Are long term care benefits considered income by the VA?

A fellow caregiver asked...

My Mom was just approved for VA spousal pension and A&A benefits. She is currently in a nursing home for long term care. She also has a long term care policy that will pay for 2 years of nursing home care. Will the VA consider the long term care benefits as income and reduce the A&A? Do I need to include the long term care benefits on the VA documents?

Expert Answer

Rita Files, LPN, VSR, a nationally recognized expert on the elderly, has more than 30 years of experience in the health care industry, with 20 years focused on eldercare. She has developed programs for many leading providers in the senior living industry. Accredited through the V.A. in veterans' benefits, she is an advocate and powerful resource committed to educating veterans and their families about the nonservice connected pension benefit and providing them with accurate information. She is cofounder and COO of Aging with Grace.

Even though the long term care policy that Mom has is considered insurance, the monthly benefit amount would be documented as "other income"and would count toward her recurring monthly medical expenses and would need to be applied accordingly.

For example, if the daily cost of her care in a long term care nursing home is $280.00/day and her long term care policy pays $180.00 towards the cost of the care, only the balance of $100/day could be claimed as a monthly out of pocket medical expense. Depending upon what Mom's total countable monthly income is, the amount of her VA Pension Benefit could be impacted. It's important to remember that the VA Disability Pension's purpose is to supplement high monthly medical costs, not cover the entire cost of care.

This amount should be included under other income on the VA documents.