Friday, 27 November 2015 12:28

VA Aid & Attendance Benefits: How to Apply

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VA Benefits in Less Than 3 Months Veterans Administration U.S.A.

Aid and Attendance Benefits from the Veterans Administration, the VA are a valuable resource for many families when loved ones need more care and there are low funds to cover the cost.

These benefits are available to veterans’ and their spouses even if the veteran is now deceased and the spouse did not remarry.

When applying or VA benefits there are a few things that may help you speed up the process. I thought I would share the way I went about applying for the benefits in hope that it would help anyone beginning the process.

 

First off what are the benefits for?

Aid & Attendance (A&A)

The Aid & Attendance (A&A) is available if you meet one of the following conditions:

  • You require the aid of another person in order to perform personal functions required in everyday living, such as bathing, feeding, dressing, attending to the wants of nature, adjusting prosthetic devices, or protecting yourself from the hazards of your daily environment
  • You are bedridden, in that your disability or disabilities requires that you remain in bed apart from any prescribed course of convalescence or treatment
  • You are a patient in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity
  • Your eyesight is limited to a corrected 5/200 visual acuity or less in both eyes; or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less

These benefits can be used to pay caregivers in your home (even family members), for paying for care in an assisted living facility or Family Care Home, or for care in a nursing home.

For the veteran to apply he or she must have limited resources and assets in bank accounts, CDs, retirement accounts etc., of less than $80,000. If the spouse is applying and the veteran is deceased he or she cannot have more than $60,000 in assets. Although at this time the VA does not have a look back period as Medicaid does they are moving in the direction of putting one in place. This means that they will soon begin to look back several years to make sure the one applying has not given money away (Gifted) or tried to hide large amounts of assets in order to qualify. Your primary home and one automobile do not count towards your asset total.

With that information in mind, here are the steps I took to secure benefits for my mother who is 91 years old and was at the time living with my sister. She has since moved to an Adult Family Care Home and the benefits are helping us pay for her care while she is there.

Unlike the government website I will make this as simple to understand as possible in the following steps. I hope it helps.  

Step 1: Gather the Following Paperwork.

  • Discharge papers for the Veteran WWII Vets form 53-55 Vets -  after WWII Form DD214
  • Marriage certificate if filing for surviving spouse
  • Death Certificate if filing for surviving spouse

Step 2: Find and Print Forms.

Open the form search page on the government website. CLICK HERE to open in a new window, or copy and paste this link in your browser - http://www.va.gov/vaforms/

Print out the following forms:

  1. Form 21-534ez
  2. Form 21-2680 
  3. Form 21-22
  4. Aid And Attendance Affidavit (see below where to get this form)

Form 21-534ez:  Application for DIC, Death Pension and or Accrued Benefits.
This form is the one you will use when applying for Aid and Attendance Benefits. You can apply for the veteran or the surviving spouse of a veteran.

The first few sections are self explanatory. When completing section II you will find the information you need on the veteran's discharge papers

Section VII:  Your net worth at this point must be below 80,000 for veteran or 60,000 for a surviving spouse and this does not include a home, vehicle, furniture or clothing.

Section VIII: This is the section on your monthly income so have all your income sources handy such as social security, retirement benefits, pensions, public assistance etc. when it asks for social security  they what the full amount before the Medicare deduction, this is listed on your social security statement as the gross monthly amount. 

Section IX:  Expected Income. Here is where you list your expected income such as interest and dividends or any income not listed in section VIII

Section X: Here you will need to show your medical expenses including what you pay for care like paying a caregiver, paying assisted living costs and the like along with your insurance premiums if you have supplemental insurance and your Medicare and the premium you pay for Medicare part D prescription drug coverage and the deduction for Medicare that comes out of you social security.You want to make sure to show that the amount of money spent each month on medical costs along with care exceeds their monthly income. If it exceeds the monthly income by $1149.00 or more you will be approved for the full amount of benefits which is $1149.00 a month. But don't make things up -  you will need to keep records and prove that you are actually paying out for these services.


NOTE: They do not consider prescription co-pays (seems crazy to me but that is their rule so don’t include them).

The one for whom the claim is being submitted will have to sign a couple of forms and there is a section for witnesses if the claim is being signed by someone else due to the inability of the claimant.

Form 21-2680:  This form needs to be filled out by a doctor. At the time we applied for my mom she was in rehab and they were very helpful in getting this filled out in just one day for us. The doctor should fill out the full diagnosis including the need for aid and attendance. If your patient is blind or mostly blind like my mother, this diagnosis will almost automatically get approval for benefits - as will dementia and other illnesses that require regular daily aid.

Form 21-22:  Appointment of Veterans Service Organization As Claimant's Representative.

I recommend this form because I think one of the things that made our claim move so quickly is that I took all the forms to the local VA office and requested help in filing the claim. With this form the VA rep will be able to have access to the claim and can follow up on your behalf. This form also needs to be signed by the claimant, so make sure you put that in the stack of forms for them to sign.

Aid and Attendance Affidavit form:


Click Here
to open a link to a copy of this form - Or - Copy and Paste this link in your browser – http://www.stclaircounty.org/offices/veterans/forms/Attendant%20Affidavit.pdf

It is very important that you have a copy of this form filled out by each of the caregivers that will be paid for care giving. And as you will note the claimant will need to sign these forms also affirming that they are paying these people for care. If you have more than one caregiver being paid you will need a form for each one. ( note: you will be required to issue a 1099 if these are in home caregivers so make sure they know this and they will be required to pay the proper taxes on these wages unless you are taking taxes out of their pay for them. In that case you will issue a W-2 as usual for employees.

If the person is living in an assisted living, Adult Family Home or Nursing Home then you will need the facility to fill out the form provided on this PDF file link instead of the A&A Affidavit form listed above.
CLICK to View and Print Here

Step 3: Sign Forms and Gather Additional Information. 

Now that you have these forms filled out remember to have all the forms signed and gather them along with,

  • Discharge papers for the Veteran WWII Vets form 53-55 Vets -  after WWII Form DD214
  • Marriage certificate if filing for surviving spouse
  • Death Certificate if filing for surviving spouse

Step 4: MAKE COPIES OF EVERYTHING - ALWAYS MAKE COPIES!


Step 5: Hand Deliver to VA Office.

As I stated above, time to hand deliver the claim to your local VA office. Ask to speak to a rep. and have them look everything over. They will let you know if anything is missing and they will begin your claim for you. If you are missing anything get your reps email address as most missing information can be emailed to them by you, saving you extra trips. 

Just a note if you are in southeast Michigan. Please let me know and I can give you the name of the rep that helped us. She was so very nice and always followed up promptly.

Step 6: Wait For Response – Follow Up.VA Building - U.S.A.

Now you wait. If you have not heard from the VA in 60 days, call your rep and ask them to check on your claim.

If you have any questions feel free to ask me and I will answer to the best of my knowledge. I do not claim to be an expert; I just wanted to share what I did with the hope that it may help others.

____________________________

On July 7th my mom received her first deposit for VA benefits for Aid and Attendance.

This was less than 3 months after we applied! Now that is quite good considering they told us it could take 9 months to a year before we saw anything. So I thought I would share the way I went about applying for the benefits in hope that it would help anyone beginning the process.

Ruth Anne Miller

Click to Contact Ruth Anne

 


Last modified on Wednesday, 16 March 2016 12:32
Ruth Anne Miller

Ruth Anne Miller. Caregiver / Professional Caregiver - Writer - Co-Founder of PAL Caregivers

Contact Ruth Anne

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