Can it get more complicated?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by GidgetP, May 31, 2007.

  1. GidgetP

    GidgetP Newbie

    My dad is a WWII vet and meets the service qualification, but from there on it gets complicated.

    My sister and I moved my parents north to PA from FL in October to be near my sister due to health issues for both of them. She has their Medical POA's. We moved them to an independent living senior apartment as they insisted they did not want or need assisted living. WE compromised to get them north. We are now second guessing that decision and are looking to relocate them to an ALF in the near future. It will cost more than where they live now, and due to unforseen circumstances they can't even afford their current place.

    Unfortunately their home in Florida did not sell last season, and now that they are no longer living there I know the VA will not count it as a primary residence -it will be an "asset". I put that in quotes because it has been nothing but a liability in reality. Paying for the lot rent and utilities in Florida was not part of the budget when we moved them, and as a result their credit card debt has been rising. We had planned to pay off all debts from proceeds of the house sale, instead the debt is growng quickly. It was much higher than my dad let on as I discovered when I got him to give me DPOA for his finances. They are paying over $800 a month just for credit card minimum payments. It's becoming a financial nightmare very quickly.

    I notice the applications talk about "net assets" yet give you no opportunity to list your liabilities. I'm a bookkeeper. I know what Net Worth is. It is Assets MINUS Liabilities. Using that formula their net worth would be about $50,000 - well within qualification limits. If we can't report their debt, they will be over the $80,000 threshhold. ($37,000 + in credit card debt - YIKES!) Any idea how the VA considers debt load, if at all?

    Now for the medical issues.

    Dad has two terminal illnesses - congestive heart failure and and advanced emphysema - as well as diabetes. He is takes breathing treatments four times a day, a couple heart meidcations, and insulin. He is still able to take care of himself and manage his medications independently.

    Mother has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, sleep apnea for which she uses a breathing machine at night, and diabetes that has been uncontrolled for several years because even though she takes medications she refuses to alter her diet. She is barely able to walk with the aid of a walker due to her morbid obesity. When she falls, the paramedics have to come to pick her up. She has had 2 knee replacements and is unable to kneel. She is on about 15 different medications and takes 5 insulin shots of different dosages and different types each day. Although her Alzheimer's is not severe yet, she is becoming more obstinant with dad, and he refuses to help her ensure she takes her medications properly. The doctor has told him the stress of caring for an Alzheimer's patient is too much for him with his heart condition. My mother quite obviously needs to be in assisted living, ASAP.

    If we move them to an assited living facility, will the fact that my dad, the veteran, does not actually need to be there for his own medical reasons disqualify him from aid from the VA? Or will the fact that he is lliving in an assisted living facility be good enough.

    In researching pension benefits for veterans I have discovered there are three different levels of assistance available. If he qualifies for a lesser benefit now but then later requires more aid, are we stuck with what we are first awarded or can we requalify for a different level of aid? In other words, should we start applying now or wait until later?

    My head is spinning.

    I have downloaded and printed off applications and instructions and will meet with my parents this weekend for my monthly visit (I have the financial DPOA but live 3 hours away so only see them monthly) and will begin to attempt to collect the various documents required. Here's hoping he knows where his discharge papers from 60 years ago are located. He did qualify for VA medical coverage a couple years ago so I assume he had them when he applied for that.
  2. veteranadvocate

    veteranadvocate Full Member


    Please see attachment for additional information.
  3. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    There are a few things about this organization, that I feel need to be noted.

    #1. They have only been online since March 07.

    #2. The VA strictly prohibits any "Accredited" Agency from "advertising" their services, which is a violation of the agreement in order to be "accredited" by the VA.

    #3. While they state that they will help a veteran at no cost, they promote "donations", which according to their site is a very generous suggested donation of $500.00. This is a way of circumventing the VA guidelines about charging for services that are available free to a veteran through the VA, DAV, etc. and translate to a fee.

    I would suggest doing additional research.
  4. claysee

    claysee Newbie

    Dear Gidget,
    I am so sorry for everything you are going through. I wish I had any kind of suggestion or answer for you. It shouldn't be this way. I really understand what you are going through. Sometimes, I wanted to just throw in the towel. But, what good would that do. I just kept asking God to give me the strength to get through it. The only thing I can do is pray for you. I wish I could do more.
  5. kathianne

    kathianne Newbie

    A and A for mom?

    I am confused by Veteran Advocate's statement that Gidget's mom would not qualify for A and A as long as her husband is still living. I thought I read at one time, possibly in a VA handbook, that a spouse could receive A and A with no mention of whether or not she's a widow. With all due respect (and I very much respect you for the time you took to help Gidget sort out all of her issues, and for your knowledge about A and A) could you, Veteran Advocate, direct me to where that is written? I'm concerned because my mom may need A and A some day.

    Thank you very much,

    PS to Gidget
    Let me know if you can't easily find your Dad's discharge papers. My sister got copies through the VA and I can find out for you how she did that. It seems that any interaction with the VA is a potential land mine for a red tape disaster! Good luck with everything ahead of you - hang in there.
  6. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member


    The information provided by VeteranAdvocate is correct.

    The veteran is the one who has "earned" this pension, and not the spouse. The spouse only benefits by either being widowed/widower, or in the event both the veteran and spouse require Housebound or ALF/Nursing Home care.
  7. veteranadvocate

    veteranadvocate Full Member


    VA's regulations contained in 38 CFR has a section 3.1 for definitions. It list the following information.

    (d) Veteran means a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable.

    (2) For death pension the term veteran includes a person who died in active service under conditions which preclude payment of service-connected death benefits, provided such person had completed at least 2 years honorable military, naval or air service, as certified by the Secretary concerned. (See ยงยง 3.3(b)(3)(i) and 3.3(b)(4)(i))

    (l) Nonservice-connected means, with respect to disability or death, that such disability was not incurred or aggravated, or that the death did not result from a disability incurred or aggravated, in line of duty in the active military, naval, or air service.

    You may have read about a veteran that is receiving service-connected compensation is entitled to additional amount if he is receiving at least a 30% rating and his spouse is in need of 'aid & attendance'. I know this is very confusing and I am sorry if I am not explaining it properly.

    If you have something else that is contrary to the above, please let me know. Take care and please feel free in asking any questions or concerns that you have.
  8. kathianne

    kathianne Newbie

    Thank you Vetadmin and Veteran Advocate, for your kind replies. It IS complicated but I think I'm beginning to get it. :)

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