I process claims for pension benefits at the VA. Ask me anything.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Max, Aug 12, 2013.

  1. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    Yes, a grandchild can act as the "caregiver" as long as they are being paid to provide that care, and yes that is counted as an "expense" to be claimed.
  2. My 94-year-old mother is the primary caregiver for my 95-year-old father, who has Alzheimer's and is legally blind from glaucoma. I am trying to help Mom figure out how to get help with Dad; in the process, I am trying to figure out how Aid & Attendance works. Dad's current social security is about $1600/month; Mom's is about $600/month; they receive about $720/month in Aid & Attendance; they have no other income. At that rate of income, they are currently able to pay approximately all of their expenses, including rent, food, transportation, health care, etc. If Mom needs to move dad into an Assisted Living facility, that will cost an additional $2800/month over and above what they are currently paying for all their expenses. How would that change the amount they are receiving for Aid & Attendance? Would it take it to the maximum benefit of $2054/month (for a veteran and a dependent spouse)? And if that happens, how would that change Dad's eligibility for Medicaid? (They have essentially no assets.)
  3. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    If they go into a facility, then Mom would also need to require the assistance for her daily living as well in order for your Dad to be awarded the higher rate of an increase in care expenses and based on both the veteran and spouse requiring care. You would need to update the VA on their new residence, and increase in expenses as well as a Statement of Occupancy from the facility.

    So yes, the VA would look at increasing the monthly award based on the increase in expenses.

    It has no impact on Medicaid unless you file for Medicaid and opt to let the state pay for their care. If you go that route, then the most he could receive is $90.00 a month for A&A, and that cannot be spent on care expenses. Has to be spent on personal items.
  4. cam2012

    cam2012 Newbie


    I hope all is well!

    Please let me know if you can give me some direction on the following:

    My fathers Part B Medicare Premimums were previsouly paid by a DHS. Last July, he received an increase in his Aid & Attendance Pension. This increase put him over the income limit for assistance. Medicare is now deducting 104.90 each month for his Part B out of his Social Security. Consequently, his Social Security income has dropped by that amount. Can I now report these premiums to the VA for his as a medical expense? Do I also need to report anything to show the reduction in his income? I have just completed medical expenses for 2013 and will file them this week and needed to know what to do before I submit them. Thanks
  5. Evykay

    Evykay Newbie

    Mom, who was receiving a and a, passed away before accrued benefits pending appointment of fiduciary could be paid out. Last illness expenses were paid from funds held jointly by mom and me. Can I be reimbursed for half of these expenses?

    Thank you
  6. mattie93

    mattie93 Newbie

    I am currently getting documents together for my mother, who has been in a nursing home for two years. I believe, after reading eligibility requirements, she qualifies, as she is a widow of a Korean War veteran. However, when I asked the nursing home to verify she lives there, as required by one of the forms, I was told by the nursing home finance director that she would not be eligible because the nursing home does not have a contract with the VA. I've not seen that requirement in any of the documents. Could she be wrong about that? Thanks.
  7. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    She is incorrect. It does not matter whether if they have a contract or not with the VA. If she or you are private paying for her care, that is all that matters.

    They just need to confirm she is a resident, date of move in, and monthly fees.

    Good Luck with the process.
  8. nov091996

    nov091996 Newbie

    I sure hope you can help. My Mother is now 90 and we are getting ready to place her in an ALF in Georgia. Her house is in Florida and we are putting it on the market. Since the house may not sell for quite some time, even if I understand it, we need to place this under her assets, but we will have no income till it sells. It is deeded in a revocable trust so how will this affect her application? Do we need to wait till it sells then apply? She has about 2 years worth of cash to pay for the ALF and we will need the income from her house to help pay for her ALF after that. What if the house does not sell, will the A&A benefit still work for her.

    Sorry so long but I am so confused with all of this etc.
  9. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    The house won't count as an asset until it sells.

    If she has enough money to cover two years worth of ALF expenses, then I am going to guess she may be too high in assets at the moment to financially qualify, especially given her advanced age.

    If longevity runs in her family, and you anticipate that she could live more than a couple of years, you need to factor that in.

    It really comes down to her expenses in the ALF, how short she is to cover them each month and how quickly she will go through the money.

