Spousal impoverishment under VA healthcare/assisted living. Any advice?
I'm in a very stressful situation right now and I'd appreciate any advice you could offer.
I'm the wife of a 100% T&P SC Vietnam-era vet who also receives A&A SMC. My husband is currently hospitalized at a VA hospital because he needs 24/7 supervision at home due to his dementia (also, service-connected). I have been taking care of my husband for the 3 years and have not been able to find employment because of that. Thus, our only family income is his VA disability compensation and SS retirement pay.
My husband's VA primary care doctor decided that my husband could not longer be at home without 24/7 assistance and refused to refill his prescriptions. His doctor told me to take him to the ER at a VA hospital for a psych-neuro evaluation and placement. My husband is still at the hospital awaiting placement. I contacted our local VARO and the informed me that the VHA should pay for his placement because his dementia is service-connected and he's 100%T&P disabled. However, the hospital staff insists on my husband not meeting the requirements for skilled nursing level of care which the VA would normally pay for. Instead, they're pressuring me into discharging him from the hospital and paying for a very expensive assisted living facility with memory care out of pocket using his VA disability compensation which is our only source of income. The hospital is threatening me with financial abuse allegations and neglect, an APS investigation and a VA fiduciary investigation, simply
because I'm trying to explore other options for placement and protect our income. My husband has been deemed incompetent and unable to make his own medical decisions and manage his own financial affairs by the hospital staff. I'm his DPOA.
Unfortunately, if I pay for my husband's assisted living facility, I will lose our apartment and will have to go to a shelter. Is there any way to protect myself in this situation against this pressure from the VA hospistal staff? Are they right in their refusal to cover his assisted living needs (refusing from SNF level of care) despite the fact that my husband 's VA disability pay is our only source of income? Do you think it is time to file for apportionment to protect my part of this income since my husband is incompetent and needs to be placed? I'm getting a lot of pressure and threats from the hospital and no assistance with regards to asset protection/financial planning in this tough situation. My husband is also ineligible for Medicaid/SSI to help defray assisted living costs.
I'd appreciate any advice!