VA Nursing Care Benefits, Nursing Care and In Home Care

The VA benefits program encompasses a wide network of opportunities.  Benefits may be available for those who have served as active-duty military service members and been given official discharge status as well as members that are actively serving. In addition, benefits can vary from state to state.  Once a member has served 24 consecutive months or finished their active-duty period, which can be only 90 days, they can begin looking at the benefits available through the VA.  A common question for older veterans is whether there are VA nursing care benefits available to them and how they can become eligible for the VA to pay for nursing care both in-home as well as in a care facility.   

*This blog is for educational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice.  The use of the Paths Law Firm website does not constitute a client-lawyer relationship.

The program includes a variety of stipulations before determining eligibility. The enrollment process involves priority groups, which are divided based on a long list of legal factors including discharge status, length of service, dates of service, financial assets, income limits, service-connected disabilities, and more. All of this information can be obtained through the benefits program during the enrollment phase. It’s important to note the availability of VA services or resources will vary depending on these groups. 

For those seeking access to VA nursing care benefits, for either in-home assistance or nursing home care, it’s recommended to go through the eligibility requirements before applying. 

va benefits nursing care

 

Here’s a detailed look at the main qualifications and the benefits they entail.

VA Nursing Care Benefits Qualifications

The first step to qualify for nursing care benefits involves a rigorous eligibility evaluation to determine who does and doesn’t receive benefits under the established VA program. These eligibility rules and regulations periodically change and are typically updated on the Veterans Administration website. It’s best to seek legal assistance when it is time to qualify for VA benefits to ensure these requirements are met. 

Based on studies done on the subject of VA benefits and qualifications, there are set costs involved in Missouri for services including home care, assisted living, and nursing facility care. These costs tend to fall below the average nationwide and can vary from place to place. Each city and/or region has its specific requirements during qualifications and include the set costs in place. 

If a veteran and their spouse do not qualify for the Aid & Attendance Pension Benefit then the associated benefits available through the VA program can be used to offset these costs. This benefit can offer up to $1,794 per month to vets, $1,153 per month to spouses, and $2,127 per month to couples. There are additional stipulations in place for veterans with ill spouses.

VA Benefits Based on Priority Groups

Before enrolling in the VA benefits program, veterans will be split into different priority groups. These groups include a specific segment reserved for those with disabilities caused by active-duty service in the military. In addition, a veteran that was disabled during active-duty service and has a 50% disability (minimum) will be placed in Priority Group 1. Please note, this doesn’t mean veterans without disabilities are ineligible benefits. This is only used as a determining factor for when the enrollment goes through.  This determines the benefits a veteran is eligible to receive, and how much they receive.

Benefits are based on VA Priority groups.  You can find more information on Priority groups here: https://www.va.gov/health-care/eligibility/priority-groups/.  

VA Income and Financial Limits

The VA has a specific set of financial requirements in place for those enrolling in the benefits program. These limits are based on household income for the previous year and or net worth.

For the state of Missouri, the annual income limits are set as follows – 

  • Pension – $18,008
  • Household Benefit – $21,063
  • Aid & Assistance – $27,195

It’s recommended to go through these annual income limits with an experienced legal professional to determine where you fit. This can prove to be an important part of the process especially for those with multiple dependents at home.  At Paths Elder Law, we focus on helping seniors and their families through legal solutions.  If you need assistance with VA benefits,  Contact us to schedule an appointment.

applying for va nursing care benefits

Discharge Status for Veterans

Veterans are required to show at least 90 days on active duty if active duty started before September 8, 1980 and a two-year record of active-duty service if started after September 8, 1980.  Please note, any veteran that has been dishonorably discharged will not be eligible for VA benefits. 

