Senior Care Costs: Shop Early Says Senior Living Expert Lisa Sneddon in Forbes Magazine

Senior care needs can arise suddenly.  In fact, I bet if you asked your friends what their retirement plans are, they would share with you some places they plan on traveling, where they want to live and talk about hobbies they would like to develop.  But mentioning the type of senior care they have in mind will probably be last on the list, if it even makes the list.

American seniors should plan on a 30-year retirement, says Senior Living Expert's Lisa Sneddon in Forbes Magazine's Planning to Make The Right Move in Retirement article.  Lisa is a Caregiverlist advisor and owner of Senior Living Experts which assists seniors, at no charge, to evaluate and choose the right Assisted Living Community. 

Assisted living can be an enjoyable option for active seniors, especially now that builders are offering more innovative communities which include spas, gardens and regular activity excursions along with a continuum of care needs.  Some seniors may cringe when they hear that monthly rent for an assisted living community usually requires at least $4,000 to cover all the necessary extra items.  Supportive living communities may only require $2,500 or more.  However, Sneddon points out that maintaining a house that may have become too large for the senior, and paying for the property taxes, may already eat up this amount of money each month.

Remember, nursing homes really are for acute care needs and cost as much as $8,000 or more per month.  This gives some perspective to assisted living costs.

Learn more about assisted living communities in your area by submitting a request for a senior care plan and learn more about assisted living at Senior Living Experts.

Veteran's Aid and Attendance Benefit: What Caregivers Need to Know

Veteran's of America's wars definitely deserve to be cared for in their senior years, and one of the benefits of being a veteran is having senior care benefits for care in your home for both the veteran and the veteran's spouse.  This benefit is called:  Veteran's Aid and Attendance or VA Aid and Attendance Benefit.  Never heard of it?  You aren't the only one but here are the details of this benefit program and how a veteran can qualify.

The Department of Veteran's Affairs offers the Aid and Attendance Benefit to help cover the increasing senior care costs for veterans of America's wars and their surviving spouses.


V.A. Aid and Attendance Benefit Basic Requirements for Approval

1. The Veteran must have served at least 1 day of active duty during wartime (review approved war dates).

2. The Veteran or surviving spouse must need assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADL's) which must be confirmed and authorized by a physician.

3. Financial requirements must be met which include having under $80,000 in total assets (excluding one home and one car).

This benefit can be approved to provide up to $1703 per month for a Veteran and upt  o $1064 for a Surviving spouse to supplement the cost of senior care needs and medical costs.

The Veteran's Aid and Attendance Benefit, once approved, can be life changing for those in need bu the application process is lengthy and difficult to complete.  There are resources available to help expedite the application process ot ensure your loved one receives the benefit they or their souses fought so hard for by serving in a war.

Working with a V.A. Accredited Claims Agent is a good way to make sure your application is submitted correctly.  An accredited claims agent is able to contact the V.A. directly regarding the application and it's status.  Only the applicant (the Veteran or their spouse) is able to inquire about their application and even then, reaching the right channels can prove challenging.

Following is a quote from an accredited claim's agent.  She and her team of accredited agents have had hundreds of applications approved in record time.

"Many people are surprised to learn of this great government benefit, which provides a monthly award to war-time veterans and their surviving spouses. This tax-free benefit has given many elders the opportunity to age-in-place and afford the care they require.  Many have benefited from this generous support and avoided unnecessary nursing home placement.  I strongly suggest that all advocates for war-time veterans and their surviving spouses, in need of financial assistance, look into this benefit." says Katrina Spooner, the V.A. Accredited Claims Agent with The Cameron Group.

Once approved for senior care and the V.A. Aid and Attendance benefit, a veteran will receive a Care Plan and payments will be made to a licensed senior home care agency.  You may begin the process for approval by contacting your medical doctor or a licensed senior home care agency in your area and request senior care.


Guest Blogger:  Lauren Tyner, Caregiverlist Sherpa and a former senior care case manager for a Geriatric Care Manager in Florida. 


Seniors Receive $250 Economic Recovery Payment

Most seniors who receive Supplemental Security Income or Social Security benefits will enjoy a $250 check in May as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which was recently signed by President Obama. 
But for some seniors, the money raises more questions than answers. It is important to communicate with them and make sure they understand that no action is required on their part.  Caregivers can assist by reviewing the information provided here and making sure seniors understand when to be looking for this payment to arrive.
Take a minute to review a dozen of the most commonly asked questions about the economic recovery one-time payments, as identified by Social Security Online, the official Web site of the U.S. Social Security Administration:
1) Who will receive a one-time economic recovery payment from Social Security?  Nearly 55 million Social Security and SSI beneficiaries will receive the payment.
2) When will the payments be received?  The government expects to process the checks at the end of May and also seniors should receive their payments the first week of June, 2009.
3) How will seniors receive their one-time economic recovery payment?  The payment will be made in the same way they currently receive their Social Security or SSI benefit.  If that payment is normally delivered by check, the stimulus payment will be sent the same way and if it is normally a direct deposit or debit card payment then that is how it will be delivered.
4) Are individuals who receive more than one benefit (Social Security and Veterans or Railroad Retirement benefits) entitled to more than one $250 payment?  No, individuals may only receive one payment.
5) If my spouse and I both receive Social Security or SSI benefits, will we each get a $250 payment?  Yes, each individual qualifies for the economic stimulus payment of $250.
6) If a senior became eligible for Social Security benefits in February, 2009, will they receive the $250 economic recovery payment?  No, only seniors who were eligible for Social Security, SSI, Veterans or Railroad Retirement benefits at any time during the months of November 2008, December 2008 and January 2009 are eligible for the one-time payment.
7) Do seniors need to do anything in order to receive the one-time economic stimulus payment?  No action is necessary.
8) Will seniors receive the one-time economic recovery payment if they have a delinquent federal debt?  The law requires the Treasury Department to offset the one-time payments to collect delinquent child support and debts owed to state and federal agencies.  The government will apply the payment towards the senior's debt to the government if they already owe a debt to a state or federal agency.
9)  Will the one-time economic recovery payment change the amount or delivery date of a senior's regular Social Security or SSI benefit?  No, the one-time $250 payment will have NO effect on the regular Social Security or SSI benefits and will be delivered as a separate payment.
10)  Will the one-time economic recovery payment count as income for SSI?  No, it will not.
11) Will the one-time economic recovery payment count as income when determining eligibility for Extra Help with Medicare Prescription Drug plan costs?  No, it will not.
12) What should a senior do if someone calls or e-mails them asking for personal information to process their one-time stimulus payment? Seniors should not provide personal information to anyone requesting it to process the one-time economic stimulus payment of $250.  To verify any phone calls from someone claiming to be a Social Security employee, you may call 1-800-772-1213 and you may always report suspicious activity involving Social Security programs and operations to the Social Security Fraud Hotline website or by calling:  1-800-269-0271.
You may visit the Social Security website for additional information about the economic stimulus and to have real time updates emailed to you.
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