Do you sometimes feel like Dorothy, watching in horror as the sand trickles relentlessly through the wicked witch’s hourglass? When your elderly loved ones start using up their life savings to pay for home care, it’s bound to strike fear into your heart.
Where will it end? What happens if they run out of money? Is it time to find a Connecticut elder law attorney?
A common scenario
Let’s say your dad – we’ll call him Bill, a widower – has a stroke. Bill spends several days in the hospital and is discharged to a short-term rehab facility.
After two months he has reached the point where he has made as much progress as he’s going to make. Bill wants to go home.
The facility recommends 24-hour care at home. You help him hire caregivers through a home care agency and the meter starts running at the rate of $6-7,000/month. Within a year, Bill’s savings have been depleted by $80,000.
At this rate, he will be broke in another 10 months.
One way to make the money last longer is to plan ahead to get Bill on the Connecticut Home Care Program for Elders, the program we discussed in our last post. Once he has spent down to $34,776 in assets, he can apply for the state-funded program.
There is a 7% cost share toward his care plan in this category, and
- The state pays the other 93%
- There is no limit on income, but if he made more than $1,916 per month, he would possibly have to contribute more toward his care.
Bill’s income is $1,800 a month. The state-funded program has a cap and would not cover all of the care he is receiving. But it would sure help to reduce the monthly bill.
Once Bill has spent down to $1,600 in assets, he is eligible to apply for the Medicaid Waiver, another category of the Connecticut Home Care Program for Elders. There is significantly more help available on the Medicaid Waiver, and there is no cost share.
Something to consider when planning for long-term care for your loved ones is how to protect assets, such as their home. In this case, without a plan, the state would possibly seek to recover the cost of Bill’s care while he was on the home care program from his estate. On the other hand, transferring assets may make your loved one ineligible for the program for a period of time.
Like Dorothy with her ruby slippers, when you’re trying to protect assets it may feel like there’s nowhere to run. The right help from an elder law attorney can make all the difference.