"Planning for Eldercare" March 17 , 2009
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by Katie Rodriguez Banister

This article reprinted with permission from the National Care Planning Council for
non-commercial use.
Find original article  at this webaddress:
"Planning for Eldercare" March 17 , 2009

“My personal mission is to give back to the community including using my
business knowledge and expertise to help others achieve personal success.”
Janet L Heitzig, CLU, ChFC, CLTC
Principal Financial Group
14755 N Outer 40-Ste 110
Chesterfield, MO  63017
Phone  636-449-0734     Fax  1-866-488-0903
Securities and advisory products offered through Princor Financial
Services Corporation, 800-247-1737 , member SIPC, Des Moines, IA   50392.  
Senior Strategies, L.L.C. is not an affiliate of Princor.  
Princor Registered Representative, Financial Advisor, Financial Representative,
Principal Life Insurance Company.
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Thank You
Janet L. Heitzig, CLU, ChFC, CLTC
for sharing this ariticle with us.

Janet has studied extensively under Ed Slott,
nationally-known CPA, tax-advisor, and IRA planning expert.
(You may have seen Ed Slott programs on PBS.)
Little-Known Government Program

IN THIS COUNTRY could receive up to
$1,949 a month in additional income from
the government to help cover their elder
care costs? THEY CAN!

Under the right circumstances, a little-known federal program will
pay additional income to cover long term care costs for at least 1/3
of all US senior households -- that's how many war veterans or
their surviving spouses there are in this country. But the provisions
of this program are such a well-kept secret that only 4.7% of US
seniors are actually receiving the benefit. The great news about
this program is the Department of Veterans Affairs will pay you to
hire your family, friends or just about anyone to take care of you.
(Caregiving spouses can't be paid under this program).

The program is called "Veterans Pension."

Most people who have heard about Pension know that it will cover the costs of assisted
living and, in some cases, cover nursing home costs as well. But the majority of those
receiving long term care in this country are in their homes. Estimates are that
approximately 70% to 80% of all long term care is being provided in the home. All of the
information available about Pension overlooks the fact that this benefit can also be used
to pay for home care.

It also comes as a surprise to most people that the Department of Veterans Affairs
will allow veterans' households to include the annual cost of
paying any person such as family members, friends or hired
help for care when calculating the Pension benefit. This
annual cost is deducted from household income and used to
calculate a lower "countable income" which in turn enables
families to receive this disability income from VA.
Even though VA
claims the benefit is for low income families, because of the special provision in the
regulations -- allowing for deduction for care costs -- households earning between $3,000
to $6,000 a month or more can still qualify for Pension under the right conditions.

This extra income can be a welcome benefit for families struggling to provide eldercare for
loved ones at home.
Under the right circumstances, this annualized
medical expense for the cost of family members,
friends or any other person providing care, could
create an additional household income of up to
$1,056 a month for a single surviving spouse of a
veteran, up to $1,644 a month for a single veteran
or up to $1,949 a month for a couple.

If the disabled care recipient has been rated "housebound" or
in need of "aid and attendance" by VA, all fees paid to an
in-home attendant will be allowed as long as the attendant
provides some medical or nursing services for the disabled
person. The attendant does not have to be a licensed health
professional. There is also no need to distinguish between
medical and nonmedical services -- all are deductible.

For a disabled person who has been rated "in need of aid and
attendance" or "housebound", a family member will be
considered an in-home attendant, but that family member has
to be paid for services duly rendered. There is potential for
fraud here where a family member may move into the home
and ostensibly receive payment as a caregiver but not actually
provide the level of care paid for.

Documentation for this care must be provided to
VA, and it is reasonable for VA to question
whether the services being purchased from a
family member living in the household are
legitimate. Such arrangements should be
extensively documented and
completely arm's-length.

The care arrangements and payment for home
care must be made prior to application and there
must be evidence that this care is needed on an
ongoing and regular basis. We recommend a
formal care contract and weekly invoice billing for
services. Money must exchange hands and
federal law requires employment taxes must be
withheld and there must be evidence of this. All of
this documentation must be provided as proof to
VA when making application for the pension
benefit. Costs for these services must be
unreimbursed; meaning these costs are not paid
by insurance, by contributions from the family or
from other sources. VA will allow, however, family
caregivers being paid by their loved ones, to turn
around and pay the household bills for their loved
ones to help defray the cost of the care.

Due to the need for a rating, documentation for annualizing care costs and the extensive proof needed to
show the caregiver is indeed an employee of the care recipient, most people should not try this on their
own. An expert in this area should be sought to help with the application in order to avoid lengthy delays
in awarding a benefit or a possible denial of benefits.
For a list of individuals or
companies in your area who understand how to get this benefit go to
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