New at this and confused??

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by dgray623, Jan 11, 2008.

  1. dgray623

    dgray623 Newbie

    My husband and my income combined prevents him from receiving any pension benefit. He has Vascular Dementia from heart surgery he had in 2001. When he came out of the surgery they were calling it a "medically induced brain injury" but now they say it is Vascular Dementia. He has been declining every year since then. He has SS and Medicaid now, so that helps a lot.
    I work full time and he has been attending adult day care the past 2 years. It is getting to the point where he will have to be placed in assisted living in the near future. I am aware that they will take his SS money for his care and want to know if he is entilted for help from the VA as his SS surey will not be enough to cover his expenses.
    I have placed him on the Assisted Living list for medicaid, but I am told that there are hundreds of people ahead of him on the list.
    Would he be entilted to help with payment when he gos into the Assisted Living home? We have no assets anymore as they have been all used up these past years since his surgery.
    Thank you
  2. VictoriaC

    VictoriaC Newbie

    If your husband meets the service requirements (served on active duty at least one day during a war time period, served at least 90 consecutive days, and received a discharge that was other than dishonorable), then he may be eligible for aid and attendance. The maximum he could get per month is $1,842.
    To determine if he would be eligible, take your combined gross income and deduct all of his health care expenses, all of your health care expenses, and the assisted living costs (projected), and see what that reduces your gross income to. If you get a negative number, then he should get the full benefit. If it does not reduce your income to zero, then he would get the difference between your income and the maximum benefit.

    It sounds like you could potentially apply now if you are paying for the day program; that is also considered a health care expense.
  3. Dolly

    Dolly Newbie

    My father passed away 6 years ago and my sister and I have been the nearest relatives taking care of our mother. Dad served in Korea and after we heard about this program, it was an answer to our prayers. How do we get started? I have downloaded all the forms that seem to apply and my sister (my mother's executrix) is collecting medical records and bills. I know we need to get a doctor's statement so that she can qualify for even Basic care. That should be no problem - she has severe osteoporosis, diabetes, has had 2 heart attacks, has COPD, gets anxiety attacks, is on oxygen most of the time, etc.

    She also lives in a mobile home and drives a car worth approximately $500 - only during the day and when with someone else as a companion to assist her when she arrives at her destination. She has absolutely NO savings or retirement money (Dad had to take a lump sum form his pension fund to pay for his expenses while he was dying of lung cancer). She has NO valuables or collectibles and has even sold her wedding set to help pay for bills. The four of us siblings take turns paying for utility bills.

    My sister and I do most of the minor care and all 4 of us kids have her on the Life Alert neck button/ monitoring system for fear of her falling - which has happened twice.

    She is unable to walk more than a hundred feet or so without being winded, and cannot vacuum, change her linens, or do her own grocery shopping. Currently, we are paying a woman to come in twice a week to do the heavier work - especially the trash, laundry and changing the cats' box to name just a few things. A very kind friend does her yard work and mows her lawn.

    Someone my husband knows had to put his mother (whose husband was in WWII) in a nursing home and he did found out about this program and used a local lawyer who charged about $300 to process all the paperwork. Is this a normal fee? Can my sister and I do it ourselves, or would it be worth paying the lawyer's fee? I just want to be sure that we aren't being scammed for something we can do ourselves. On the other hand, as our 76 year old mom gets older, we are sure that the level of support she will need will escalate to housebound and then to a nursing home. Is this a good reason to bring the lawyer in now?

    Thanks for sharing any information you can - my Dad died very upset that when he joined the Marines to fight in Korea, he was promised free medical care for life. By the time he desperately needed it, the VA declared him not eligible because the rules had changed - lifetime care was available only to 20 year retirees.

    Dad did only a few "hitches" in Korea -not a full retirement. Just getting the plaque for his grave headstone was a nightmare! I know he would truly rest in more peace if he knew Mom was taken care of. In her present home, even Basic care should pay the majority of her utility bills, medical expenses, and other everyday expenses as well as partial in home care for the heavier tasks.

    Thanks! Dolly

    BTW - TODAY would have been Dad's 75th birthday. Getting help for Mom would be an awesome way to honor his memory.
  4. veteranadvocate

    veteranadvocate Full Member

    I feel that $300 is very reasonable. You should feel comfortable with the attorney’s knowledge of the program. If you have a recommendation from the individual that used the attorney before I think it would be wise to use the service of the attorney. There are so many ands, ifs and buts with the VA’s regulations. The issue is not just that you get your Mother approved for the Aid and Attendance but that you get the maximum benefits that she is entitled to.

    Many people file the application on their own but if you forget to complete a particular form or forget to send a particular document, it could slow the processing time down considerably.

    You may also check to see if you have a County Veterans Service Officer that can complete the application for your Mother. Their services are free of charge but many are not aware of the benefit. Just make sure that you are comfortable with their knowledge and cooperation.

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