Does the Department of Veterans Affairs seek reimbursement for a veteran's nursing home care?
My father is a veteran who has Alzheimer/dementia. If he goes lives in a VA home, and his wife is paying monthly according to their income, does the VA have any rights to my parents home/assets should my father pass away?
The VA won't seek reimbursement from your father's estate for VA-sponsored nursing home care. Whether the state seeks reimbursement is more complicated.
If your father lives in a private or state-run nursing facility, rather than in one actually operated by the VA, there may be costs in addition to what the VA pays. If so, your father might qualify for Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California) to pay those extra costs. He might be eligible for this Medicaid nursing home coverage even if your parents own a home and your mother still lives there, and your parents have some other assets and income. However, if Medicaid does pay for some of the nursing home bills that the VA doesn't pay, after your father's death the state could seek reimbursement from your father's estate. (For a discussion of Medicaid rules having to do with nursing facility care, take a look at our article Will Medicaid or Medicare help pay for my mother's long-term care?.)
Check out the book "Crack the VA" by Barbara Steinberg. You can check out her site and the book at http://www.blseldercare.com/. I'm reading it now in hopes of being able to help my parents as well. It has a lot of great info so far about what they're eligible for and what not. Hope it helps.
Dear Fellow caregiver; Before your father enters the VA home, have him transfer any ownership he has in the marital home over to your mother. There is no Medicaid penalty for transferring the marital home from one spouse to the other. He can also transfer other assets (up to a limit). Getting assets out of the sick spouse's name used to be enough protection, but lately I'm hearing stories of cash strapped states going after the spouse's assets for re-reimbursement. I'm not an expert, - just a caregiver trying to navigate changing rules. Your Mom (as the well/community spouse) may be able to give the home and assets to the children without penalty. A Trust and divorce are also options.
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