Westchester is a beautiful neighborhood overlapping the city of Los Angeles and the Westside Region of Los Angeles County. The neighborhood is a part of the city of Los Angeles known for its seclusion. Home to Loyola Marymount University, it began as prime farming real estate but quickly developed into an aerospace mecca. With The Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) located in the southwestern portion of Westchester, the remaining area has now become predominantly residential.
Some History of Westchester, California
Historically, Westchester was known as an agricultural area with its farm-friendly climate. A wide variety of crops were able to thrive well in the area. However, the neighborhood quickly developed along with the aerospace industry near Mines Field, which is now known as LAX. With the eventual move of Loyola University to the area in 1928 and the rapid population growth in Los Angeles as a whole, a huge demand for housing in the area lead to the bustling neighborhood you see today.
According to a recent census, Westchester is home to more than 3,000 veterans, which is the highest percentage seen in the entire city of Los Angeles. The Veterans Administration offers several types of veteran’s assistance programs, including assisted living facilities and nursing home care. Many veterans in Westchester may be eligible for nursing home assistance, without realizing these benefits are available.
Long-term care benefits for veterans
It is unfortunate that many veterans and their families are unaware of the long-term care benefits available to them through the Veterans Administration. These “extended care” services may include nursing home care, as well as other forms of non-institutional long-term care. These benefits are generally available to the following:
- Veterans with a service-connected disability rating of 70 percent or higher
- Veterans with a 60-percent service-connected disability rating who are unemployable, or who have a rating of “permanent and totally disabled”
- Veterans with a service-connected disability and who have been clinically determined to require nursing home care
- Veterans who require nursing home care for any nonservice-connected disability and who meet certain income and asset criteria
There may be other ways to establish eligibility depending on each veteran’s unique circumstances. Generally speaking, priority is given to veterans with service-connected disabilities and those who need care for “post-acute rehabilitation, respite, hospice, geriatric evaluation and management, or spinal cord injury.”
What is included in long-term care benefits?
Long-term nursing care is provided through nursing homes and other types of health care facilities. The Veterans Administration operates its own nursing homes. However, there are also private nursing homes that contract with the Veterans Administration to provide care for veterans. These private facilities are referred to as “community nursing homes” and are usually used by those veterans who live in an area without a local Veterans Administration Center. There are also Community Living Centers operated by the Veterans Administration which provide short-term residential care in combination with ongoing outpatient care.
Veterans are usually required to pay a co-pay for extended care services through the Veterans Administration. The amount of the co-pay is based on the actual income of the veteran and his or her spouse. If it is anticipated that the extended care services will exceed 180 days, then the assets of the veteran and spouse may also be considered in determining the cost. However, the maximum amount a veteran would be required to pay is $97.00 per day for extended care services. Each veteran’s co-pay amount will typically depend on factors including:
- the veteran’s V.A. health system priority group,
- the veteran’s financial circumstances, and
- the type of care or service provided.
What you need to apply for long-term care benefits
When you apply for long-term care benefits with the Veterans Administration, you are required to complete a separate application from enrollment in basic V.A. Medical Care coverage, as well. When you apply for extended care, the following information is required:
- Spouse’s name, date of birth, and Social Security number
- The current income of both the veteran and the veteran’s spouse
- The value of fixed and liquid assets of both veteran and spouse (only if applying for nursing home or other residential care)
- Information identifying all health insurance, including all parts of Medicare (a copy of an insurance card and the veteran’s Medicare card)
You may also be required to establish a functional physical or mental impairment that is sufficient to require nursing home-level care. If you have questions regarding veteran’s benefits, or any other estate planning needs, please contact the Schomer Law Group for a consultation, either online or by calling us at (310) 337-7696.