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The month of May is designated both Older Americans Month and National Elder Law Month. Since 1963, these commemorated occasions have recognized seniors for their valuable presence in society and provided much-needed legal resources for seniors in need. Key areas of traditional legal support include estate planning, elder abuse, long-term care planning, Social Security Insurance or Disability, special needs trusts, conservatorships and guardianships, health care and retirement planning.

Older Americans Month and National Elder Law Month, however, also involve connecting family caregivers to resources on behalf of the millions of seniors who rely on them to meet their basic needs. Accordingly, let us share several ways family caregivers can receive payment for their services with the guidance of their elder law attorney. 1. Veterans Affairs. If an older loved one is a U.S. military veteran, they may qualify for a paid family caregiving benefit. The V.A. provides some veteran-directed home care and veteran-directed community-based care as long as the elder adult is enrolled in a standard V.A. medical benefits package. These benefits can average $2,500 a month and extend to family caregivers who provide home-based personal care services.

2. Private Insurance & Contracts. Certain private insurance policies allow for paid family caregiving. Relatives can also be paid directly from an older family member pursuant to a formalized contract that is developed by their elder law attorney. These arrangements may need to take taxes and other relevant issues into account. An elder law attorney with experience in caregiver advocacy will be able to provide guidance about which choices might be right for you. 3. Medicaid. Unlike Medicare, Medicaid is a federal-state partnership program that varies from state to state. While the program is designed for low-income Americans, Older Americans receiving Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability may be automatically enrolled. Families with more assets may be able to become eligible as well. The key is to work with an elder law attorney who understands the nuances of the Medicaid program, and when the elder may need more help than he or she can safely receive in the home and needs to move to a skilled nursing facility.

Please know that for any of these solutions. as well as your own unique concerns, that an experienced elder law attorney may be your best advocate. If you or someone you know would like more information or specific guidance on legal matters, contact us. We are here to help you and your loved ones get the support you need now, during this important month for elders, and throughout the year.

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