Does Mom Meet the Criteria for A&A

Discussion in 'Surviving Spouse Application' started by andypitt, Feb 17, 2016.

  1. andypitt

    andypitt Newbie

    My Dad was a WWII veteran and I have opened a case for my mom for A&A benefit. She was turned down for the reason that the examiner said she had enough to maintain her expenses. She is 91 and now has about $55K in cash assets. Her income is $1350 per month through a small pension and Social Security. She lives in an assisted living facility and her monthly expenses today about $3200 per month (mainly ASL fees and medical expenses). Should I file an update to see whether they will now grant her A&A benefits or wait until her assets get down to $40k or so?

    I have also heard that i could transfer her assets into a trust which would not count as an asset but will be used to support her expenses in order to assure her qualification but I have been reading about a VA look back and also did not want to jeopardize her Medicaid eligibility should she need that.

    Thanks for any replies.
     
  2. Kaylin

    Kaylin Hero Member Staff Member

    andypitt,

    To me, it sounds like your mother would qualify for the benefit now. I would either use form 21-4138 Statement in Support of Claim to update the VA on this information if you have previously sent in a full Aid and Attendance application. Show the bank statements of your mother's expenses and income and make it very clear what you just told me.

    I would not advise transferring her assets. She is already at a level that she qualifies, this should be unnecessary. I hope that helps!
     
  3. andypitt

    andypitt Newbie

    Yes it does. It verifies what I was thinking. Can you explain how you determined how she already qualifies? Also why wouldn't I just file another Form 21-0518-1 to update the VA on changes to her financial situation.

    Thanks
     
  4. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    andypitt,

    If her financial situation has not changes, and there has not been an increase in her care expenses since the time of the original application, you really would not have any new evidence to put forward for consideration from the original decision.

    At hand one of the issues is that given her age, and the shortfall each month between her income and expenses, it would appear that she is able to cover that gap for some time to come. She has over two years with that 55K to offset the shortfall. The VA is anticipating that she has enough to cover her for her anticipated lifetime.

    If her care expenses have gone up, then as Kaylin said, you should submit a 21-4138 Statement in Support of Claim advising the VA of such, and let them recalculate it.

    We do not recommend moving assets around, and if she had any access to the Trust to pay for her care, it would not be protected.
     
  5. andypitt

    andypitt Newbie

    I stated her financial condition in my original post. She has approximately 2.7 yrs of money left at current expense level. Her net worth is reduced since my filing a year ago. She will be 91 in a few days.

    Kaylin said she was eligible now and was wondering what basis she made that statement. You say the VA may assume she has sufficient resources. Was trying to figure out whether I should file soon again as an update to her financial condition. If the VA would think that she has sufficient money to not award then I would not want to tie up the system with a filing.
     
  6. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    andypitt,

    I don't believe that enough has changed with her situation for the VA to discount the 2.7 years at current expense levels.

    I would recommend holding off on updating until further down the road and monies are more depleted.
     
  7. andypitt

    andypitt Newbie

    Thanks My plan was to let go down until I hit under 2 years and then file. Do you think this is reasonable?
     
  8. Kaylin

    Kaylin Hero Member Staff Member

    andypitt,

    What I meant before was about your mother being eligible now was based on the VA's "general estimate" of financial eligibility. Since your mother has less than the $80,000 in assets and her care expenses are depleting her total assets (with her income included) now, she is below that $80,000 limit. But it is just an "estimate" from the VA, as I said.

    As vetadmin mentioned, the VA is probably thinking that your mother will have enough money to spend down in her lifetime to cover her care expenses.

    If her care expenses have not changed since the time of the original application and the VA ruled her unable to get the benefit now then unless you have more supportive evidence of a change in expenses or something the VA may have missed, you will have to wait to update the VA.

    As far as the time estimate, that depends on so many factors. Your mother's care expenses could go up for a number of reasons. Those variables could determine when you should update the VA from the original application to ask for award of the Aid and Attendance benefit because her assets are being spent down.
     
  9. andypitt

    andypitt Newbie

    Not sure I understand the last paragraph. Right now she has about 2.7 yrs of money left at her current rate of expenses for assisted living and medical expense. When I updated her information to the VA she had about 4.1 yrs of money left. At that time the VA told me that she had sufficient resources to cover. Since I filed last at the end of 2014, her assisted living expenses have increased and her assets have fallen. Should she file now? Seems like a simple question.

    By the way I have copy of an actuarial table from a VA reference that I found in a web search that says at 91 her expected lifetime is 4.1 yrs.
     
  10. Kaylin

    Kaylin Hero Member Staff Member

    andypitt,

    I think we are both confused. After the information you just told me, YES you should definitely update the VA on her increases in her assisted living expenses and the lack of her assets now compared to 2014. This could make a difference in her award of the Aid and Attendance benefit.
     
  11. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    Your clarification on her situation certainly sheds a different light on things.

    You may still encounter an over income limit, but I would update them now on the changes, and let them recalculate.
     
  12. andypitt

    andypitt Newbie

    Thanks to both of you. That is the problem with forums, it takes some time to understand the posts. I felt like she was getting close to getting an award. My plan is to run down her assets to just below $50k and file. That should happen in the next 2 months based on current expenses.
     

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