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to VA benefits under my father for housing. She is currently living with my niece and pays 1100 rent, and collects SS$1450, and dips into her meager savings of $20K every money. to pay bills, insurance, car payment. The rate she is going she will be out of money by next year.

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SeniorAdvisor, I am giving a low whistle of amazement: that sounds to me like Catch 22 subsection 3 paragraph ix..!

So what's the solution - borrow the money? Be in debt to the care provider? How on earth have people successfully squared this circle?
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18. I am a widow/er; if I remarry, do I lose my benefits? If I later get divorced or my new spouse dies, do I get my VA benefits back?

Regarding Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), a remarried surviving spouse whose subsequent marriage is annulled or declared void can reestablish eligibility as a surviving spouse. However, effective September 30, 1998, the law was changed to allow a surviving spouse to reestablish DIC eligibility after termination of remarriage. Therefore, after September 30, 1998, eligibility for DIC is established in any case in which the remarriage of the surviving spouse is terminated by death, divorce, or annulment. Also, remarriage of a surviving spouse after the age of 57 does not preclude continued payment of DIC.
Regarding Death (Survivor’s) Pension benefits, the law generally requires a surviving spouse’s entitlement to be terminated if the surviving spouse remarries, regardless of age, even if that remarriage is terminated by death or divorce. However, VA regulations establish limited exceptions that generally allow entitlement to Death Pension to be reestablished if the marriage was:
• Annulled or declared void.
• Terminated by death or divorce on or after January 1, 1971, and before November 1, 1990.

Accordingly, you can again receive pension benefits based upon your former spouse’s wartime service if the new marriage was annulled or declared void or you fall within the divorce and death exception window, January 1, 1971, through October 31, 1990.
Please call 1-800-827-1000 to learn more.
http://www.va.gov/SURVIVORS/FAQs.asp#FAQ18
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You can see from the responses given that many people are able to tell you that they don't THINK you qualify. This is not reliable advice. This is just people who DON'T KNOW trying to help. Get good reliable advice from a good reliable source. The VA A&A benefit is very difficult to understand and even more difficult to advise someone on. I don't even recommend calling the VA office. The VA's local offices do not even understand the complexity of this benefit. The application is 12 pages long and has many requirements. If you make a mistake on one item the application will be returned. Once the application is completed properly then it can be marked as received as complete and after approval benefits will be paid retroactively to the date of submission. One of the main requirements is that you are already receiving and paying for care. Another requirement is that you don't have the income or assets to pay for the care. This sounds like a Catch 22 but is absolutely required. You will get the maximum benefit if can accomplish this. That is why I always recommend a benefits specialist.
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Ask at the VA, the sooner the better. Benefits will be retroactive to the day the actual form requesting benefits is submitted. HURRY!!!!
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Just some info..remarriage disqualifies a widow from receiving VA benefits from a previous spouse...I asked. A shame really!
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Hope this helps found it on the VA website.

18. I am a widow/er; if I remarry, do I lose my benefits? If I later get divorced or my new spouse dies, do I get my VA benefits back?

Regarding Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), a remarried surviving spouse whose subsequent marriage is annulled or declared void can reestablish eligibility as a surviving spouse. However, effective September 30, 1998, the law was changed to allow a surviving spouse to reestablish DIC eligibility after termination of remarriage. Therefore, after September 30, 1998, eligibility for DIC is established in any case in which the remarriage of the surviving spouse is terminated by death, divorce, or annulment. Also, remarriage of a surviving spouse after the age of 57 does not preclude continued payment of DIC.
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When my dad died in 1967, my mother only received the death benefit payout. We were told by the VA in order for her to qualify to receive VA benefits, my dad would have had to have been KIA. He was not.
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Why is she paying the niece so much. She should be paying according to how many people live in the house. If just her and neice, half. If niece and husband husband, 1/3 , etc. I agree, she could get a place of her own for that much. Medicaid? She has too much money for now probably. Check with ur local Office of Aging to see what is available.
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$1100 is high rent??? where do YOU live???
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I just went today to the VA and was told if divorced she is not entitled to VA benefits.
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Don't let anyone tell you that "they don't think you qualify". Contact a VA Accredited Attorney or a VA Accredited Benefit service. The initial consultation should be FREE. They will tell you with certainty whether or not you qualify. If you don't qualify you can move on to another possible solution.
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Do not think she will qualify. If your niece,mom and you are happy with the living arrangements and she is suffering from any issues that require special care.....looks like you may need to start looking at cutting some expenses.

