Britt Burkhart, president of Safeguard Financial Assets talks about veterans planning.
View Episode Transcript
*The following is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.
And Welcome to answers for elders radio. Everyone, I am here with a first time guest here to the program a gentleman by the name of Britt Burkhart from safeguard financial assets, Brit welcome to the program well, thank you, thank you. I am glad you’re here. You were wonderful. We had you in our answers for elder’s academy on Monday and you spoke at the Edmond Senior Center and you just did an amazing job. We were really, really fortunate to have you as our speaker. So well, thank you again. We enjoyed it very much. So, Britt, tell us a little bit about what you do for families and seniors here in greater puges am. Well, I work with families using different insurance tools to help them accomplish their goals. But one of the one of my main things that I do is a in two thousand and eleven I find out about a little known benefit called aid an attendance on the pension side through the Veterans for veterans, through the Vegan is. That’s through that’s through the Veterans Administration. Yeah, through the Department of Veterans Affairs. And so through that process I learned how to help veterans qualify for this particular type of benefit. That’s called aiden attendants and probably about ninety percent of the veterans don’t know about this benefit and it’s just amazing to me. Yeah, because it is something they’ve earned. Absolutely yes. So tell me a little bit. What is Aidan attendance benefits? They don’t know about it. But what is it specifically? Well, the first the IT basically it’s a benefit that helps veterans pay for long term care. So it’s care that is ongoing. It is not if you go into the hospital come back out. It’s not for that. And so the first part of the qualification is you have to be a veteran, so you have to serve one day wartime, Ninety days active duty and honorably discharge. But there’s different levels of that. And so once you meet that criteria, then you have the cost of care qualification, income and asset qualification, and if you meet these criterias, then basically what happens is you get a benefit, and the benefit, if you’re a single veteran, is one thousand seven hundred and ninety four month tax free. And if you’re the spouse, when thousand seven hundred and ninety four dollars. Right, awesome. Right. And if you’re a widow, it’s one thousand one hundred and fifty three dollars, and if you’re a veteran with a spouse, it’s two thousand, one hundred and twenty seven dollars. That’s credible. Now, if you’re getting a veterans benefit like that, it does it have to be applied towards long term care costs. The income goes strat always goes into the veterans account. Okay, unless it’s the widow of a veteran that it would go into her account. Got It, and then the money can be used, but the money would be used to pay for that care. You would need some sort of care to be able to qualify to you see that. Is that correct? Yes, you have to have a ongoing caregiver. Now, the interesting thing about that is the caregiver can be a son or daughter, but it cannot be the spouse of a veteran. Got It. Does that make sense? Yeah, any property. Right. Yeah, so the so can be a son or daughter and or can be someone who’s licensed. It can be in the home. It can be an assisted living and it can also be adult family home or nursing home. Okay. So what if they’re in an independent retirement living? Would they qualify? They can. It’s more difficult, right, but they can. It is possible. They have to have a caregiver come into the facility and meet the other the other guidelines. Right, and it is possible. And I believe you shared last Monday, which was really good, and we talked about the ADL’s at activities of daily living round. Qualifying for veterans aid in attendance. You would have to meet, is it right? Two of them. Yeah, it’s two out of the ATL’s and they’re called activities a daily living and you have to be able to, not be able to perform toileting, dressing, bathing, trans it’s fine, cognitive impairment, that type of thing. And so if you if you can’t do two out of those Atl’s, then then that’s part of the qualification, right. You know, and I always say when people ask me, when is it time for care? If you can’t perform, if your senior loved one can’t perform even one of those activities, then it’s time to start bringing somebody in and as those needs increased, obviously that there would mean a need for more skills, skilled care. So the fact that you can’t do two things that is not necessarily, you know, overwhelming. A lot of seniors are still independent, but maybe they have situations within continents, maybe they have situations with you know, maybe needing help in cooking or in you know those types of functions in the home. And of course, having that ability to get those assessments from your doctor is is key to be amiable to then qualify for the benefit and and that’s that’s a very true and the other thing that I would say is is that you also want to have a specialist come in. There are circumstances where you would have somebody besides a doctor come in and doing a do an assessment, health assessment in the home, because there’s a lot of things in the home that will set off little tips, as another words, if there’s nothing in the fridge, you know, the state of the House, what are what are the conditions on which what’s going on in the house, and so all of this, all of this factors into this assessment as to what level of care they need right and not to mention medications. Medications is a complicated situation, especially for senior that’s on multiple types of medications and if you’re senior loved one is maybe not necessarily remembering to take their medic meds at a certain time, are getting a confused. I know my mom a couple times took it twice and one time she ended up in the hospital because she just had overdone it didn’t realize it, so we had to take her to the emergency room. So those are the kind of things that I know are very important that we are mindful of. You know what is needed and you know it goes right back to the old philosophy don’t don’t be pennywise and pint pound foolish with the care of your loved one. But there are resources out there to pay for the care and this maybe one. If your loved one has served, you said only one day in wartime. Yeah, and that’s that wartime can be. They could be in Hawaii