Income Question

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Cathy, Feb 17, 2008.

  1. Cathy

    Cathy Newbie

    First of all, let me say that I am hopeful after finding out about this benefit. Thank you for this forum.

    I have downloaded all the forms, etc. I have 3 questions:
    1) Currently, two siblings help supplement Mom's social security check to cover the cost of Mother's caregiver who comes 5 days a week. However, both are trying to retire and cannot sustain paying(they pay by check directly to Mom and Mom writes a check to the caregiver). Does their help count as income ? It's particularly confusing because the help will be ending soon--I really hate saying it's there knowing it won't be.

    2) I am reading that the VA typically reacts(at least by phone ) in such a way that indicates they know nothing about this benefit. What is different when the forms are sent to the individual state VA addresses provided (on this site) ?

    3) If the military discharge papers are not readily available and we have to request them, how long does that take ?

    Thank you in advance !
    Cathy
     
  2. veteranadvocate

    veteranadvocate Full Member

    First of all, let me say that I am hopeful after finding out about this benefit. Thank you for this forum.

    I have downloaded all the forms, etc. I have 3 questions:

    1) Currently, two siblings help supplement Mom's social security check to cover the cost of Mother's caregiver who comes 5 days a week. However, both are trying to retire and cannot sustain paying(they pay by check directly to Mom and Mom writes a check to the caregiver). Does their help count as income? It's particularly confusing because the help will be ending soon--I really hate saying it's there knowing it won't be.

    We try to always provide sections of the law and/or regulations when possible so that you will have it to back-up your actions.

    38 CFR 3.272 Exclusions from income.

    (b) Maintenance. The value of maintenance furnished by a relative, friend, or a charitable organization (civic or governmental) will not be considered income. Where the individual is maintained in a rest home or other community institution or facility, public or private, because of impaired health or advanced age, money paid to the home or the individual to cover the cost of maintenance will not be considered income, regardless of whether it is furnished by a relative, friend, or charitable organization. The expense of maintenance is not deductible if it is paid from the individual's income.


    2) I am reading that the VA typically reacts(at least by phone ) in such a way that indicates they know nothing about this benefit. What is different when the forms are sent to the individual state VA addresses provided (on this site)?

    Published in the Army Times:

    The American Federation of Government Employees said in testimony provided to the House Veterans’ Affairs subcommittee on disability assistance that VA workers “face many challenges in their jobs, including a growing number of complex claims, staff attrition and intense productivity pressures, including the ‘three-minute rule.’”

    The rule, the union said, requires a caller to spend no more than three minutes on hold waiting for a VA employee to answer, and for the discussion itself to last no longer than an additional three minutes.
    Jack McCoy, the VA’s associate deputy undersecretary for policy and program management, said mistakes have been made, but denied there is a three-minute rule. He said there are daily performance standards requiring 64 calls to be answered, but said there is no specific time limit on any one call.
    ...

    Berkley and Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., the subcommittee chairman, said the VA must do better.

    Miller said a VA “mystery caller” program, in which investigators pretending to be veterans called to ask questions, found up to 50 percent of the information provided was wrong and that callers often “were treated rudely.”


    No wonder veterans and widows are missing out on their benefits. Many of the employees that work in the phone-room are considered entry-level employees. Claim processors are usually more experienced and do a better job. There are some adjudicators (decision makers) that are hired on a OJT basis.

    3) If the military discharge papers are not readily available and we have to request them, how long does that take ?

    We do not recommend waiting for the military discharge papers. The VA is required to assist in obtaining verification from the National Personnel Records Center and/or the military service departments.

    Thank you in advance !
    Cathy

    Hope this information will be of some help to you. Please let us know if you have any additional questions. We also request that you help us to get this information out to others.

    The Veteran Advocate
     
  3. Cathy

    Cathy Newbie

    Thank you very much Veteran Advocate. The only thing I didn't quite understand was "The expense of maintenance is not deductible if it is paid from the individual's income." Deductible from what ? I thought maybe this had to do with taxes and not the benefit eligibility equation. Mom's income would be her social security and her expense(among other things) would be the weekly caregiver to whom she writes the check. Just want to make sure what that sentence applied to.

    I will most ceratinly make this benefit and forum known.
    Thank you, Cathy
     

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