How can retroactive VA funds be used?


I am the fiduciary for Mother. She is 95 years old and has been approved for VA Aid & Assistance. She has received her retroactive funds in the fiduciary account. I am not sure how these back funds can be spent. Can I use them to help pay for her medicine, electric and water bills? Also, her 5 children have been taking turns staying with her. A couple of her children are not being paid for staying as there was not enough money to pay each one of us and their financial condition was better than the rest. Would I be able to use these retroactive funds to refund them some of the time they stayed last year? Since I am in charge of the record keeping, I did not know what this back pay money could legally be used for. Should I just call and try to talk to a VA Representative about it? Thank you for any help you can give me. I do not want to do something that is not up front.

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You are welcome. But I know it's still vague. My grandpa received this benefit for about 3-4 years. It was so much help, but also kind of nerve-wracking, since we were always wondering if we should be doing something differently. It's really nice that you and your siblings are helping your mom out together!
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Lindylu, thank you for your answer above. It was very helpful!
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Did your VA put you in contact with a volunteer with the VFW or American Legion who could help you through this process? We found that the information we got from our volunteer assistant was more consistently accurate than what we got from the VA itself. (Most of the people answering the phones are at a call center and just know what's right in front of them on the screen; sometimes they "fill in the blanks" instead of going to find the correct information.) Whether you call the VA or the volunteer, don't worry about asking. The Aid and Attendance is really confusing and you know everyone else has the same questions you do. It seems like it would be a lot easier for everyone if they just provided a clear list of acceptable expenses.

We were told various things by different people -- yes you can pay for any living expenses, no you should only use it for caregiving and medical necessity-related expenses. It was really confusing. We just used it for his needs and for paying for extra caregiver hours (but my mom could/should have been using it to pay herself.) My mom kept all his receipts. She also said it was helpful to have a debit card for that account so the statements just reflected purchases related to A&A.

You should be able to use the retroactive money the same way that you will use it going forward. So if you are compensating family for caregiving, just keep track of the hours they worked. Going forward, I would keep a log of some sort at your mom's place and have family do just as visiting caregivers would: have them write the hours they were there and what they did (laundry, meal prep, housekeeping, doling out medication, taking mom on errands, picking up prescriptions, etc.) If they need reimbursed for purchases, have them attach the receipts to the book. If you are nervous about spending a big sum, you could always use it to put toward a lift chair or something that is related to mobility issues or another health-related issue.

I know that's not much  help. I still recommend calling your assistant or the VA.

Hopefully others will share too. Good luck!
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