Aid and Attendance Medical Rating for Benefits

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by claudiasmt, Oct 26, 2007.

  1. claudiasmt

    claudiasmt Newbie

    We would like to apply for Aid and Attendance benefits for my father-in-law however we are not sure what type of medical rating he would fall under.

    He is suffering from congestive heart failure, incontinence and the start of diabetes. He is also showing signs of dementia (often just sits and stares)

    Currently he is at home but is very weak and barely walking with a walker. He insists on driving - but can hardly write he is so weak and his coordination is so poor.

    We would like him to start receiving in home health care to help him with his transportation needs (he has many doctors visits) and with other various household needs. My mother in law is legally blind and cannot provide him help in this area.

    I would just like to know what other medical disability we can use for a rating (other than dementia since I have read at this site it is best not to use this condition if possible).

    Would his inability to drive and the fact he can barely walk now be considered acceptable to receive the aid and attendance benefits?

    He is failing and may not be able to stay at home that much longer.

    Another question is how are the benefits handled if he is not approved before he passes or has to go into a nursing home? Would my in-laws receive a benefit based on the months he was receiving care at home? Or will the benefits continue after he goes into the nursing home?

  2. veteranadvocate

    veteranadvocate Full Member

    I must assume he served during one of the recognized war-time periods and has an honorable condition discharge. I am also assuming he is over age 65. If I am wrong on any of these assumptions, please let me know. If these assumptions are correct then he does not have to show any disabilities for the basic non-service connected pension benefit. All veterans 65 or older are presumed to be totally disabled for VA pension purposes. For the 'house-bound' or 'aid & attendance' benefit he must show the need of some assistance without which he would have to go into an assisted care facility or nursing home.

    Based on the information that you provided, I feel he would meet one of the higher ratings. Which higher rating would be determine by his restrictions or limitations. The VA form 21-2680 is used to make the determination as to which level, unless the veteran or widow is in an assisted care facility or nursing home.

    I think I would prevent him from driving for his safety and others on the road. He may not like it but at least he will be alive and not hurt or kill someone else.

    Don't forget that in-home health care cost can be used to reduce their countable income for VA pension purpose. Hope this addresses some of your questions.
  3. claudiasmt

    claudiasmt Newbie

    Thank you for your response.

    Yes my father-in-law meets the war-time eligibility requirements and is now 80 years old.

    He would not qualify for the basic VA pension (65 and older) as his income is a bit too high (I believe)

    He would however qualify for Aid and Attendance once he starts receiving Home Health Care on a regular basis (as far as I understand) as the Home Health Care costs would reduce his countable income to zero.

    I am going to review the VA form 21-2680 now to determine what medical disability he would qualify for. This is the part that is a bit confusing to me. I am having a hard time understanding exactly what disability the VA considers as warranting in home health care. I believe if my father-in-law cannot drive and also needs some physical therapy (due to not being able to walk very well) - I think he would qualify, though not 100% sure...
  4. veteranadvocate

    veteranadvocate Full Member

    Keep in mind that medical expenses can be use to reduce countable income at any level of the non-service connected pension programs. If his income is over for the base level, by being over the age 65, his unreimbursed medical expenses can be submitted to reduce the income and the VA will approve his pension amount back up to the allowable limit.

    Also, keep in mind that he must have an effective date of claim established to start counting unreimbursed medical expenses. He cannot wait until the end of the year and submit an application for pension benefits and submit his medical expenses. The VA will establish the date of claim as the date they receive the application.

    Hope I am not confusing the situation even more so. Please let me know if you have any specific questions.

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