In some cases, there are exceptions made for those who don’t meet the length of service stipulation, and these include:

  • Veterans Discharged/Released From Active-Duty Due To A Personal Hardship
  • National Guard or Reservists Called To Active-Duty During Term
  • Veterans Discharged Before Sept 7th, 1980
  • Veterans Needing Treatment Due To Disability Before Term Was Completed

If there is any doubt regarding the discharge status, it’s best to seek legal assistance and determine whether or not the veteran or the surviving spouse is eligible for VA in-home care and/or VA nursing care benefits

Concerning geographic criteria, veterans are not impacted based on where they reside as there are national regulations in place for who is eligible and who is not. However, there are differences in the maximum allowable amount of income changes depending on where a veteran legally lives at the time of application.  

Also, there is no impact when it comes to a veteran’s personal life (i.e. age, marital status) to receive VA benefits. The only time this specific factor plays a role is when the enrollment is designed to assist multiple dependents at home and when the household income is determined. It’s important to understand the annual income limits based on the rules in place for multiple dependents when applying for VA nursing care benefits.

General Information for VA Nursing Care Benefits

There are VA benefits for in-home care and nursing home care that may be compensated directly to personal care attendants, medical care facilities, and medical professionals. These benefits may not come in the form of cash deposited to a veteran’s account. This includes the amount that is made available to veterans in Priority Group 1 (see priority group information above). For those receiving any form of long-term care, there are co-pays involved that will range depending on a person’s case (i.e. $0-$100/day). Veterans that have any type of service-connected disability are not required to participate in co-pays. 

When the application is made, a VA representative will go through all relevant information including IRS filings to determine whether or not an individual is eligible. This process may take 2-3 months, or longer depending on complexity and the VA’s backlog.

Time Limits

Before receiving access to any type of VA benefit, it’s important to note there are time limits for those not dealing with service-connected disabilities.

Any veteran that is not eligible for being in one of the priority groups can only receive 6 months of care, but this can be cut to 1-2 months depending on the resources available at the time. Only veterans in priority groups can receive as much long-term care as necessary to keep them medically stable. However, even in these cases, the stays may be cut based on resources and priority between groups.

veterans nursing care benefits

VA Nursing Care Benefits for Long Term Needs

Skilled Nursing – This refers to specialized nursing care provided at VA nursing homes, within VA-based homes, or State Veterans homes. The nursing care benefits are provided to those not living close to their family. The program itself is divided into two distinct categories depending on the veteran’s eligibility. The first program is for temporary care and is termed as “Community Living Center Care,” while long-term care services are termed as “Community Nursing Home Care.” 

For this determination to be made, individuals applying for benefits must be assessed by a medical provider to determine what’s required medically. This includes assessing how medically stable a veteran is at the time of application. 

Assisted Living – The VA also provides access to Assisted Living care through the CRC (Community Residential Care Program). Veterans receiving assisted living care through this program will receive specialized access to clinical and administrative services. Assisted living care is offered through VA facilities and/or government-approved facilities depending on the location. There are additional specialized assisted living programs to aid those dealing with dementia and Alzheimer’s. 

In-Home Care – Veterans requiring assistance at home can also be enrolled in the in-home care program through the VA. This is titled as the VA’s “Homemaker and Home Health Aide Program” and it comes along with specialized options for approved members. This determination is made after a veteran shows they require someone at home for regular assistance. There are a variety of costs associated with this program based on which priority group a veteran is in at the time of enrollment. 

Day Care – The VA offers access to a variety of adult day care programs to provide consistent supervision to those in need. These programs provide care for veterans during daytime hours when family members are not at home. This is an ideal option for those looking to stay at home while receiving appropriate care.

nursing benefits through va

Additional Benefit Programs

The VA has alternative programs in place to assist those wanting to manage their personal care and/or health program instead of going through the government-regulated solutions. In these situations, the veteran will be eligible to go through what is termed as the Veterans Directed Home and Community Based Services.” 

In these cases, a veteran will have access to respite, palliative, hospice, and telehealth services as deemed necessary. 

It is important to note that there are no added costs associated with those enrolling in these programs. The only costs that can be deemed necessary are through approved co-pays. 

