General Help Getting Started

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by markandmax, Nov 2, 2015.

  1. markandmax

    markandmax Newbie

    Everytime I think I understand everything I have to do to file for A&A for my 88 year old mom, I read more information and get confused.
    My mother lives in NJ. SHe has been a widow since 1972. My father served 3 years in the army during WWII. My mother currently lives in an independant living facility but has been in a short term rehab facility for the past 3 weeks due to a fall and an infected cut. She needs more care, but has her finances are dwindling. I am beginning the process of gathering documents for both medicaid application as well as A&A. I am very confused as to whether she can get the A&A if approved if she gets on medicaid first. I understand that the asset limit is $2000 and she isn;t there yet but will be in about 3-5 months. If her social security benefits are $862/month (this is before deductions for medicare part A & B of $312.25) is she eligible for A&A and medicaid? Because she needs both as she has no income aside from social security after her money is gone.
    Any help on any of this is much appreciated,
    #confused, stressed and tired in NYC
     
  2. Kaylin

    Kaylin Hero Member Staff Member

    markandmax,

    Yes, you are correct in that no one can ever charge to help with filing for the Aid and Attendance benefit. Do not try to pay somebody to do the application for you!

    If your mother would like to receive Medicaid and Aid and Attendance, this is possible. However, the maximum amount that could be awarded from the A&A benefit if your mother is on Medicaid is $90. This amount could vary, as each state has different laws when dealing with Medicaid, but the $90 per month is the limit she could receive for the benefit in addition to the Medicaid.

    I hope that helps clarify a few of your questions?
     
  3. markandmax

    markandmax Newbie

    So even if the amount potentially awarded by A&A plus her social security totals less than $2000/month, the A&A is reduced to $90 if she is on medicaid or qualifies for medicaid? Then how does anyone receive full A&A benefits? Does one have to choose either medicaid or A&A benefits? Am i not understanding something/
    Also the link to Elder Resource Benefits is on the veteran aid.org website... so now I am really confused. How are they allowed to charge $800 for a cash flow analysis before then helping to file the paperwork for the VA? I thought they were a recommended company as the link is on the site
     
  4. Kaylin

    Kaylin Hero Member Staff Member

    markandmax,

    I am sorry for the confusion: Yes, Elder Resource Benefits is the only service we recommend from VeteranAid.org because Patty Servaes (the owner and manager of Elder Resource Benefits) is one of only people who can approve independent living application for the Aid and Attendance benefit, can take denial from the VA for the benefit and do appeal for decision to review, handles applications for people in unusual or dire circumstances, does not refer to elder law attorneys. She does a completely free initial consultation call and will be honest with you if you might need her services or not.

    If your mother is approved for Medicaid, unfortunately the max amount she can be awarded from Aid and Attendance is $90. This $90 cannot be spent on care expenses, it has to be strictly for personal items.
     
  5. markandmax

    markandmax Newbie

    ok, thank you. So i need to choose between medicaid or A&A... as to which will be more helpful...$90 isn't much after all that paperwork. I had the free consult, And it seems that I need to pay $800 for a 'cashflow' analysis to Elder Resource before starting the process, even if there is no cash flow to analyze. That doesn't seem right to me. I thought the help in filing is free. I should be able to choose not to do a cash flow analysis.
     
  6. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    markandmax.

    ElderBenefitsConsulting.com is a reputable company that offer different services, and the "cash flow" analysis is generally for those who have too much in income, and need to know when to file down the line, and the impact it has on Medicaid. Obviously for your circumstance, this is not a good fit, but the constant reference to them in a negative manner is not necessary. They have helped thousands who were in difficult situations, had been taken advantage of by various financial groups, handle appeals for those who were denied, and are VA Accredited.

    We would not make referrals to anyone or any company that did not follow the letter of the law and be in good standing with the VA.

    Your issues are that your Mom is currently in an Independent facility, which is not a "licensed care" facility. The VA does not consider "Independent" living as "assisted" care.

    Mom can only receive the max award of $90.00 if she files for Medicaid and is approved. The $90.00 for A&A cannot be spent on any medical/care expenses. It has to be spent on personal items.

