Are there benefits available for a veteran's widow whose income is too high for Medicaid and Aid and Attendance?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 14, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My mother-in-law is a 72 year-old widow of a 100% disabled veteran. She recieves VA benefits and has been in an assisted living home for 8 months. Her health has declined and I fear they will not be able to keep her there much loner. Her monthly income is too high to qualify for Medicad, yet not enough to cover the fees in a nursing home. I applied for her to receive Aid and Attendance, but it is still not enough to cover all her bills. Are there any other programs or facilities that might be helpful in assisting her financial needs? I have three children in college and my husband works two jobs. I am unemployed at this time. We have been financially burdened by trying to keep her care paid for along with her other bills. Thank you for your time.

Expert Answers

You're in a very tough spot, but it's one that many thousands of people find themselves in. Although it may seem that your mother-in-law's income is too high for her to be eligible for Medicaid coverage of nursing home care, you may be surprised to find that's not the case. Some states have a strict income limit regarding eligibility for Medicaid coverage of nursing home care. But many other states have no actual income limit to qualify. Instead, they require that almost all of a person's income go to the nursing home, with Medicaid paying whatever remains unpaid of the nursing home's total charges. The nursing home resident in these states is allowed to keep a small amount for personal needs.

So, you need to contact a local office of the Medicaid agency in your state and find out whether Medicaid nursing home coverage in the state has a strict income limit or, instead, provides coverage and then requires that almost all income be paid to the nursing home. To find the local Medicaid office nearest you, use any Internet search engine and enter "Medicaid" and the name of your state; that will take you to the state's Medicaid Web page, which will include a directory of local offices. Or, you can call the Eldercare Locator toll-free at 800-677-1116 and ask for contact information for your local Medicaid office.