In the state of Missouri, there are multiple care homes spread throughout the region.  For those looking to receive long-term care, the veteran is required to be a legal resident in the state of Missouri for 180 days. There are also additional requirements including being medically approved for long-term nursing care and not having a dishonorable discharge on record.

Property Tax Credits To Help With VA Nursing Care

Along with VA home care benefits in the state of Missouri, veterans are also eligible for additional benefits such as property tax credits.

To determine these credits, veterans will have to file a separate claim. This claim can lead to 100% credits on all property tax costs paid for the year. However, there are set limits in place for these credits ($1,100 for homeowners, $750 for renters). Your personal amount is determined after a complete assessment of your real estate taxes/rent paid and total household income. 

va property tax credit

War Veteran’s Survivor Grant Program

The War Veteran Survivor Grant Program is available for family members associated with a veteran that was injured or died during combat. This grant program is also set up for those whose family member(s) fell ill during combat action or became disabled due to what took place in combat. 

For family members to be eligible, the veteran must have been a resident at the time of joining the military service or when they were injured or died.

Application Process

For individuals wanting to apply for VA benefits, legal assistance is available.  It’s recommended to work with a reputable attorney that has experience with the process.  Many VA forms such as the Form 10-10EZ, for veterans with disabilities, include a variety of legal details that are expected to be filled out before the approval comes through. For veterans without any type of service-connected disability, a separate form is required to be filled out – VA Form 10-10EC. This form will inquire about specific personal information including current income levels. Once this information is processed, the benefits and copay’s for long-term care are established.

veterans benefit process

At Paths Elder law, we can help.  When we meet, we will talk to you about your goals and provide different options available to you based on the VA’s qualifying factors.  We will work with you to obtain all the documentation required to file for VA benefits and to make the process as smooth as possible.  

Paths Elder Law has the experience and knowledge to help determine VA eligibility.  We help plan and apply for the most benefits available to you.  If you or someone you know needs assistance with VA Benefits, Contact Us to Schedule an Appointment.

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Community Relations

Jeane M. Fracassa

Community Relations

Jeane M. Fracassa

Jeane Fracassa – a dedicated and accomplished professional who retired with an impressive 38-year service record from the Kansas City Missouri Police Department. Throughout her illustrious career, Jeane served as a Civian Supervisor in the Communications Unit, where she played a pivotal role in ensuring efficient and effective communication within the department.

Even in retirement, Jeane’s commitment to community service remains unwavering. Currently, she serves in various capacities within Community Relations at Paths Law Firm. Actively engaged in the Lee’s Summit and Overland Park communities, she proudly represents the law firm.

In all aspects of her life, Jeane Fracassa exemplifies the values of community, compassion, and family. Her commitment to making a difference and her love for exploration make her a remarkable individual, whose presence brightens the lives of those she encounters. Whether at work, with family, or during her travels, Jeane’s genuine care for others and her zest for life make her a truly remarkable and inspiring person.

Administrative Assistant

Laura E. Messer

Administrative Assistant

Laura E. Messer

Laura is the Law Firm’s marketing assistant, supporting all marketing tasks, including managing calendars, researching upcoming events, updating marketing software and spreadsheets, and partnering with organizations to maintain relationships that benefit Paths Law Firm’s clients.  Laura is also the law firm’s professional photographer as she provides the professional photographs for the headshots, organizations, events, and networking.

Laura has over 10 years of experience as a professional photographer.  She is also Adobe and Microsoft Certified.  She graduated from Columbia College, Columbia, Missouri with her Bachelor of Arts degree, Magna Cum Laude, in Behavioral Psychology (minors in Social Work and Criminal Justice), and her Photographic Craftsman degree from Professional Photographers of America. She is certified as a Qualified Mental Health Professional, Certified Gentle Teacher, Medicaid Billing Certified, Crisis Intervention Counselor, and a Missouri Notary.

