My story

Discussion in 'Share Your Personal Experience' started by marymorr, Jun 22, 2011.

  1. marymorr

    marymorr Newbie

    Hi, all,

    I'm very glad this website exists, and thank you Debbie for your efforts.

    A quick orientation to the situation: My father was a WWII veteran, with a service-connected
    disability, who died in 2000. He had filed for and finally gotten complete disability in the last
    few years he was alive. When he died, all benefits ceased, and my mother got nothing more
    from the VA. At the time, we (her kids) didn't think that was right, but she wasn't interested
    in taking on the bureaucracy. Now, 11 years and two heart attacks and a stroke later, she
    needs help. She recovered from the heart attacks, but the stroke she had on Feb. 14 of this
    year left her paralyzed on the right side, speechless, and incontinent. Basically bed- and
    wheelchair-bound.

    I went and talked to the veterans' benefits counselor at the local American Legion today,
    and he told me something that I had not heard from any source -- none of the websites
    I've looked at (including this one, unless I just missed it), none of the people I've talked to --
    and that is, that unless my mother is getting a widow's pension from the VA (which she is
    not), she won't even be considered for Aid and Attendance although she desperately needs
    it. And the dollar amount that her income has to fall below -- $686 a month -- after her
    medical expenses, prescriptions, and so forth, is so low that I can easily imagine that her
    net income from Social Security and the piddly pension she gets from my father's last job,
    which amounts to about $950 a month, might be TOO HIGH for the VA.

    Is this correct? Does this reflect what the rest of you have learned from the processes
    you have gone through? I will try to find out in whatever way I can, but I will also start
    collecting the expense information that will be required to determine whether Mom will be
    able to qualify.

    Sorry this is so long, but I'm really bummed.

    Mary Morrison in OK
     
  2. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    Mary,

    Glad that you found us as well, and hope we can help!

    I wish I had a dollar for every time I have heard this. I would be a rich woman.

    NO, a widow does NOT have to be receiving a pension in order to apply and qualify for Aid and Attendance.

    This person has "misinformed" you, and you really should call or go back as ask that they not tell anyone else this.

    What you don't mention is what is being paid out for her care and who is providing it?

    Please look at the Resource and Tips tab for the "Countable" income formula. You need to determine where she is at the end of the month. The most she can receive with the pension is $1056. Ideally if she is at zero at the end of the month after all allowable expenses, that is the most desired, but she would still be entitled to whatever the difference is to bring her up to the $1056 providng she falls short.
     
  3. marymorr

    marymorr Newbie

    Hi, Debbie,

    Thanks for your reply. I will do as you suggest (gathering all this info is
    going to take awhile -- my mom was never organized about stuff like
    paperwork, and we've had the devil of a time finding bank statements,
    etc.

    You just told me something else I didn't understand, and which wasn't made
    clear by anything I've read, if I'm getting this correct: If I understand what
    you're saying, the most Mom can get from the VA is whatever amount brings
    her monthly income up to $1056, after all the calculations over the 12-month
    period covered are divided by 12 and deducted from her current monthly
    income.

    Trouble is, until Mom had the stroke on Feb 14, she was doing pretty well,
    and her Medicare and GEHA pretty much covered her medical expenses,
    except for dental. So if we do the calculation for, say, June 2010 to
    June 2011, it won't be at all representative of what her expenses have
    been since Feb. and what they are going to be from now on. In the
    shape she's in, she cannot be left alone in the house for any period.
    She is helpless. Currently her care is the very little bit of home health
    that Medicare will provide for a certain period, maybe 5 hours a week.
    All the other 163 hours are provided by my brother (who lives with
    Mom and has for the past 13 years), my sister, and myself.

    It seems to me that under the circumstances, it would be best to
    defer the application until a few more months (at least two) have
    passed so that we can gather real data about what it NOW costs
    to keep Mom healthy and comfortable.

    Your advice is very welcome, and so is advice from anyone in a
    similar situation.

    Thanks,
    Mary M in OK
     
  4. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    Mary,

    Dental does not count as a medical expense for this pension. This is to pay for the assistance of another whether that be in the home, ALF, or Nursing Home. Expenses are considered from the date of application.

    If mom is not paying any of you for her care, then you will more than likely not have enough to claim in "allowable medical" to bring her "countable" income down enough.

    If Medicare is paying for the care, she can't claim that as she is not out of pocket for those services.

    If you look at the formula for the "countable income" you will see that the without care expenes being paid for ongoing services, you will have a challenge here.
     
  5. Max

    Max Hero Member

    VA will count all medically related expenses. This includes all dental, OTC, mileage, etc. Report everything.
     
  6. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks for the clarification. I stand corrected.
     
  7. annh

    annh Newbie

    Has your mother been turned down for DIC by the VA??? If your father was 100% service related disabled, she should qualify for that compensation!!!!
     
  8. Max

    Max Hero Member

    This is not necessarily true. Its a dangerous assumption to think that 100% service-connection = DIC.
     

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