Just starting the process! Questions about IRA and Ebenefits

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by jeanne68, Jun 30, 2015.

  1. jeanne68

    jeanne68 Newbie

    My mother died unexpectedly last week. She was the primary caregiver for my father, who suffered a stroke in 2013. He is of sound mind, but the stroke left him with only his left side functioning. He can walk (on good days, on bad days when he's tired he's prone to falling) with the aid of claw cane, but can't do things like, get a glass of water if he's thirsty, because while he can make it into the kitchen, he can't actually retrieve the glass of water and take it the table. Cooking is obviously out as well. Once he's in the shower, he can wash himself, but needs supervision for the pitfalls of getting in and getting out. He has accidents sometimes and needs the sheets changed once or twice a week. But he doesn't need skilled nursing care, and really wants to stay in his home.

    To that end we are trying to provide as much coverage as possible but need to hire outside help 3-4 days a week.

    His income, upon my mom's death, has been reduced to his SS which is $1600 a month. He is a vet and served during the Vietnam War. I believe he should qualify for A&A.

    1.) I am trying to determine his countable income. He does have an IRA, but is not taking any minimum required distribution yet because he is 69. Does the entire value of the IRA count as income? The balance is less than $80,000. However, we believe my mother had a life insurance policy via her retirement benefits package (still trying to navigate all that) and we are concerned that proceeds from that (also less than $80,000) COMBINED with this IRA account may put him over the limit. If the IRA account is not countable, then he should qualify now, and by the time he's required to meet the minimum distribution (April 1, 2017), any proceeds from her life insurance should be depleted (in order to offset his living expenses). But if the IRA counts NOW, then I think he won't qualify for a few months and I should delay the application (which I don't want to delay it, since it apparently takes some time to come to fruition).

    2.) Ebenefits - The ebenefits site has a link to apply for the Pension. The drop down box lists a pension Form 21-526, but not the form listed on this website for A&A (Form 21-527EZ). What is the difference? I've read (elsewhere) that the ebenefits site can expedite the process but on this site I've read conflicting information. Any input is appreciated.

    Thank you for your advice!

  2. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    Our condolences on the loss of your Mom.

    Couple of things. You need to look on the site and the "Approved Periods of War" to first determine if your Dad's dates of service qualify.

    You need to wait until you see if your Dad is going to benefit financially from the life insurance policy.

    If you look here on the forums under the Tips and Resources tab, you will see "countable income" calculation. Print that off and go through it to see where your Dad is at the end of the month.

    He has to be paying enough for care that demonstrates a financial need for the pension to pay for that care.

    Use the 527-EZ here on the forums, and DO NOT make application through the e-benefits site.

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