Laura has been married more than 26 years and has a daughter and a son. She has four brothers, a niece, and a nephew. Her four spoiled pets that love her attention. A lot of Laura’s off time is spent taking photos and she is an internationally published photographer. Laura owns a studio on the historic Independence Square. 

Administrative Assistant

Holly D. Bramble

Administrative Assistant

Holly D. Bramble

Holly is our newest member of the administrative team. She is hardworking, has proven organizational skills and excellent communication skills. Holly has transitioned to the Estate Planning field from healthcare administration where she gained valuable knowledge that has contributed to her success here at Paths.

Holly enjoys spending time with loved ones, cheering for the Chiefs, and relaxing on the beach.

Administrative Assistant

Tressa L. Purdy

Administrative Assistant

Tressa L. Purdy

Tressa has the important role of being a client’s initial point of contact as the law firm’s receptionist for all locations.  She also welcomes, assists, and cares for clients at the Lee’s Summit office. Additionally, she provides support in an administrative capacity for the attorneys, staff, and clients.  When you meet Tressa, the first quality many note is her readiness to be of assistance.

 

Tressa is a graduate of Park Hill High School with extensive administrative experience and executive level management. Tressa brings a stability and comfort to the law firm experience having worked in a variety of industries and having lived in six different major metropolitan cities.

 

Tressa has a daughter, two sons, and one grandchild.  In her free time, she enjoys her family and friends, loves being outdoors, gardening, bike riding and bird watching. Indoor hobbies include scrapbooking, painting cookies, and cheering on Chiefs football. She is a Kansas City native but enjoys traveling but is always happy to be back in her hometown.  

Attorney

Kathleen E. Overton

Attorney

Kathleen E. Overton

Kathleen Overton is an attorney and owner at Paths Law Firm. She has more than 17 years of experience advocating for those with special needs and navigating the state and federal agencies formed to help the disabled and elderly. At Paths Law Firm, Kathleen’s practice focuses on helping the elderly qualify for nursing home Medicaid, creating estate plans to protect beneficiaries, as well as a lot of time planning and forming businesses. Kathleen also enjoys helping clients form non-profit organizations and obtain 501(c)(3) tax exempt status.

 

After attending law school at the University of Oklahoma, Kathleen began representing clients before the Social Security Administration. Eventually her practice switched to federal court appeals and Kathleen spent years representing clients before the Eastern and Western District of Missouri, the District of Kansas, and the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. Kathleen has since focused her practice on estate planning and elder law after watching clients struggle to find ways to financially care for loved ones with special needs or aging parents.

 

Kathleen lives in the Northland with her husband and four children. She spends her free time attending soccer matches and ballet performances with her children and starting endless home improvement projects with her husband. 

Medicaid paralegal

Tena K. Dooley

Medicaid Paralegal

Tena K. Dooley

Tena is a Medicaid Paralegal.  She is very meticulous and organized.  She works closely with the attorneys, clients, and State representatives. 

Tena has an associate in applied science and has over 20 years of office management experience. She has two daughters and one grandson.

Tena enjoys spending time with her family.  She enjoys everything outdoors and her hobbies include fishing and gardening.

PARALEGAL & ACCOUNTANT

Sydney R. Morris

PARALEGAL & ACCOUNTANT

Sydney R. Morris

Sydney is the law firm’s internal accountant and one of their experienced paralegals having been with Paths Law Firm since 2017. She is a primary point of contact for estate planning and business planning.

Sydney graduated with honors from the University of Missouri Kansas City in 2022 with her Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting. She is a Bloch Launchpad, Phi Theta Kappa, and National Honor Society alumni.

In her free time, Sydney enjoys spending time with her husband, reading, baking and going on long walks. 

