Change in Aid & Attendance Rate due to spouse death

Discussion in 'Expenses' started by DorisMae, Jul 17, 2015.

  1. DorisMae

    DorisMae Newbie

    Hi. I am fiduciary for my 97 year old father. He has been getting max A&A benefit (w/spouse) ($2120) for a few years. He is in assisted living and my mother was in a dementia facility. She died on 2 January of this year. After several notifications of her death, today I received a letter stating what my father's new benefits would be. I do somewhat understand the calculations, except for the month of January, 2015. They computed that month differently - they counted my mother's entire year of social security income with my father's income, yet they did not consider any of her projected medical expenses at all. I feel they should have been projected for the year, just as her social security was. Thus - the bottom line - his award for January this year is only $43! It will be $600 effective 1 February. Thus, I owe a LOT of backpay. I reduced his direct debit to $1500 (from $2100), (paid directly to his facility) allowing for a decrease, but I didn't expect it to be so low. His expenses have increased since the original award, so I will collect 2014 receipts for his care and submit those. Sorry for the long history - my first question: Does a payment need to be returned in the month of the veteran's death? Or is the payment on the 1st of the month an entitlement if the vet is living on that day? Shouldn't he have been entitled to the full January payment since his spouse was living on that day? Thank you for any assistance. DorisMae
     
  2. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    DorisMae,

    Something does not sound right about how this was calculated. The VA does not pro-rate the month of death.

    I suggest that you complete VA form 21-4138 Statement in Support of Claim informing the VA of the increase in his care expenses so they can recalculate his award with the updated information.

    Good luck with getting it all sorted out.
     
  3. DorisMae

    DorisMae Newbie

    Thank you Vetadmin for your response. I have collected info for a response, which includes all of this year's assisted living costs (averages $4700 per month). I also have bank info for my mother showing that SS rescinded her 3 January pay (later repaid after forms & hassle). She had about $600 in bills to her facility (room charge & supplies from previous month). Therefore - her January income was $0. I hope the VA can be reasonable in seeing that they should not add $11,000 to my father's income for the year. It's good to know the VA does not pro-rate months. It is just ridiculous that they arrived at a a figure of $43 for one month! Thank you again. DorisMae
     
  4. DorisMae

    DorisMae Newbie

    I have printed the VA Form 4138 suggested. I have another question - the letter I got notifying me of changing award amounts says "if the amount you pay for medical expenses changes.....tell us immediately". Then later in the letter it says "if you do not agree with our decision, you should write and tell us why. You have one year from the date of this letter to appeal the decision. The enclosed VA Form 4107, "Your Rights to Appeal our Decision", explains your right to appeal".

    So, when they says "write and tell us why" - are they implying I can write with updates without the 4107? Or do I have to file an appeal on the 4107?

    THANK YOU.
     
  5. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    They want you to "appeal" the decision as they would mean at least 2 1/2+ years for a hearing to take place. You don't want that.

    You update information to be current on the Statement in Support of Claim, so they don't have that excuse.
     
  6. DorisMae

    DorisMae Newbie

    Some updates.... After 6 months of notifying different people of my mother's passing - I received notice of my father's new monthly award - letter said $677 for the rest of this year, and $345 for next year. It wasn't until finding this site and looking at references that I had any idea how awards were computed - I just assumed my father would get what a "single" rate was - $1788. Anyway - he got his first "new" payment yesterday - $355. I called and spoke to someone to find out why it wasn't $677. I was told the "computer was right, so the letter must have been wrong". Then I got the "debt collection" letter today - debt is almost $11,000 - they are happy to take all of his monthly income starting 1 October.....and at $355 per month, that will take 30 months to repay - so no assistance. At age 96, I think he has seen the end of his aid. I did submit proof of what he's been paying for assisted living and medications, and by my calculations I think he will have a countable income of only 3000 or so - just have to wait and see if the pension center sees it that way. I have already written the debt management center asking for deferment until the pension center decides on any changes.
     
  7. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    Doris,

    I sent you an email to your personal email address.
     

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