Many seniors have high medical care costs (such as Assisted Living facility charges or private caregivers), but cannot afford the care on a long-term basis. Many seniors spend their life savings on care, and lose their house when skilled nursing care is needed. However, there are other options available, to protect assets, and receive the needed care. For example, seniors who are veterans and/or surviving spouses of veterans may be eligible for VA benefits, which provides a monthly tax free benefit to help pay for care: $2,127.00 per month for a married veteran, $1,794.00 for a single veteran, and $1,153.00 per month for a widow of a veteran.
To be eligible for this benefit (often referred to as “VA Aid and Attendance”), the veteran must have served at least 90 days of active service, one day of which must have been during a war-time period. The veteran must have also received a discharge other than dishonorable. There are income and asset requirements, and unreimbursed care costs/medical expenses.
Veterans and/or surviving spouses (claimants) who receive this benefit are required to annually report their unreimbursed care costs (such as caregiver expenses) and medical insurance premiums to the VA. Claimants must also report any change in assets or gross income that may affect their monthly or annual benefit amount. If care costs are reduced or eliminated, the VA must be notified immediately, as the VA will seek reimbursement if the claimant’s income exceeds their care costs. The claimant may lose their VA pension in the event that a claimant no longer requires care or pays for assistance. Pension may also cease if the claimant does not annually report their unreimbursed care costs and medical insurance premiums. The VA verifies medical expenses that are totaled by the claimant on one form per year. The claimant must report the previous year’s expenses as well as the estimated current year’s expenses. For example, claimants will report their care costs for 2016 on one form, and estimated care costs for 2017 on a second form.
Annual Medical Expense Reporting is extremely important to the VA. If you or a loved one is receiving VA Aid and Attendance benefits, make sure that the annual reporting requirement is met. If you are not receiving this benefit, but may be eligible, a legal consultation with a VA Accredited Attorney should be scheduled to determine if VA benefits are possible.
For more information, please visit www.theMcNamaraLawFirm.com or call (661) 287-3260.