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Hi, I am a caretaker for both of my parents, my dad has been ill for several years now. They own their condo and barely get by financially. She cannot live on her small $400 a mo th check, she depends on my dad's larger one ($1000) to at least keep the lights on. Does anyone know of any solutions? He also gets a veterans benefit monthly that helps them. I know if he passes she can get his SS check that could maybe pay for her condo fee and utilities. I am an only child and disabled myself, we have no other help. Thanks for any input

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All states have relatively strong Community Spouse protections in place to prevent the spouse not receiving benefits from sinking into (or deeper into) poverty.

In your state of New Hampshire, the Community Spouse is permitted to retain a minimum of $1,966 (up to a maximum of $2,931) of the couple’s combined income. In other words, if your father receives nursing home Medicaid benefits, all of his income will be diverted to your mother (and vice versa).

The same holds true with assets in that there is a Community Spouse Resource Allowance protecting some of the couple’s assets for the spouse not receiving benefits (the minimum that may be retained in New Hampshire is $23,448). The homestead residence, by the way, is always an exempt resource.

With respect to VA benefits, what mom may receive as a survivor depends on the benefit father is receiving. If he is receiving compensation for injury or disability as a result of service then mom continuing to receive this benefit or a portion thereof at his demise will depend on the specific circumstances.

If he is receiving Improved Pension, a needs based benefit, the benefit will end at his demise and mother will have to apply for a survivor’s benefit. The bottom line for mother is that as the surviving spouse of a wartime veteran she will absolutely be able to apply for survivor’s Improved Pension (technically called “Death Pension”); the full award for 2014 was $1,130 per month.

If, in fact, your father is receiving disability compensation currently you should look at applying for Improved Pension now. The maximum award for a couple is currently $2,085 per month. You may wish to contact your regional VBA office to verify the nature of your father’s benefit: http://www.benefits.va.gov/manchester/
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His Veterans benefit is a need based one so unwilling check into the Death Pension. Thank you so much for your answer, I will check into everything asap
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MK - first of all you want to print out Robbins answer and keep it with you. Make referring to it your mantra.

Secondly, keep in mind as you go into the mice maze that is Medicaid, is that the vast majority of Medicaid applicants are widows or widowers; most of what you read; or that people will tell you is based on that viewpoint. Medicaid for individuals is pretty draconian in that they flat have to be impoverished at about 2K in non except assets and 2k in income. For couples whole different situation.
Think of the CRSA as alimony for the nursing home set. And like in alimony, you want to get the maximum & you may need a eider law attorney to do this.

Third go through your parents financial in detail to figure out just what is costs for them to live. I'd speak with the HOA to see if there is an assessment in the future. This often can through a budget into a tailspin.

Personally I would gather all their current legal & financial then see an elder law guy. There are some things that couples do that need to be changed once 1 of them goes onto Medicaid. Like most couples have each other as their life insurance beneficiary. Well if dad is on no Medicaid & mom predeseases
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Ouch, hate using iPad, not enough space!

Ok should read: Well if dad is on Medicaid & mom should died before him, then dad being the beneficiary is a bad idea as it will disqualify him from Medicaid due to the $$ from moms life insurance. Your folks want to change this. Perhaps do it do that $ goes into a special needs trust for you so that if you should need Medicaid in your future, it's not an income problem. All this alot to deal with & sometimes you need to let others advise you. Good luck!
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Thanks so much for the response. There is no savings, no life insurance policy, no burial insurance etc, basically nothing. I will print all of this out definitely. I have some experience with the system due to my own disability but this is a whole diffrernt ballgame
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