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Make the Most of Your Loved One's Benefits and Insurance

You'll want to make the most of what your loved one has. So you need to learn about any benefits that are due to them, and you need to understand and use any insurance coverage they have. Social Security and Medicare are two vital benefits. Here are a few other types of benefits and insurance to check into:

  • Employee benefits. Did your loved one earn any benefits while they were still employed? These could include deferred saving plans, cafeteria plans or 401(k) plans. Review any documents you find from the employer, and contact their benefits department if you have any questions.
  • Disability insurance. Your loved one may have disability insurance that they got through an employer or purchased on their own. Short-term disability insurance pays a percentage of the insured's salary if they are not able to work for a short period of time because they are sick or injured. Long-term disability insurance picks up where short-term insurance leaves off. Long-term disability insurance continues to pay a percentage of the insured's wages for a period specified in the policy. The policy also may offer other benefits, such as a death benefit paid to a spouse or family member.

If your loved one has a long-term disability policy, be sure to read it carefully. Your loved one needs to comply with the terms of the policy to continue to receive benefits. For example, your loved one may have to provide ongoing proof that they are disabled. Or the policy may require that your loved one apply for Social Security disability benefits to offset the benefits paid by the policy.

  • Long-term care insurance. If your loved one has long-term care insurance, make sure you keep the policy active and use the benefits it provides if needed. Long-term care insurance covers care your loved one receives in a nursing home, assisted living facility or adult day care center. It also covers services in the home such as assistance with activities of daily living. This can include help with things such as bathing, dressing or lifting someone in or out of bed. Some policies even provide payments to family caregivers. Long-term care is very expensive, and Medicare and most traditional health insurance plans do not cover it. So long-term care insurance can be a big help if you need to pay for this kind of care.
  • Veterans benefits. If your loved one is a veteran, or the spouse or surviving spouse of a veteran, find out if they qualify for any benefits. For example, low-income veterans may qualify for a Veterans Administration (VA) pension if they are 65 or older or if they are disabled. The veteran or spouse also may qualify for VA Aid and Attendance benefits or Housebound benefits. These are cash benefits, in addition to the basic pension, that help pay for care in the home or other types of long-term care. To find out if your loved one qualifies for these or other veterans benefits, contact the VA or visit their website, VA.gov. The webinar also provides more detailed information about this topic.