SENIOR ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

Christy L. Phillips

SENIOR ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

Christy L. Phillips

Christy has three years of experience in elder law working for seniors and their families. She is currently the Senior Administrative Assistant and organizes the day to day functions of the office and makes sure everything runs smoothly. When asked why she loved what she does, Christy said at Paths Law Firm, she gets the opportunity to help clients in more ways than one. Her favorite parts of the job are getting to know the clients and helping them get their questions answered. 

Christy’s experience in the finance industry has been extremely beneficial to her role as the Senior Administrative Assistant. Christy has a special place in her heart for the elderly and attributes this to the relationship she had with her grandparents. 

Christy was raised in Ogden, Utah and moved to Independence, MO, when she was ten years old. She has been with her high school sweetheart for 25 years and they have two beautiful children together. Her daughter works in the medical industry, and her son currently attends High School and plays Baseball. When Christy is not working, she enjoys crafting and spending time with her family and friends.

Christy’s experience in the finance industry has been extremely beneficial to her role as Benefits Coordinator. There have been many influences that went into her decision to select the field of Elder Law. Christy has a special place in her heart for the elderly and attributes this to her relationship with her grandparents.

When asked why she loves what she does, Christy said that at Paths Elder law, she gets the opportunity to help clients in more ways than one. Her favorite part of her job is getting clients approved for Medicaid or VA benefits as it is a huge relief for them and their loved ones.

Christy was raised in Ogden, Utah, and moved to Independence, MO, when she was ten years old. She has two children that keep her busy and fill her life with joy! Christy’s daughter cheers for Avila University, and her son plays competitive baseball for the Bucks and races BMX locally for the Motorcycle Closeout Team.

When Christy is not working, she enjoys crafting and making homemade gifts for her loved ones and raising her kids to be healthy, happy, and positive humans.

 

Practice Areas

  • Medicaid Benefits
  • VA Benefits

 

Professionalc Memberships and Affiliations

  • Missouri Notary

FINANCIAL MANAGER

René A. Fracassa

Rene A. Fracassa, Paths Law

FINANCIAL MANAGER

René A. Fracassa

René is the Financial Manager at Paths Law Firm overseeing all aspects of revenue, expenses, and financial planning. She is also responsible for general office management, including assisting in many of the administrative matters that periodically arise. 

 

René earned her Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management from Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg, Missouri and soon thereafter worked her way through management at The American Restaurant where she worked almost 17 years before relocating to the country of China.

 

René is the Financial Manager at Paths Law Firm overseeing all aspects of revenue, expenses, and financial planning. She is also responsible for general office management, including assisting in many of the administrative matters that periodically arise. 

 

René earned her Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management from Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg, Missouri and soon thereafter worked her way through management at The American Restaurant where she worked almost 17 years before relocating to the country of China.

 

René is the Financial Manager at Paths Law Firm overseeing all aspects of revenue, expenses, and financial planning. She is also responsible for general office management, including assisting in many of the administrative matters that periodically arise. 

 

René earned her Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management from Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg, Missouri and soon thereafter worked her way through management at The American Restaurant where she worked almost 17 years before relocating to the country of China.

 

René is the Financial Manager at Paths Law Firm overseeing all aspects of revenue, expenses, and financial planning. She is also responsible for general office management, including assisting in many of the administrative matters that periodically arise. 

 

René earned her Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management from Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg, Missouri and soon thereafter worked her way through management at The American Restaurant where she worked almost 17 years before relocating to the country of China.

 

In her spare time, René is currently quite active managing multiple generations of her family, including parents and grandkids.  René has had great impact on the lives of many women teaching discipling and teaching and abundance of Bible Studies. Her former career in management and event planning trained her well to juggle all the activity.

MARKETING MANAGER

Hilary R. Tichota

MARKETING MANAGER

Hilary R. Tichota

Hilary plays a vital role in managing the Marketing Department at Paths Law Firm.  She is excellent at bringing new ideas and sharing valuable resources with the law firm and our community. Hilary has been with the law firm since the beginning, working in nearly every role which is invaluable in her marketing endeavors as she brings a unique set of skills into the Marketing Department.

