independent living vs assisted living

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by rratkiewich, Oct 6, 2011.

  1. rratkiewich

    rratkiewich Newbie

    We have moved my father to a place that has marketed itself as the place for veterans due to fact that they "help" get paperwork in order for the VA A&A benefits. When we first talked to them, they indicated it was an independent living place for seniors with services that qualified it as an expense that could be listed on the VA application. They asked questions to ascertain my father's likelihood of being eligible for VA A&A benefits. They said he was very eligible and would likely get the full benefit of some $1600. They asked if he would need medical care. We said not at this time, but perhaps in the future. At this point he does need someone to cook meals for him and to provide transportation and general supervision (watch out for him in and around the property and if he takes their transportation off property). His doctor has filled out the physicians report for the VA specifying these needs. He has memory issues, confusion issues, and heart conditions.

    The information I am now getting from VA benefit advocates is that if the place he is living at does not have 24/7 medical care available, he is NOT in an Assisted Living place, and therefore the place where he is does NOT qualify as an expense against his income on the A&A application. We have been told only if he retains a caregiver service that might, for instance, check his medications, could he then list his place of living as an expense on the A&A application.

    1) Does the VA have a definition of a "qualified" facility, or does it have to be certified in some way in order to qualify as a true medical expense?
    2) If we retain a caregiver for him at additional expense, is only the expense for the caregiver qualified as a medical expense, or can we then also list his fee paid to the facility where is now living as well (which provides the other services that he very desparately needs)?

    3) Does the Statement of Occupancy need to be a form or can it be a letter? What EXACT information does it NEED to have on it?

    Thank you so much,
  2. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member


    First question to you, is this a "Holiday" Retirement/Independent property?
  3. rratkiewich

    rratkiewich Newbie

    Yes. How did you know?

    Please tell me more -- I am here in CT now, but am leaving early on Saturday morning. If there needs to be some renegotiation or documentation obtained I need to do it today or tomorrow.

    Thanks so much for you input,
  4. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    Because they are very well known for using this pension to move residents in with the promise they will qualify, when most times they do not.

    The VA has gotten quite wise to this ploy, and they have put a lot of veterans and widows in harm's way when the annual EVR comes from the VA, and is returned by the veteran or widow, and the VA comes back and says the property they live in is not an allowable expense, and the VA demands all the money back with full payment due immediately.

    They do not have medical staff on hand, they do not disperse medications, and the list goes on and on. Some of the properties do have outside agencies that you can "hire" for an additional cost.

    I am going to send you a private email about some of your options.
  5. passportbea

    passportbea Newbie

    In reference to Roseanne's post on her Father being moved to an independent living facility, I too have moved my Father to an independent living facility and trying to see if he can qualify for the 1600 VA benefit. Every time I start the process I get discouraged. This place is both Assisted and Independent Senior Living with both sides having 24/7 medical care available. He is disabled due to two knee replacement surgeries which left him walking with a cane. They cook his meals, provide transportation and provide general supervision for their tenants. He has the following symptoms: dizzyness, memory lapses and occasional light headness. He has had a few mini strokes but other than that he can get around. My question is if I had his doctor write a letter along with his VA application about her concern with his condition would that help in getting this benefit? He does take medication and along this road I was told if I was to pay someone to help him with the supervision of taking his meds then that would also help him qualify. I am at a standstill in this process. Can anyone help me or direct me to the right resources? There are veterans who live in his independent complex who are receiving this benefit and if they are able to qualify then I think my Father is also able to get the same benefit. Any help would greatlt be appreciated.

    Note: This Cypress Place Senior Living Facility is listed as qualifying for VA benefits but I just don't know how to go about it. Confused....
  6. mg5519

    mg5519 Newbie

    I am in exactly the same situation -- Holiday properties --- he has qualified for A&A but your comments concern me. This property does have 24/7 "managers" in attendance but I'm not sure of their qualifications however they had no problem signing the assisted living letter for VA. It was explained to me that since my Dad was not able to clean, cook, drive, wash his clothes, etc so he in fact does need assistance which they are providing. I take care of his many other needs. My Dad does have many medical problems, walking being a major factor, heart disease, cancer, etc. and reduced mental alertness. They do have contracted medical people on the property but I do not know the details of that. Each room does have two emergency response cords, one in the bathroom and one in the living area. When Dad has fallen, he pulls the cord and staff immediately respond and call 911. He is 89 years old.

    So my question is: Does the provision of meal preparation and serving, cleaning of apt, providing transportation, washing, not constitute assisted living? If not for this assistance, he could not live by himself. I supervise his medications.

    What are the specifics that need to be met to call it assisted living?

    When do I file an annual EVR and does VA send this to me and when should I expect it to arrive.
  7. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    Basically what you need is a letter from their Dr's stating they need to live in a modified enviornment, and note what they cannot do on their own. The fact that no personnel is on-hand to dispense meds may be an issue.

    This is not a guarentee the VA will approve, but it is your best shot at it.

    The VA sends the EVR out after the applicant has been receiving the pension, and depending on when they qualify, it may be up to a year before you receive one.
  8. flashrn

    flashrn Newbie

    What is an EVR? I have a similar situation as the previous post....
  9. passportbea

    passportbea Newbie


    EVR stands for Eligibility Verification Report. Sounds like you are in the beginning process. It can seem overwhelming and time comsuming but don't give up. My Father has been in his new independent/assisted living facility for two months now and when we initially went to the orientation before he moved in, they told him about the VA benefit that he could receive and it all sounded great but they don't tell you how hard it will be to get it if you live in the independent side of the facility. My best bet now is to get something from his doctor and like mentioned in this forum, find out how we can maybe pay someone to give him his medications which I understand will help in getting this benefit. He just went to the doctor yesterday and his doctor is sending him to a neurologist and geriatric specialist and adding new medications including putting him on depression medication. I had sensed he had been a little depressed and I know why now...his monthly rent is 2,795 and he assumed he would be able to get this benefit and that was one of the main reasons we moved him there but now I don't know.
  10. flashrn

    flashrn Newbie

    Thanks, yes, we looked into that exact same scenario. But from this site I quickly realized that was not the route. My mom is already in an independent facility that does not have any medical care. Also, she does not qualify for A & A as she receives DIC payments monthly since my father's death. Looks like she may qualify for Homebound money. I am still deciding whether to apply or not at this time or wait.
    This site is invaluable but all is still too complicated to me for all of these seniors who are so in need. Good luck!!!
  11. henn

    henn Newbie

    My mom is also moving into the independent side of an independent and assisted living facility. They have a "wellness clinic" that provides services on site and I can contract for medication reminders and shower assistance. Any sense of whether my mom will be eligible for the benefit if we purchase these services (and the physician's statement indicates that she needs it) even if she is on the "independent" side of the facility?
  12. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    It will depend on how the Dr words his evaluation, and if you contract for the other services, they are allowable expenses. Can't say for certain how the VA will rule on the overall cost of the facility.

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