Was I given correct information or an automatic turnoff?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by LaurieG, Nov 21, 2008.

  1. LaurieG

    LaurieG Newbie

    I would like to apply for A&A for my mother, who is blind, and in the independent living side of an assisted living center. She has less than $80K in total assets, but her adjusted yearly income is about $14K.

    Several questions:

    - She is in the facility she's in because she's blind and cannot do her own transportation, shopping, and cooking. At the present time though, she's still able to do her own medications, use a walker to get to the dining room, bathe herself, etc. She's very "with it" -- no dementia -- but is blind and on a walker due to fractures from two falls.

    Even though she's in independent living, could she be bumped up to A&A instead of housebound because of the blindness?

    Can her rent be deducted from her income, or is that only if she is actually in assisted living?

    - The VA officer in her area was NOT helpful at all about answering my questions. In addition, he told me that her $70K in assets is "quite a lot" although we're spending down at about $1000-1200 per month! He also told me that if her life expectancy is 95, the $70K is divided by 10, and then the $7K is added to her present income! In other words, VA "gets her" twice. And he actually stated, "VA gets her twice." Is this correct or erroneous information? I don't remember seeing this on any website.

    - He also said that I'd have to furnish originals of the necessary documents. My stepfather's discharge papers are almost deteriorated into shreds.

    - He said that the turnaround time from time of application is 1 year. When I asked him, "Well, what if she's rejected, and we reapply? Is it another year?" His answer was "yes." So I said, "Then it could conceivably be two years or longer before getting an answer or possible benefits?" He said, "Yes."

    - He also said that I could apply for her in my state rather than her state (she lives halfway across the country.) I did talk to one person in the local VA office here, and would rather deal with them, if possible, instead of the VA officer where my mother is located.

    - I asked him about figuring medical expenses, and he said to take the expenses of the month before applying, and from that, figure the yearly expenses. So apparently I don't do an average of the medical expenses of the preceding 12 months? So I guess I should tell my mother to buy extra medications one month, so that I can use those figures to calculate yearly medication copays?

    - Seemed to me that the VA officer was a good gatekeeper, if you know what I mean! Or is his info correct?

    Thanks - any info would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Patty

    Patty Newbie

    Hi Laurie G,
    I'm helping while Deb is under the weather - let's all send her good thoughts!
    I think you hit the nail right on the head with the gatekeeper comment - the only way you will ever know is to file.
    Is she currently rated housebound? I ask sense you said "bumped" up to A&A. Blind people can be very independent and the VA knows it - but she needs transportation and cooking assistance - medication management?
    Rent can never be deducted, a portion of assisted living counts as a medical deduction, the portion that doesn't is the rent/meals.

    Is your mother 95? And I agree, the "VA gets her twice" is news to me...
    Never furnish originals - send a notarized copy.

    If you read the forum you will see a lot of people get it in under a year. In addition, you never reapply. If denied, you simply update the VA when her medical expenses, income or assets change and ask them to reconsider her claim.

    The medical expenses need to be regularly occurring monthly medical expenses - and they do not give full weight to prescriptions. From your post, I would say it is Medical Insurance Premium, what she pays for cooking (not food) and what she pays for someone to drive (but not if she can negotiate the bus route herself).

    Always file - it is the only way to be in the system and the only way you can appeal.

    Good Luck,
    Patty
     
  3. Ebtaxbiz

    Ebtaxbiz To Protect & Preserve

    LaurieG:

    Don't believe anything the VA person says! There are good resources to answer your questions. See some of my posts on the income test and the asset test and check out the websites where I got the information. Also, Debbie has posted resources that refer you to other websites. There are forms to use, and people who will help you who know what they're doing. Patty gave the best advice --
     

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