How can I get an estimate of mom's veterans benefits?

3 answers | Last updated: Oct 18, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

I have a mother living in GA in an assisted living facility with a federal annuinty of $1,680.00 who uses Medicare, Medicad, and Federal Medical Insurance. She has to move to San Francisco, CA near me. Her deceased husband,(my Dad) was a Vet (1945 to 1947) with an honorable discharge. I have all the papers. My question is can you tell me a ballpark figure of what money she might be eligible for? Also, any idea how long the paperwork takes? We need finalcial help, any suggestions?

Expert Answers

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.

From your question, it appears that Mom could be eligible for the the VA Disability Pension, commonly referred to as the VA Benefit for Aid & Attendance, since Dad's service to our country meets the military requirement. The amount of the benefit, which is subject to income and asset testing and Mom's monthly out of pocket medical expenses, such as assisted living, could be up to $1056.00 per month. The time it takes from submission to decision is based on many factors the most important being providing the correct documentation with the initial claim.

The best place to start is to contact an accredited VA service representative that offers free assistance with estimating VA Benefits in addition to answering questions about who qualifies and the documentation needed.

A free pre-qualification analysis is considered the best way to start the process as well as avoid any conflicts with Medicaid.

Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...

The application for VA pension with Aid and Attendance says it does not include the primary residence as an asset, so my father is on A & A and we use his house (that he built) as a place to stay when we visit him (he is in a local nursing home). I'm trying to find out if we could rent his house part time to help make him the extra income he needs to pay for nursing home beyond his SS, pension and A&A -- or would the VA think his home is now a countable asset and force its sale? How long do they have to go back and "change their determination" on benefits or require pay back? We don't want to put him on Medicaid, because he didn't transfer the house (and kept a life estate) until 2 yrs ago (within the 5 yr look back). This stuff is so complicated!

Va accredited agent answered...

The VA would not make you sell the home. What they would do is count the income that you are receiving from the property. Naturally this also implies that the income is being reported on your Dads tax returns, as all income should be.