Hilary is nearly complete in her Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Marketing at Park University.  She has earned the honor of being listed in National Honors Society, Phi Theta Kappa, and the Dean’s List. Hilary is always looking for new and innovative ways to share the law firm’s message.

While not working, Hilary spends her time with her family at their rural home. They tend to their chickens and honeybees and enjoy the solitude of country living.

SR. PARALEGAL & OPERATIONS MANAGER

Jennifer A. Bronson

SR. PARALEGAL & OPERATIONS MANAGER

Jennifer

Jennifer is the Sr. Paralegal and Operations Manager at Paths Law Firm.  She oversees the firm’s probate department as well developing, implementing, and managing all the firm’s administrative processes having been with the law firm almost from the beginning.  She enjoys client contact as well as behind-the-scenes operations.

 

Jennifer began her legal career in 1990 as a legal secretary.  She has worked in small and medium sized firms, as well as court operations.  She has her Paralegal Certificate from Boston University, Law Office Management Certificate from University of Central Missouri, and she is a Master Financial Coach. 

 

Jennifer has two daughters, twin sons, and twin grandsons.  She spends as much time as she can with them.  She enjoys reading, listening to podcasts, and tending her yard. 

ATTORNEY

Russell A. Fracassa (Rusty)

ATTORNEY

Russell A. Fracassa (Rusty)

When asked what he wants to do, his reply was “I just want to sit at the kitchen table and work directly with people.” Rusty enjoys working with clients providing experienced advocacy and supporting them through their unfamiliar and overwhelming situations. Due to all the challenges faced by seniors, it is essential to work with an experienced elder law attorney who has expertise in the law, issues, and concerns affecting seniors and their families.

Rusty brings more than 30 years legal experience and expertise working for seniors and their families as an elder law attorney in Kansas City and surrounding. Prior to law school, Rusty was an accountant and his first couple years practicing law was as a tax attorney. This provides invaluable experience in his current practice of law. Rusty’s focus is helping protect seniors’ assets from taxes and long-term care costs, benefit qualification, and navigating more complex family scenarios in their estate planning.

Rusty has personally experienced the loss every parent fears, caring for a spouse suffering with cancer and the treatment, and working with aging parents through all stages of their lives.  He intimately understands the challenges faced by individuals and their caretakers when capacity or health declines, how to prepare for it, and the legal matters while in the midst of it.  He may not be able to eliminate his client’s grief, but he strives to provide clients with peace of mind.

In 2010, Rusty’s faith and love led him and part of his family to China as Christian missionaries. He and his wife, went permanently, but ended up dedicating 3 years to that ministry. They returned to Missouri to help with grandchildren after a family tragedy and later began anew with Paths Elder Law. The goal is providing compassionate care through legal advocacy.

Rusty has multiple degrees and advanced study spanning his Bachelor’s of Arts in Business Administration – Accounting at Rockhurst College (now Rockhurst University), Masters of Arts in Accounting and in Intercultural Studies, as well as his Juris Doctorate from the University of Missouri at Kansas City School of Law.

When Rusty is not practicing law, he enjoys spending time with his family, grandchildren, and excessive eating at local restaurants.

Practice Areas

  • Wills and Trusts
  • Estate Planning
  • Asset Protection
  • Medicaid Benefits
  • VA Benefits
  • Probate
  • Guardianship and Conservatorships
  • Education

 

BSBA and Master’s in Accounting, Master’s in Inter-Cultural Studies, and Doctorate in Juris Prudence

  • Rockhurst University
  • Liberty University
  • University of Missouri – Kansas City


Admissions to Practice

  • Missouri


Professional Memberships and Affiliations

  • State Bar of Missouri
  • National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (long-time Member)
  • Elder Counsel (Charter and Ongoing Member)
  • Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys (Past Member)
  • Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association
  • Missouri State Bar Committees – Elder Law, Estate Planning, Probate