sipping them tie. They don’t have to be. My son’s of veteran and he was in Korea. He was a medic wow, and so during the Iraq war he looked out and got sent to Korea and then my dad, a veteran too, and the same thing happened. But they’re both veterans. Wow, because they served during this time frame. Now, the time frame I probably should tell you, folks, the time frame to be considered a veteran is world war two. Is is twelve seven to nineteen forty one to twelve thirty one forty six. The Korean War is six twenty seven nineteen fifty through January thirty one nineteen fifty five, and the Vietnam War is a little bit different. And the Vietnam War is eight five of sixty four through five seven of nineteen seventy five. But they if they were actually in land, in country, then the date changes from to twenty eighth sixty one two eight five of sixty four, so it’s a little bit different. Wow. So we are talking to Britt Burke Heart from safeguard financial assets and Britt again is here talking about aid and attendance benefits and we are just thrilled that he is joining us on the radio. I’m glad he came because he did such a great job at Edmund Senior Center earlier this week. So, Britt, what kind of steps? If you believe a family is is like thinks that they qualify, what kind of steps do they need to go through? I mean what to qualify? What kind of documentation into they had, need to have etc. Well, the first step is that if I get a call and somebody, you know, wants more information, I ask them a series of questions. And the questions is starts out with, you know, are they at home? Are they in assisted living? Are they were they at that gives me new ideas to the level of care. Sure, and then from there I handle more of the of the financial side of things and the on the via I, you know, do the vae planning a course, but if I need help in that area, then I then like an assessment that I get a qualified person to commit and right that make that recommendation. So if they, if they’re most of the people that call me, are in a position where they have to go into assisted living facility, they need a caregiver. That’s most common and so common that, luckily there’s a lot of assisted living communities that will ask those questions and find out. You’ll, they’ll find out about it as they’re moving into a community and right that. Yeah, right. So I’m asking, you know, are they a veteran when did they serve? I’m asking, you know, what kind of income they have? I’m asking what’s the level of care at this point, and sometimes they don’t know. And then I’m also asking assets and I’m asking do they have a home and that type of thing. So I’m walking through the whole trying to build a picture and then I can let once I do that, we do send out an intake sheet. I do, and once we once we do that and we get the information that we can come back and we can advise them as to what the best direction is. Now I will say this. When you do this type of planning, you have to look at Medicaid. So even if you have a substantial estate, you still need now you still need to look at Medicaid. Well, seniors are living longer and longer and and the cost of care is increasing dramatically and and frankly, we don’t know where it’s going to be and right if five years from now. So that’s just being wise to make sure that you know you have that fallback plan so it’s anything happens that that is an option that’s available to you. For sure. Yes, and I had a client who’s wife was in a memory care unit paying tenzero a month. So even if you have a few dollars in the bank, you can see that that’s they’re going to go through that, you know, relatively quickly, right, and that’s that’s actually what what a lot of people that go on Medicaid had money right at some point. Is My mom? Yeah, yeah, my mom lived in a house on the water and Antichord is four hundred and fifty front foot of waterfront property and she ended up on Medicaid the end of your life. So absolutely we know this. It’s it’s something that, you know, we never anticipate, you know, thinking, oh, she’s going to be fine, and know the cost of care is crazy. And and of course she passed away in two thousand and eleven. I can only imagine the care she was getting then and how much it was costing her then. How it could it, you know, what it would cost today? Yeah, I also want to say that there’s really two different types of planning. There’s pre planning, so let’s say you have somebody who was diagnosed with a health issue and but they’re still fine and say als parkinsons or something like that, then you can do preplanning, and then there’s crisis planning, and unfortunately that’s what most people do, because they wait and then I get that call and the dot, the son or daughter and the wifers upset because now somebody’s in a hospital. And what a lot of folks don’t know is that if you have a fall, you go to the hospital, that if that that individual needs twenty four hour care, they cannot discharge them home, they have to go into a facility. So now they’re they’re in a panic trying to get all this taken away, to settled, and then they’re all so now they’re looking for money, right way to pay for it. So, Britt, how do we reach you? You can contact me two thousand and three seven, four and one hundred and sixty two five mm, and my email is be Britt seven, bb Ri TT, number seven at comcast dotnet. Britt, I’m so glad you were here. Thank you again for coming and thank you for being on the program well, thank you for having me
Suzanne Newman, host of the Answers for Elders radio show and podcast, proclaims often, “Caring for my mom was the hardest thing I ever have done, but it was also my greatest privilege.” Following a career of over 25 years in sales, media, and marketing management, Suzanne embarked on a 6-year-journey caring for her mother. Her trials and tribulations as a family caregiver inspired an impassioned life mission outside of the corporate world to revolutionize the journey that so many other American families also find themselves on. Answers for Elders provides education, help, and support to families, caregivers, and seniors across the country who are experiencing their own unique journey within the complicated world of Eldercare. Each week, Suzanne is joined by vetted professional experts in over 65 categories including health & wellness, life changes, living options, money, law, and more. Suzanne lives in Edmonds, Washington with her husband, Keith, and their two doodle dogs, Whidbey and Skagit.