Our Top-Notch NY Elder Law Attorneys Explain If You Can Obtain Both VA and Medicaid Benefits

If you are a low-income veteran planning for long-term care, you may wonder if you should rely solely on benefits from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) or try to obtain Medicaid benefits as well. Understanding how each program works individually is important to understanding whether or not you can receive both. Here, the dedicated NY elder law attorneys of Alatsas Law Firm discuss why veterans are unlikely to receive both Medicaid and VA benefits. Obtaining both VA and Medicaid benefits

Medicaid Eligibility in New York

Medicaid is designed to help low-income people and families with comprehensive healthcare coverage. To qualify for Medicaid, applicants must meet strict financial requirements, which can vary by state. The New York Department of Health publishes income guidelines yearly for Medicaid eligibility.

Generally, Medicaid eligibility is based on:

  • Income. Medicaid has strict income limits that include all money received, such as wages from work, military pay, veterans’ benefits, Social Security benefits, pensions/annuities, unemployment, stock disbursements and interest payments, and any other sources of income such as alimony or child support, income from renters, etc.
  • Assets. There are limits on the amount of assets you can own. Common exclusions from Medicaid asset limits are typically your primary residence such as a house you own, select personal belongings, and certain types of vehicles.
  • Residency. To be eligible for Medicaid, you must be a legal resident of the U.S. in the county or state where you’re applying. If you weren’t born in the U.S., you must have physical presence in the state where you’re applying and intend to remain there permanently.

VA Benefits Eligibility

Benefits from the VA are available to those who have served in the U.S. military and meet specific service and discharge requirements. VA benefits can include healthcare coverage, disability compensation, pensions, and more. VA eligibility criteria include the following:

  • Service. Veterans must have served a minimum period, which varies depending on the time of service.
  • Discharge status. Generally, only veterans with a discharge status other than dishonorable are eligible.
  • Financial need. For certain VA benefits, such as the VA pension, you must demonstrate financial need.

Can You Receive Both VA and Medicaid Benefits?

Few people can receive benefits from both the VA and Medicaid. Typically, you’re expected to choose whichever one provides the better benefits for you. While you may meet eligibility guidelines for both, you can’t use one service as a primary point of coverage and then have the other service pick up what the first service doesn’t.

When planning for long-term care or even a lengthy rehabilitation and recovery stay in a facility after a medical incident, careful consideration of both options is warranted if you qualify for both. An experienced New York elder law attorney can help you understand the different qualifications, regulations, and benefits of each option so you can select the one that’s best for you—now and in the future.

What to Discuss With Your Lawyer for Long-Term Care Planning

When planning for long-term care, such as in an assisted living facility, skilled nursing home, or rehabilitation facility, consulting with an experienced elder law attorney who knows how to work with veterans is important. They can evaluate your personal needs and help you create a plan for long-term care that offers you the best coverage from your available options.

Points to discuss with an elder law lawyer:

  • Eligibility. An experienced lawyer can review your eligibility for both VA benefits and Medicaid and discuss the positives and negatives of each.
  • Income and asset management. If you have assets that could complicate your Medicaid eligibility, your lawyer can discuss strategies for managing your income and assets to ensure you meet eligibility requirements.
  • Long-term care options. Your attorney should be able to discuss different long-term care options and how they could be financed through the VA or Medicaid.
  • Estate planning. Planning for what happens after you’re gone can help protect your assets and provide for your family.
Ted Alatsas
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Trusted Brooklyn, New York Family Law Attorney helping NY residents with Elder Law and Asset Protection