If you or others can afford it, just pay a bill here or there so she does not have to dip into savings as much. My wife's mom was 90 years old, owned her own home but had out lived here savings. We all took a bill and paid it based on what we could afford so she was happy, my wife was happy....and that made me happy.
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ramiller is correct but instead of going to the VA I would use a VA Accredited Attorney or a VA Accredited Benefits Consultant. The Aid and Attendance benefit has some difficult obstacles before obtaining the benefit. The benefit can be up to $1,100 per month. If you use a Benefits Consultant or Attorney the money spent will be less than one month of benefits. If you don't use either you may make mistakes on the application that cause it to be returned as incomplete forcing you to correct the errors and resubmit the forms. This will waste valuable time you could have been receiving benefits. I always recommend Elder Resource Benefits Consulting 855-977-0663. The call is free. They only do A&A Benefits and will let you know what your odds of collecting and how much based on your financial situation.
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With 20k in savings I believe she would not qualify for Medicaid. However she could start working with state services to begin a spend down program. Working with an elder lawyer to structure her finances in order to become eligible for Medicaid is a good idea.
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No, she is not "entitled" to any VA benefits----that's what happens when you divorce & remarry, your second marriage negates whatever benefits you would have been eligible for from your first spouse. Divorce and subsequent remarriage terminates her eligibility for non-veteran spouse for veteran's benefits because the person no longer meets the definition of a spouse.
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Fill out the forms for aid and attendance benefits, make sure you have all the necessary paperwork, dads dd214, death certificate, their marriage lisc, divorce papers from second marriage and marrige lisc from second one also. She must be in need of care and ALREADY be paying for care, rent does not count so if neice is caring for her they need a contract in writing. Take all the completed paperwork and forms to the VA office this will save time as they will let u know if quilified and if any items are missing. I have been through this process and have written out all the steps. Send me a message if you would like a link to my written out step by step process for applying for A&A
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Just because a spouse was a veteran...meaning he or she served in the armed service during wartime, does not entitle them to a pension unless they were disabled or retired after at least 20 years of service. I think the bottom line here is to call your Veteren's admin office to get the full scoop. Then if you want to tackle her living expenses that's another whole issue. First things first.
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Pretty sure that the VA beneficiary has/had to have been married to the Veteran at the time of his or her death if they passed on or still married to them if they are alive.
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In my area, a 1 bedroom apartment costs 1000-1200. I don't think that's an unreasonable rent at all, especially if meals, transportation, laundry, medicine and medical management and companionship are part of the package. Senior housing in my area is MUCH more expensive....to the tune of up to 9600/mo! I'm told that the marriage to the veteran must have ended due to the veteran's death, so if they were married when he passed, she should be eligible. Income is reduced by medical expenses and eligibility is also determined by age and available assets. Car and house do not count as assets. Please be sure that the niece and your mom have a written agreement in place for caregiving, to protect them both, or it may look like gifting and disqualify her for Medicaid benefits.
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According to va.gov:

18. I am a widow/er; if I remarry, do I lose my benefits? If I later get divorced or my new spouse dies, do I get my VA benefits back?

Regarding Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), a remarried surviving spouse whose subsequent marriage is annulled or declared void can reestablish eligibility as a surviving spouse. However, effective September 30, 1998, the law was changed to allow a surviving spouse to reestablish DIC eligibility after termination of remarriage. Therefore, after September 30, 1998, eligibility for DIC is established in any case in which the remarriage of the surviving spouse is terminated by death, divorce, or annulment. Also, remarriage of a surviving spouse after the age of 57 does not preclude continued payment of DIC.
Regarding Death (Survivor’s) Pension benefits, the law generally requires a surviving spouse’s entitlement to be terminated if the surviving spouse remarries, regardless of age, even if that remarriage is terminated by death or divorce. However, VA regulations establish limited exceptions that generally allow entitlement to Death Pension to be reestablished if the marriage was:
• Annulled or declared void.
• Terminated by death or divorce on or after January 1, 1971, and before November 1, 1990.

Accordingly, you can again receive pension benefits based upon your former spouse’s wartime service if the new marriage was annulled or declared void or you fall within the divorce and death exception window, January 1, 1971, through October 31, 1990.
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Unless the niece has use of the car for her grandmother's benefit? - that could be legitimate. Just about. But the whole situation sounds like it's due a thorough overhaul.
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I'm guessing if she's still got a car payment and insurance, there's not much caregiving going on.
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For so much rent does mom also have utilities paid, food paid, care provided? She need a level of care with dementia, a facility would be needed possibly. Independent living may not be an option. Monthly rate of $1,100 a month is a bargain for dementia care. Even in a medicaid facility where the care ratio would be much lower, she would only be able to keep about $50.00 a month for personal expenses, the remainder would go to the facility. If mom is receiving appropriate care from your niece, I would let this alone.
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You should call the department of aging in your area today. They will help you apply for benefits and get you on a waiting list for senior housing which is income based.
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my understanding once remarried those benefits stop permanently. the VA will find any reason to stop payment.
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Excellent questions about ex-husband.
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It certainly DOES depend upon where they live. But in high cost areas, with SS benefits that are so low, she should qualify for low income housing.
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Doesn't that sort of depend on where the mother and niece are living?

I wouldn't be embarrassed to ask about her VA entitlements: the worst that can happen is that they say no. And even if they do say no, they may still have helpful ideas about other organisations - your father's regimental benevolent associations and so on - that might be useful to her.

I suppose there's no mileage in approaching her ex-husband? How long ago did they divorce? Was she treated fairly financially?
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My last sentence should read, Technically, a widow is a woman whose husband had died and she has not remarried.
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Bring your mother to your local Office of Veterans Affairs with all her financial information. Babalou brings up a good point about, "Why is your mom paying so high a rent?" Also, I agree with Babalou that, "I believe that her re-marriage disqualifies her, but I could be wrong. " Technically, a widow is a woman whose husband had died and not remarried.
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