Anyone gotten A&A and lost other benefits?

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If mom gets the Veterans A&A pension to help pay me for caregiving, will that income knock her out of eligibility for services based on income? She had a stroke this spring, and when my hmla ran out I had to quit, as she needs 24/7 care and lives on an 1100 social security benefit and a VERY small va pension. I'm trying to keep my home running and paid for (my 20 something kids are living there) while I live with Mom and pick up the financial slack here as well. I had to cash out my 401k and eat the 60 percent loss , but that won't last long. Mom rents her house, which is a one br. I sleep on the floor on an air bed. My house is too small, so combining households is out.


From the research I've done it seems as though she qualifies for the A&A, but I don't want to increase her income if it will make her ineligible for the help she gets now for home health, etc.


I'm just not sure if the income would cost me more than it's worth if it causes her to lose benefits. Has anyone else gotten A&A and lost other benefits?

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The following is from sources available to the general public and is not offered as legal or financial advice. Consult a state agency or professional before making any legal or financial decisions.

The answer to your question will depend on the benefits she is seeking, those she is receiving now, and your state's income limits for those benefits.

The VA Improved Pension with Aid and Attendance is the highest level of Improved Pension awarded to those who have high unreimbursed medical expenses and is awarded on top of "Basic" Pension which is not based on medical need.

In some instances the Basic Pension component is considered countable income for benefit eligibility purposes and the Aid and Attendance portion is not because it is intended to provide for cost of care.

The rule is that if the Aid and Attendance award would only have been received because medical expenses consume all of the claimant's income, the entire award is supposed to be reported by the VA to state agencies as comprised totally of Aid and Attendance and therefore no portion countable as income for benefit eligibility purposes. Needless to say, the VA does always report benefits according to the rule and it can be very difficult to obtain correct reporting.

If your mother has Original Medicare, with or without a Medicare supplement, and is receiving low income SSI related benefits such as Extra Help with prescription drug coverage or assistance with Part B Medicare premiums and/or deductibles and co-pays, then the Aid and Attendance Pension benefit may have an impact on her receipt of those benefits.

If, however, she is receiving her Medicare benefits (including prescription drugs) through a Medicare Advantage plan (HMO) the only low income SSI benefit that might be affected would be Part B premium assistance if she is indeed otherwise eligible for it. The VA award, depending on the amount, will in all likelihood offset the value of these benefits.

Your profile says you live in Kentucky. If the help she is receiving now is a Medicaid program, or if she is applying for Medicaid Home and Community Based Services or Medicaid nursing home benefits in that state, the VA Aid and Attendance benefit may have an impact on her eligibility as the income cap in Kentucky (the maximum income a Medicaid applicant can have to be eligible) is $2,199 per month GROSS (in 2015). Therefore her Social Security plus the maximum Aid and Attendance award of $1,149 per month (in 2015) might put her over the income cap. This can be cured, however by creating a Qualified Income Trust (QIT). Kentucky does not offer a template for this trust and you will have to contact an attorney or obtain free legal services in your area to have it drafted.

If receiving Medicaid benefits this MUST be done in the same month she receives her first check from the VA.

I would suggest starting by contacting the state or county agency through which she is currently receiving benefits and determine the nature of those benefits and see if they can answer how a VA award will impact those benefits. You will then be armed as to what to expect when a VA Pension benefit is awarded.

I would then suggest you do a search for a County Veteran Service Officer and/or Veteran Service Officer in your area and speak with same about applying for VA Improved Pension. To obtain the maximum award of $1,149 per month all of her income will have to be consumed by unreimbursed medical expenses (household expenses are not counted as a medical expense). If she pays you all her income as her caregiver she would qualify. You will have to document this in the application and show evidence that this is the case.

I am sorry this is all so complicated but it can be successfully navigated with persistent advocacy and the proper guidance whether obtained from state agencies and/or a professional in private practice.
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When my mother needed assisted living she had an IRA of $25,000 and her Social Security. She was in a one year spend down with the assisted living facility. My father was a war time vet, WWII, and qualified for Aid and Attendance pension money. I was advised to find the Aid and Attendance Advocate in the county. Also advised to NOT go through the VA. I did so and this person walked me through this tedious process with great success. Mom received $1130 each month which made all the difference with the year spend down. She exhausted her IRA at years end, and I got her qualified for Medicaid. She's on partial Medicaid due to the VA pension. None of this is taxable because facility gets her Social Security minus $116 for monthly personal expenses, her VA pension goes to facility as well and Medicaid picks up what's left to be paid.
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Faith, if you have 20 something kids living in your home are they paying something towards keeping the home running. Utilities, rent, phone, food? If not, why not?
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I like Linda's answer. As I've said b/f, I went to this seminar and given the following info. I was not given the impression that there was a fee in helping with the application. The Vet must have been in a war or conflict between the dates the VA set up.
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We received VA benefits for both my mother and mother in law and it helped immensely. However, it was such a struggle to get it all in order, so be prepared for lots of red tape. Once you receive keep in mind that you must account for every penny and I mean every penny you spend and it must be spent for only her care or you will have to pay it back. For us, the hassle wasn't just worth it while she was living with us...save receipts, keep detailed records. Good luck.
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I was under the impression it can be used for care facilities too.
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I applied fr this for my mother and they wanted 1450.00 to put the application through said it was a one time charge. We dont have the money so it did not end well for me
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Thats awful. Guess u need to go thru VA. They shouldn't charge.
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Thanks Dagan369,I was afraid that there was some sort of charge involved.
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This is the link for who I went through

americanveteransaid
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