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We have applied for VA survivor benefits. We need help with mom but we can't afford to pay for outside caregiver help fees unless we get these benefits. The VA called and wanted to know how much money mom has paid out for caregiver services.They are sending forms for us to fill out to declare what has been paid. Mom can't afford to pay anything. My sister and I have been taking care of mom alternately but not receiving any money from mom for our services. We need to hire outside help. Sister and I both work and can't devote as much time to mom as she needs. Does the fact that mom has not paid us for our help eliminate us from receiving these benefits. I'll be getting the forms from VA soon, but I'm not sure how to answer.

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aferrino: Thank you for the update.
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Since I asked this question, I have been successful in obtaining VA benefits. Thank you all for your advice. I learned that you just have to hang in there and answer all the questions to the best of your ability.
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My mother receives survivor benefits from the VA also. When we applied they asked the same question before we had hired anyone for services. I don't know what the amount was that was reported to the VA because she went through an agency that helped get her qualified. I believe they want to know how much money you expect to pay in services. This counts as an expense for her. I would figure out how much help she will need time wise and then multiply that by an agency's hourly rate. They are all different so pick the highest. The VA pays an hourly rate of $24. You don't want to go over that amount when looking for help. Once you fill out the forms they will do their own assessment. I hope this gives you something to go on. Believe me it is a blessing. You can also see if she qualifies for Medicaid, she can have both. VA doesn't count as income because it has to be used for care giving.
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Is she applying for Medicaid?
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You simply answer truthfully to the VA. The forms include her income, then there will be monthly expenses to account for, and if her income is below the threshold VA has for a single person , then she will get benefits.
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Who is she going to hire to help her? And what state do you live in? If you can answer those questions i may have some advice that can help. You can post here or on my message board.
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If your county sponsors a Veterans Service office, they can help you with answers. Also the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion often have people who can help. I suggest that when you fill out the form you write or check off "none" or 0 where it asks how much has been spent on care. Attach at note saying your mother cannot afford care.
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I would suggest calling your local area on aging. The can direct you on programs within the state to cover benefits as well as the VA. All programs are income based and requires an understanding of financial information. Does your mom own a home? Does she have a pension, how much is her SS. The department of aging will direct you on how to get all the benefits she is entitled to based on her income and help you come up with a plan for her care.
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Get a benefits counselor to help you, or get an estimate for care from an agency.
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