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She has a monthly SS of under $800.00 a month and deposits to our joint account. Should I start a separate account where only her money goes or will a care facility of some kind draw my retirement along with hers to pay for her care when it becomes necessary? She is also a Military Vet of Vietnam war.

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Look into V.A. AID AND ATTENDANCE! You may be pleasantly surprised since she is a wartime veteran. Good luck. David
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Reply to Dmckinney
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Does she get a vet pension?

So, there are 3 types of Medicaid, Institution, Waiver and Regular. When people mention Medicaid, most do not understand there are different rules.

Since you are referring to institutional care, only your wife's income is considered in the application. You have not provided any of your income information so, I do not know where certain answers here come from. There is a provision called Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance to protect not little old ladies but any spouse receiving less than $2177.50 a month. Based on housing expenses, you may be able to keep some of her SS. Then, there is what is called the Community Spouse Resouce Allowance which allows you to shelter some assets at a higher percentage up to $130,380. Home value to not be taken into consideration is $603,000.

No, you do not need to separate accounts, they will take her SS income from the statements you receive yearly.
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Reply to Stacy0122
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Leave the bank accts as is. If you are thinking of moving her to facility, both incomes are going to be considered anyway. Unless your state offers some really good help in the home via Medicaid, you could wait until you actually plan to move her. Apply about 3 or so months before the move. Keep in mind that in most states there is a 5 year look back period - they look back to see if you have given property away or money, moved money to other accounts - and you have to explain where all of this went.

What you might want to do is call your local Medicaid office and ask some questions. They can tell you how her cost of the nursing home will be determined while you are still living at home. Most states will not take all of the money to pay for facility because they don't want the spouse at home to be 'impoverished' to the point they have no place to live.

Definitely call VA to find out how they can help. You may even live close enough to a VA facility for the type of care she needs. VA offers certain in home help - and even some pay to the caregiver. Worth asking about. She earned these benefits many years ago and deserves to use them
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Reply to my2cents
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There have been recent changes and the VA might be of great help.
Contact your local Veterans Assistance Commission and give them all the information you have.
The most recent change is that now a Spouse can get paid for caring for the Veteran. And they have expanded areas where exposure to chemicals may have led to specific medical conditions. (you would be surprised at what conditions are included)
That is the first place I would start. OR contact either a Social Worker or Patient Advocate at your VA hospital or CBOC (Community Based Outreach Clinic)
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Reply to Grandma1954
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No. It won't make any difference if you open a separate account for her SS. If she has to go into a nursing home and on Medicaid they will already know what her monthly income is.
The nursing home will be the one who will collect her monthly income. Not Medicaid.
They take whatever cash assets she has in her name exclusively, or half of the ones you share jointly. Only her half, not yours. Medicaid will then pay for the rest of her facility costs.
If the married couple owns a house, Medicaid will allow a spouse to remain in their home if it's valued at under a certain amount.
The spouse can also keep a car too. Sometimes (not in your case), Medicaid also allows a spouse to keep a portion of the other's monthly income if it's the main support of the couple. Usually this applies to elderly women who didn't really work much or at all during their lifetimes and their husbands supported them and the family.
In your wife's case though, she might be able to get some help from the VA if she ever needs long term care.
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Reply to BurntCaregiver
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My father was a wartime vet and drew $2200 a month, approximately, back in 2014 for Aid and Attendance benefits from the VA. It was used to help pay for his and mom's care in Assisted Living bc they both qualified for care. Both the vet and the spouse get VA benefits too. Now that dad passed, my mother gets $1244 a month in survivor benefits until she dies. If I apply for Medicaid on her behalf, the Aid and Attendance benefits go away, her Social Security goes away too, and she's given a small allowance for personal needs while Medicaid covers the costs of her stay in a Skilled Nursing Facility. Go see an Elder Care atty right away to sort everything out and to find out what the threshold is for savings in your state to qualify for Aid and Attendance benefits thru the VA. The atty can also steer you to the office that can help you apply if your wife qualifies by not having too much in savings.

Best of luck
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Reply to lealonnie1
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Please see a good elder care lawyer.
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Reply to KathleenQ
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As a VN vet she is entitled to Aid and Attendance. It a pension of sorts. Based on her care needs and what your income and assets are.

No, you don't need to keep your SS separate, you are a married couple. But I would suggest if you have assets over and above your monthly income you consult with a lawyer. Medicaid will allow you to split your assets. Her split being used on her care and when spent down you can then apply for Medicaid. This is if you need to place her in LTC. You become the Community Spouse, stay in the home, have a car and are given enough out of your combined monthly income to live on.

Medicaid "In home" care may have a different criteria but both are based on combined marital income.

I suggest you call your County Office of Aging and ask if there is some one who can explain Medicaid with you.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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You should check with Veterans Affair's for benefits since she is a veteran. Veteran's Affairs can cover at home care for a CNA or home care attendant and they provide other benefits many issuances and Medicare do not normally provide. Also, I can't remember the cut off age, but I think you will be looking into Medicare and not Medicaid.
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Reply to Mmm777
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lealonnie1 Jun 22, 2021
This couple is in their 80s and have been on Medicare since their 60s!
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Each state has it's own Medicaid rules. You will need to check how much it will cover to keep your wife in your home, however I strongly suspect it will not cover 100%. I recommend you invest in a consult with a Medicaid planner in your state, since there can be an application "lookback" period of up to 5 years, so it is easy to innocently cause her to delay being accepted or be disqualified. FYI if she is in a facility Medicaid normally only covers a shared room, but she will receive the same care and attention as non-Medicaid residents.
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Reply to Geaton777
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