    Without knowing more of the particulars, I can't say with certainty if filing now would be best.
  10. I posted 10 days ago, and I thank you for your prompt reply! Unfortunately, things went downhill rapidly after I posted, and Dad's now in an Alzheimer's care center.

    I am filling out the annual VA form for Aid and Attendance, and I'd like to know if I should be listing the money Mom (age 94) paid a neighbor (age about 80) in 2013 to sit with Dad (age 95). Mom has not been taking out taxes, and they (Mom and the neighbor) do not have a contract. Should we consider doing both of those things (taking taking out taxes, signing a contract) retroactively?

    I'd also like to know if Mom's housekeeper's pay can be included, as Mom had to hire her because she (Mom) could no longer clean house because of the time and effort to take care of Dad.

    Thank you again for your willingness to help people out in this way!!
  11. Evykay

    Evykay Newbie

    Thank you Vet Admin for clarifying my question about paying accrued benefits to children of a beneficiary.

    My follow up question is about reimbursement of eligible expenses. If those costs were paid with funds held jointly by beneficiary and me, can I expect to be paid for half of the expenses?

    Your help is greatly appreciated.
  12. mattie93

    mattie93 Newbie

    I have read that a nursing home facility, when filling out a form regarding my mom's medical information, has to note that she is a "patient" rather than a "resident." Is that correct. If so, why? My mom, the widow of a Korean War veteran, has been in a nursing home for over two years. Doesn't that mean she is a "resident" if she is long-term? She is private pay, but she has less than $50,000 left in her account and we just learned of the Aid & Attendance benefit we believe she will be eligible to recieve. Thank you very much for your time.
  13. Bill

    Bill Newbie

    My Mom receives ~$1200/mo. DIC from her (now deceased) WWII veteran husband. She is a full time resident of a skilled nursing facility/nursing home. The way that I interpret the A&A benefit: (1) You can't receive the both the A&A & DIC. (2) The maximum A&A benefit, for a surviving spouse, is $1113.

    Based on the information I have provided....(& if my interpretation is correct per (1) above) there is no point in beginning the A&A application....correct?

    Thank you! for your time/reply.
  14. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    She is getting more from DIC than she should from A&A, so you are better off keeping what she has.
  15. Bill

    Bill Newbie

    Thanks/I appreciate your time taken to reply.
  16. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    You're welcome.
  17. kwool

    kwool Newbie

    Hi VSR, I am helping my Pastors wife apply for the A&A benefit/ Her Father is homebound with Parkinsons, her mother cares for him. He has income from retirement and social security his medical bills are health insurance and whatever RX he takes currently they don't have anyone that comes in the home to care for him but they need to, I guess my question is can a family member be paid to care if they get some sort of certification or no, they really need the help the wife caring for him is older and I don't know how long she can doi it, any help would be appreciated thank you
  18. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    Yes, a family member can be paid to act in the capacity of a caregiver. The exception here is the spouse. VA feels that spouses should take care of one another without the expectation of compensation, so the wife cannot be paid for acting as his caregiver.
  19. kls22695

    kls22695 Newbie


    You have provided a wealth of info in your responses to queries. If you are still responding:

    I submitted a claim for Pension (A&A) to VA with the help of a VSO rep in June 2013. My father currently receives service connected compensaiton at 40%, but suffered a stroke in February 2013, has substantial cognitive impairment/dementia, and is now living in a memory care community.

    In November, the PHL office referred the claim to the Winston-Salem office (compensation). Earlier this month, I was told by the VA that the claim is now in the "determining incompetency & fiduciary" review phase. We did include the form where my father requested I be his Fiduciary when we intially filed. I was told that someone would be contacting us to schedule an interview, etc.

    We have not received approval of the claim/award. It appears to me that if they are now at the phase of determining whether my father is incompetent, is it say to say that the claim will be approved? It does not make sense to me that they would begin this process if they had not already made this determination? I cannot get an answer on this from VA...my father's monthly expenses in memory care (~7000 a month) far exceed his monthly income.

    Any information is greatly appreciated.
  20. magnumpi28

    magnumpi28 Jr. Member

    Would any of these ever qualify as a possible medical expense:
    1. I know a weelchair qualifys but what about a handicap van wheelchair lift?
    2. A medical grade air purifier for someone with a breathing condition?

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