Our veterans have graciously fought for us. We love them, are proud of them and for many of us, they just so happen to also be members of our families. If that is the case for you or your family, listen up-this piece is for you! Effective October 30th, 2018 the VA pension plan regulations are bound to change.
Aid & Attendance (A&A) and Housebound Eligibility
According to the VA Benefits webpage, VA pension eligible veterans who require the attendance/assistance of another person (ie. a nurse or a family member) may now qualify for additional monetary payment.
These veterans must be in eligible wartime service status, with 90 days active duty at least one day within the confines of WWII, the Korean Conflict, Vietnam Era Conflicts, or the Gulf War. This does not replace the pre-existing pension agreement that the veteran already has, but is a supplementary addition to the monthly allowance. The qualifiers are based on the following:
-The veteran requires the aid of another person in order to perform 2 or more everyday personal functions.
-The veteran is bedridden (ie. the veterans disability/ies require time in bed for a prescribed amount of time)
-The veteran is in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapability
-The veteran’s eyesight is limited to a corrected 5/200 visual acuity or less. This can be in either or both eyes or a concentric contraction of the field of vision to 5 degrees or less.
In regards to eligibility for the Homebound, the veteran must be substantially confined to your immediate premises because of a permanent disability to qualify for additional pension payments.
Aid & Attendance and Housebound Ineligibility
Because these A&A allowances increase the monthly pension amount, those that are not eligible for basic pensions due to excessive income may not be eligible for these benefits. The veterans net worth is not to exceed federally established Medicaid Community Spouse Resource Allowance, which currently stands at 123,600 USD. The VA will now look back at the finances of the past 3 years to decide whether or not candidates are eligible for these benefits. This is a new addition to VA benefit qualifications.
Additionally, Unreimbursed Medical Expenses (UME) are deductible from net worth calculation as they apply, licensed care professionals must provide the UMEs. These UME must not be spent on certain non-care related medical expenses like HI premiums. Family caregiver payments are no longer accepted as valid UMEs unless said family member is properly licensed by the state. In addition to this, a veteran or a surviving spouse of a veteran may not receive A&A and Housebound benefits at the same time.
How to Apply
One may apply for Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits by acquiring the services of Hilbun Elder Law Firm to assist with the A & A application process. They will assist with the writing and sending of the documents to your local VA benefits center. To enlist their services, one must come with the necessary documents.
Upon arrival, one would be advised to include copies of any evidence of aid and attendance or housebound status. These documents are preferred to be a report from an attending physician that can validate the need for A&A or Housebound type care. A call to Hilbun would help to assess whether or not the documents one has are valid.
These documents should provide sufficient detail to determine whether there is a disease of injury-producing physical or mental impairment, loss of coordination, or conditions affecting the ability to conduct daily living activities without assistance. Examples of activities needing assistance are:
- toileting and making themselves presentable.
Regardless if the claim is for A&A or for housebound status, the applicant must present information addressing the abilities of each applicant. This should include information like how well the applicant gets around, where they go, and what they are able to do in a day. It is also important to determine if the claimant is confined to the home or immediate premises.
Contact Hilbun Elder Law for any other questions or inquiries about the new A & A and Housebound benefits.