Will A&A pay a benefit for housebound surviving spouse?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by SanAnton, Apr 20, 2012.

  1. SanAnton

    SanAnton Newbie

    My MIL is a surviving spouse who is housebound and is considered medically legally blind. She currently needs help with transportation issues like going to the grocery store, doctor appointments and occasional paperwork. She currently lives alone in her own home and does her own cooking and cleaning. BUT her eyesight is deteriorating and she will need help with cooking and cleaning. She is in reasonably good health and currently does not take any prescription medications or has very high out-of-pocket medical expenses.

    She needs to move closer to us (another state) and may require financial aid to help pay for a monthly housing expense. Even if she were to sale her home and with her other assets she would fall below the $80,000 asset level. My question is, does A&A pay a benefit for someone who lives in an apartment or senior community living that doesn't provide any care giving? Or does A&A pay a benefit only to people living in an assisted living or nursing care facility?

    I know this question is somewhat out of the content of this website, but would she qualify for the "housebound" benefit as a surviving spouse of the VA monthly pension?

    Thanks to everyone for sharing your experiences with A&A, it is very helpful.
     
  2. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    Hate to say it but no. She would have to require additional care for her day to day living.

    She would have to be able to show monthly reoccuring expenses for her care.

    The VA "may" consider her for the Housebound level due to being legally blind, BUT again, without ongoing care expenses to deduct from her monthly income, she would be challenged to demonstrate a financial need for the pension.
     
  3. SanAnton

    SanAnton Newbie

    Thanks VETADMIN for your post. I kind of suspected she wouldn't be eligible because she really doesn't have any care giving expenses, in some ways to be thankful for, but needs financial assistance for everyday living expenses. Please keep up your dedicated work on this website, it is inspiring for others. :)
     
  4. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    Thank you, and keep this pension in mind should things change for her down the road.

    I would suggest that you at least gather all the necessary documents, and put them in safe keeping somewhere should you need to make application.
     
  5. care4vets

    care4vets Newbie

    I know it's been a while since this was discussed, but in case San Anton's situation has changed, I wanted to share a little of my experience.

    As a friend of someone legally blind, I know the special challenges you face. My friend was initially awarded Housebound, but after more detailed info was sent, she now has the A&A benefit. When she was first widowed, we knew she needed financial help, but we did not know how to go about it. Thankfully, sites like this helped us immensely. I only wish I’d known about it prior to filing.

    You say your MIL lives alone and cooks and cleans for herself. I’m going to guess that she could not live alone without the regular aid and attendance of others to assist her with the tasks of daily living. If that is so, I believe you stand a chance of approval. As someone who has been close to the legally blind for years, I know most cannot use knives or stoves/ovens and can only re-heat what others have first prepared. While they may be able to do some cleaning, from personal experience I know they cannot fully maintain their home without assistance. If this is the case with your MIL, I would seriously consider her beginning to pay family as caregivers for tasks such as cleaning, cooking, transportation, medication administration, etc. so that the expense can help her meet the monthly expense threshold for eligibility. (search for Attendant Affidavit on this forum for more info. Be sure to be very specific with the VA).

    Her doctor can be of great help. Be aware that the VA’s definition of legal blindness is stricter than the standard medical definition. However, the doctor can be very clear in his description of her disability in the VA Medical Exam form. I would also list any other infirmities and how they might restrict her. (Search for “legal blindness” on this forum for the appropriate definitions and provide them to her physician, asking that if her visual acuity is 5 degrees or less and/OR if the vision is 5/200 or less to state this). The physician would need to be very clear in his wording and list how she needs an attendant to perform the tasks of daily living. It’s very important for the claimant, doctor and caregivers all in their respective forms to list any type of help she needs (not only major tasks like bathing, walking, protection from the hazards of her environment, but also any grooming tasks (keeping hair clean/nails trimmed), cooking, cleaning, transportation, etc.). It is very important for the doctor to state that she could not safely live alone without the regualr aid and attendance of others. EVEN IF she is not “legally blind” by the VA’s standards, that doesn’t mean she wouldn’t qualify for A&A or Housebound benefits if it is demonstrated by the physician and caregivers that she is in need of assistance. (For the first year, the VA did not consider my friend legally blind but still granted her Housebound. After the doctor provided more information on her visual acuity and we provided more info on all the types of assistance she was receiving, she was awarded A&A).
     

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