The limited number of subsidized Assisted Living slots has made Rest Homes a viable alternative for many physically and mentally impaired elders in Massachusetts. The care in a Rest Home is greater than that of an Assisted Living facility, but not as encompassing as traditional Nursing Home care. Although Rest Homes are less expensive than Nursing Home care, they are not a long term solution for many families. If financial planning begins early, Emergency Aid to Elders, Disabled and Children (EAEDC) may be an alternative to help you or a loved one cover the costs of continued Rest Home care.
After he experienced frequent debilitating strokes, Maura decided to move her father, Joe, from his condominium in Newton to a local Rest Home less than ten minutes away from her house in Worcester. At a cost of $7,500 per month, Maura figures that Joe’s assets of $275,000 will finance just three years of Rest Home care. She knows that Rest Homes do not accept MassHealth for payment, like her mother-in-law is currently taking advantage of in a Nursing Home. Joe doesn’t need that type of care yet and Maura would like to keep him as active and independent as possible. The director of the Rest Home mentioned the EAEDC program and how it may assist Maura and Joe in financing his care in the long run. He recommend that they speak with an Elder Law attorney familiar with the program. Maura learned with the right financial planning Joe can be approved for EAEDC payments to the Rest Home and some of his hard-earned assets can be kept within the family.
A state-funded welfare program administered by the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance, to qualify for EAEDC, you must be a senior aged sixty-five or older, with very little resources, not qualifying for other cash assistance programs such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Veteran’s Services Benefits (VSB). The maximum value of your money and property cannot exceed $250, including bank accounts, IRAs, stocks, bonds, cash, and surrender value of life insurance policies and cars. To reach this miniscule amount, like Joe, one often has the choice of either exhausting available resources in effort to apply for EAEDC and similar state-funded programs, or transferring assets to his or her family members to render eligibility for state funding.
One significant advantage of the EAEDC program concerns its “look-back” period on the transfer of assets. If Joe were to transfer his assets to Maura for less than fair market value within the twelve months prior to the date of application for EAEDC, he would be subject to a period of ineligibility. In comparison with MassHealth’s five year “look-back” period, EAEDC appears much more generous. Additionally, applicants for EAEDC lose the right to retain individual health insurance coverage, but become eligible for MassHealth coverage (even if a person’s income exceeds the limits normally established for MassHealth).
However, one must be careful not to disqualify themselves for future MassHealth coverage of the Nursing Home stay due to sloppy EAEDC planning. Sometimes a person can deteriorate and no longer be appropriate to continue in a Rest Home. Both programs qualifications vary and are very specific. If you or a loved one plans on entering a Rest Home in the near future but want to keep hard-earned assets within the family, your best bet would be to undertake advanced financial planning with an Elder Law attorney, like Kristina Vickstrom, who is experienced in both the MassHealth and the EAEDC programs.