Elder Law

Elder Law

We invite you to learn more about our Michigan elder law services below. Contact Mobile Legal Services for a free initial phone consultation and for additional information about how we can help you or your loved one. Our attorneys offer elder law services throughout Southeast Michigan.

Long-Term Care / Medicaid

Most people do not anticipate needing long-term, or nursing home care in their lifetime. However, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, it is estimated that 70% of people turning 65 can expect to use some form of long-term care as they continue to age. Further, the average cost of nursing home care in Michigan is over $8,000 per month. At Mobile Legal Services, we work with families to help protect assets and ensure loved ones get the resources they need. Click here to learn more


Medicare is a government health care program which is available to individuals age 65 and over, and certain disabled individuals. Securing and maintaining Medicare coverage can be an important component of long term planning. If you have questions or want to consult with us about how Medicare fits into your plans, we invite you to Click here to learn more

MI Choice Medicaid Waiver

The MI Choice Medicaid Waiver Program is designed to keep people who would otherwise need to transition into a long-term care facility in their home. The program provides in-home assistance to those qualified individuals at no cost to the individual. Eligibility To be eligible for the Waiver Program, an individual must be: A Michigan resident At least 65 years old (or if disabled, age 18 – 64) Qualify for nursing home level of care Require at least one service the waiver program provides on an on-going basis Be financially and functionally eligible MI Choice applicants must demonstrate the need for a minimum of two covered services, one of which must be “supports coordination,” as determined through an in-person assessment. Applicants must also agree to accept to receive MI Choice services on a regular basis, at least every 30 days. MI Choice Waiver Services Waiver program applicants must demonstrate a need for at least two of the following services in order to qualify for the program. Services are decided on a case-by-case basis. Community living supports Nursing services (preventative nursing) Respite care Adult daycare Environmental modifications Community transportation Medical supplies and equipment not covered by Medicare Chore services Personal emergency response systems Private duty nursing/respiratory care Counseling Home delivered meals Supports coordination Training in a variety of independent living skills Community Health Worker Income Eligibility As of 2021, a single applicant can receive no more than $2,382 per month in income. This number is based on gross, not net income figures. It is also a number that is not adjusted at all for expenses or debt. However, if an applicant is married, only the applicant’s income is assessed for qualification purposes. This number is also adjusted each year in accordance with the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Asset Eligibility The Medicaid Waiver Program has the same asset eligibility as long-term care Medicaid. A recipient of the benefit cannot have more than $2,000 in countable assets. All assets are counted unless they are exempt. For a list of assets that are exempt click here. For a married applicant, the spouse not in need of services is entitled to keep half of the assets held by the couple. The assets that the non-applicant spouse can keep are subject to a maximum and minimum. For 2021 the maximum amount a non-applicant spouse can keep is $130,380 and the minimum amount is $26,076. There are many options when it comes to gaining asset eligibility for the MI Choice Waiver program including Medicaid compliant annuities, asset protection trusts, and spending funds as part of a Medicaid spend-down plan. These options should be explored with an elder law attorney prior to any decisions being made and prior to any meeting with the Waiver provider. The most important piece of information to understand is that this Medicaid program has a five-year ‘look back’ period. This means that any gifts or transfers for less than fair market value that were made in the five years prior to the application may result in a penalty period. To understand this further, please contact our offices for a free telephone consultation. MI Choice Medicaid Waiver Providers Below is a list of Waiver providers in your area. Each provider may have a different approach to the assessment process and may have a waitlist for services. Detroit Area Agency on Aging 1333 Brewery Park Blvd., Suite 200 Detroit, Michigan 48207 (T) 313-446-4444 (F) 313-446-4446 Area Agency on Aging 1B 29100 Northwestern Highway, Suite 400 Southfield, Michigan 48034 (T) 248-357-2255 (F) 248-948-9691 Macomb-Oakland Regional Center Home Care, Inc. 16200 Nineteen Mile Road P.O. Box 380710 Clinton Township, Michigan 48038 (T) 586-263-8953 (F) 586-228-7029 The Senior Alliance 5454 Venoy Road Wayne, Michigan 48184 (T) 734-722-2830 (F) 734-722-2836 The Information Center 20400 Superior Road Taylor, Michigan 48180 (T) 734-282-7171 (F) 734-282-7105 Tri-County Office on Aging 5303 South Cedar Street Lansing, Michigan 48911 (T) 517-887-1440 (F) 517-887-8071 Click here to learn more