    If Mom's situation is as desperate as you have stated, then Medicaid would be the better route to go for her. It is a lot of paperwork to file for A&A, but if those funds will make the difference of being able to provide her with personal items monthly that she could otherwise not have, then it is worth the time it takes to make application.
     
  7. markandmax

    markandmax Newbie

    Thank you for clarifying all of this. There is alot of information to plow through and I just trying to understand and make sense of it. My intent is not to disparage any organization that helps to 'wade' through all of this paperwork and confusing information. There is so much information from so many sources and some of it is contradictary. I was just tryinig to understand the consulting process with ERB. As well as try to understand why one can not receive both medicaid and the A&A benefit. While my mother is not in assisted living she will be shortly and I am trying to get her as much aid as possible.
    Thank you again for clarifying this confusion information
     
  8. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    markandmax,

    You're welcome, and to further clarify the issue for you, when you file for Medicaid, the state is paying for your care. Medicaid and the VA are not going to both be paying the full rate from both agencies.

    They kind of look at it as "doubling dipping", so it is one or the other. Once you get your Mom into the facility you can apply for the Medicaid, but keep in mind that facilities have limited number of beds that are allocated to Medicaid, so be sure a Medicaid bed is available for your Mom. After getting her settled is when you would want to make application for A&A for the $90.00 if you feel it is beneficial.
     
  9. markandmax

    markandmax Newbie

    ok, thank you for following up with me on that. In my opinion, it seems that the people on medicaid are exactly the ones who need the VA benefit... as medicaid covers healthcare costs, what money do they have to cover all else? Wish I had known about the A&A sooner, it could have helped her until she her money ran out and she qualified for medicaid. Everyone should get this info as soon as they turn a certain age.... or have had a family member in service.
    thanks again.
     
  10. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    We agree that every Veteran and their family should know about this benefit along with any others that they may be entitled to.

    We tried getting a Bill before Congress that would require the VA to send out annual updates like Social Security does, but had no response in anyone wanting to support and move that forward.
     
  11. markandmax

    markandmax Newbie

    Just found this information online regarding VA benefits and medicaid in NJ...(this was the result of a lawsuit):

    In February 2015, a Consent Order was filed in New Jersey federal district court, concluding a hard-fought class action lawsuit. In the Order, the State of New Jersey agreed to amend its Medicaid program on a State-Wide basis to exclude pension benefits paid by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) when determining an applicant’s eligibility for Medicaid benefits.

    Anyone have any thoughts on this?


    MEDICAID COMMUNICATION NO. 15-08
    TO: County Welfare Agency Directors Statewide Eligibility Agencies
    DATE: April 29, 2015
    Institutional Services Section (ISS) Area Supervisors
    SUBJECT: Veterans Affairs Payments
    The purpose of this communication is to advise Medicaid eligibility determining agencies that applicants who receive income through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) must provide detailed verification of such income. Detailed verification of this information can be obtained by requesting a letter from the VA. The VA’s letter should detail the benefit(s) the applicant is eligible to receive, including the specific dollar amount attributable to each benefit category, such as, but not limited to, “Aid and Attendance,” “Improved Pension,” “Widow Pension,” “Dependent Pension,” “Housebound Care,” or “Educational” benefits.
    Certain VA benefits like the “Improved Pension” (VAIP) are awarded as a result of Unreimbursed Medical Expenses (UMEs). VAIP benefits that are received due to UMEs that reduce the applicant’s income to $0 are not included as countable income during the Medicaid eligibility determination process. Applicants may demonstrate that the VAIP is received as a result of UMEs by providing the eligibility determining agency with:
    1. A letter issued by the VA stating that the entire VAIP is classified as aid and attendance; or,
    2. A letter, or other documentation, from the VA reflecting the amounts of countable income and UMEs used to determine VAIP eligibility and showing that the VA has determined that the UMEs reduce the applicant's income to $0.
    Examples of these documents are attached.
     
  12. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    Medicaid laws vary from state-to-state, and what laws apply in one state do not in another.

    We cannot address the issue of whether a specific state will count A&A as income. If that is the case for you, then you may want to just by-pass the application, and just go with Medicaid since it would only be $90.00.
     

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