A December 23, 2013 New York Times article titled, “Winning Veterans’ Trust, and Profiting From It” describes a program that’s a darling to many trade contacts I have here in Houston in the long-term care industry because it helps fill vacant assisted-living apartments and nursing-home beds.
The program pays benefits that may be worth more than $20K/year per person from the Veterans Administration Aid and Attendance program. To qualify, you must have a low income, you or your spouse must be a World War II veteran, and there must be a need for long-term care.
One’s income may be naturally low, or made “artificially” low. I know a colleague who helps people qualify for this Veterans’ program. He works for one of the companies mentioned in the article. He makes most of his living offering free assistance with the VA Aid and Attendance program application process. To get applicants’ incomes low enough to qualify for the program, he can sell annuities that are exempt from inclusion in the qualification process, thereby enabling his client to qualify for VA Aid and Attendance benefits.
Quoting from the article, “For the advisers and retirement homes, the attractions are clear. The V.A. program paid $5.1 billion to 514,000 veterans or their survivors this year, up from $3.4 billion in 2007, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. The number of veterans or their spouses receiving the aid and attendance benefits, the stipend for assisted living, has surged by 30 percent — leaping to 206,000 in 2012, from 158,000 in 2006.”
According to the article, qualifying for the VA Aid and Attendance program is not very difficult. Checking and monitoring for appropriate applications is lax (in other words, the VA is understaffed; we already knew this).
This is another example of bureaucratic ineptitude and economically unsustainable legalized theft.
It’s unwise to expect our government to be able to pay for your long-term care.