VA Aid and Attendance Benefits

The Aid and Attendance Benefits program was established by Congress through the United States Department of Veteran’s Affairs and provides medical support to certain qualified veterans and their spouses. Funds from the Aid and Attendance program can be used to help pay for: Assisted living Long term or nursing home care Home health care Other ongoing medical expenses In order to qualify for Aid and Attendance Benefits, a veteran must be: At least 65 or older Have served on active duty at least 90 consecutive days Have served at least one day during a period of war Received a discharge other than dishonorable Single surviving spouses of such veterans are also eligible Qualifying war times are outlined below: Period of War Beginning and Ending Dates World War II December 7, 1941 through December 31, 1946 Korean Conflict June 27, 1950 through January 31, 1955 Vietnam Era August 5, 1964 through May 7, 1975; for veterans who served “in country” before August 5, 1964, February 28, 1961 through May 7, 1975 Gulf War August 2, 1990 through a date to be set by law or Presidential Proclamation The veteran household cannot have income and assets that exceed the Community Spouse Resource Allowance amount for Medicaid ($130,380 in 2021). This number is increased by the same amount as the Social Security Benefit increase each year. At the time of the application, the household assets and income are added together to determine eligibility. If there are unreimbursed medical expenses that exceed the household income, the income is reduced to zero and only the assets are used to determine financial eligibility. In October 2018, the VA implemented new rules for qualifying for the Aid and Attendance Benefit. These new rules have had both positive and negative impacts on the application and approval process. Allowable medical expenses are described as ‘those that are medically necessary; that improve a disabled individual’s functioning; or that prevent, slow, or ease an individual’s functional decline.’ Below is a non-exhaustive list of allowable costs for unreimbursed medical expenses: Recurring prescription drug costs Prescribed, medically necessary food, vitamins, and supplements Home health care, including allowable payments to family caregivers Payments to care facilities, including room and board payments for certain, qualifying facilities Service animal payments Transportation for healthcare purposes Additional qualifying factors that must be met pertain to the medical needs of the individual applying. In order to qualify for Aid and Attendance Benefits the individual must need help with at least 2 activities of daily living, commonly known as ADLs. There are six basic ADLs: Eating Bathing Dressing Toileting Transferring Continence However, the VA now accepts one additional ADL; ‘ambulating within the home or living area.’ This additional ADL may make it easier for certain applicants to qualify for the benefit. The final test an applicant must pass before qualifying for the Aid and Attendance program is the asset test. If the household income is reduced to zero due to unreimbursed medical expenses, the household assets cannot exceed $130,380 in 2021. The VA does not consider the home, household vehicles, prepaid burial plots, household items and personal property, or irrevocable trusts established for a disabled child who was incapable of self-support prior to the age of 18, to be assets when applying for the benefit. Dealing with Assets That May Disqualify the Applicant Prior to October 2018 it was possible, using trusts and other strategies, to protect assets and qualify an individual for the Aid and Attendance benefit. However, the VA has since implemented a 3-year lookback period. Any gifts made in the 3 years prior to the application will result in a disqualification period. This disqualification period is determined by the value of the transfer divided by the maximum amount of benefit (currently $2,230). This means that a transfer of $6,690 will result in a 3-month penalty. The maximum length of the penalty is 5 years. While the rule changes have altered the way in which we approach the Aid and Attendance Benefit program, it has provided more clarity and certainty in the application and approval process. If you would like to learn more about this or other programs designed to help aging individuals, please contact us today. Click here to learn more