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LTC $ for Mom?: VA Aid/Assistance?
Old 01-15-2014, 01:53 AM   #1
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LTC $ for Mom?: VA Aid/Assistance?

My mom finally has accepted the advice of her dr., that she needs to either hire in-home care on a daily basis, or move to an assisted living facility. She's 86 and currently in a rehab. hospital recovering from a fall before Christmas (broken wrist and 1 broken vertebrae).

DB and I have hired a close friend who is an elder law atty, to help set up a plan for protecting her modest assets while also funding a monthly budget of at least $3700/mo. for a local facility.* He has sent us the form to apply for the veterans' aid/assistance program, since my dad was in the Nat'l Guard during the Korean War (though he never saw active duty, so who knows if she will qualify for the help of ~$1,000/mo.).

I plan to meet with a person at my SIL's hospital (SIL on my husband's side, not related to my mom) who helps people go through the VA aid/assistance application process; so, hopefully, he can provide some guidance.

In the meantime, has anyone here on the forum gone through this kind of application process, either for themselves or for a loved one?

If so, can you offer advice, insight, or prepare me for any potential glitches to anticipate?

Will this be anything like applying for SS disability, where people are usually denied 2-3 times before they finally are accepted and do get the coverage?

Thanks a lot, in advance.

*(Many of her affairs are already in order: current will, powers of atty. for DB and me, prepaid funeral, and she's been giving away prized possessions (in a very fair manner) to family members, in an effort to start down-sizing.)

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Old 01-15-2014, 08:18 AM   #2
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I am sorry you are dealing with this. For VA aid and attendance if National Guard there needs to be at least 90 days active federal duty. Training does not count. And at least one day during wartime. Sounds like he met the second part but maybe not the first? Sorry if that is the case

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Old 01-15-2014, 08:19 AM   #3
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I went through the process successfully with my mother. It took quite a long time to finally begin receiving the benefit. It has been several years so my memory is a little hazy. As I remember it, one requirement was that the veteran had to have served in combat, as Sarah has stated. So this may hang you up.

In any event, make sure that you fill out every single item whether or not it seems to apply. Put an explanation onto a separate, referenced attachment if necessary. Otherwise, they will come back at you months later asking for an explanation and it will add months to the process. All assets and income are taken into consideration as well as all qualified expenses, so be thorough.

Regarding your other post about the home, I believe the home is excluded from counting as an asset, but income from rent would be included as would the proceeds from a sale. Something to look into and think about maybe.

My mother has next to no assets, and annual income around the $22k from SS and a pension, is in assisted living and her benefit ended up in the $700 per year range, if memory serves.

Good luck.
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Old 01-15-2014, 10:55 AM   #4
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My Dad is a WWII combat veteran and we looked into the VA Aid and Attendance Pension for him when he went into assisted living. One of the requirements is low assets. I read in your other topic that your mom has savings. The elder law attorney that we talked to told us that most or all of Dad's assets had to be put into a irrevocable trust to meet the low asset requirement. This would have been a big taxable event for him as all his assets are in a traditional IRA.

There was lots of talk about annuities, which put him off completely as he is not comfortable with insurance salesman or attorneys. In the process he made a remark about them trying to make him look poor in order to get something from the VA.

During the discussion we learned that if Dad kept his condo and rented it the rental income would have been counted as income in the calculation of his monthly living cost vs his SS income and rental income which would make his VA Aid and Attendance benefit amount smaller. If he sold his condo the proceeds would have been additional assets to put in the trust to make his net worth lower.

From what I remember, the asset limit was $80,000 but for an older veteran it was lower due to shorter expected life span.

We did not proceed with the application because the whole thing made him very uncomfortable. My sister wanted to go ahead with the whole trust/annuity/let the lawyers manage everything idea because in her world that's what sophisticated people do. Dad didn't want anyone else in control of his assets and he likes to keep things very simple and lawyers and insurance salespersons are a complication and expense that he does not want.
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Old 01-15-2014, 11:59 AM   #5
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Lots of information here on the VA A&A benefit: Aid & Attendance FAQ

Some interesting things here such as no look back period. A house could be sold and proceeds "dispersed" and only the $$ that ended up in the veterans financial accounts would count toward net worth. Assets are counted from the date of application only.
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VA Benefits
Old 01-15-2014, 08:51 PM   #6
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VA Benefits

I helped my mother apply for the VA's aid and attendance program last July. We have not yet heard one way or the other. The VA periodically sends a letter saying they are still processing the case. This is a typical wait time. However, if benefits are granted they will be retroactive to the application date.

I think you are on the right track. I had a guy who works for the religious organization that owns the nursing home my mother is in fill out the paperwork. He is authorized by the American Legion to help folks with the application process. He submitted the paperwork via the American Legion. From what I have heard, it is a good idea to have someone like this work with you. There should be no charge.

The maximum monthly benefit is about $1,050. Assets have to be under $85,000, but the amount increases with the age of the applicant.

The veteran does not necessarily have to have served in combat, but must have served n WWI, WWII, etc. during certain years. In not sure about the National Guard, but I'm sure the expert on your SIL's hospital will know this right off.

Good luck with the process. It will take many months if you apply.

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