65 or older can apply for a VA Improved Pension to make up income. The veteran must have at least 90 days of service, and at least one of those days of service must be during a period of declared wartime.

Contact Our Orleans Parish Medicaid Planning Lawyer for Social Security and VA Benefits

If you have any questions about how Social Security or VA benefits may affect your eligibility for Medicaid long-term care, The Louisiana Medicaid Law Firm can assist you. Contact us at 504-313-6086 to set up an initial consultation today.

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