Our firm assists Veterans and surviving spouses of Veterans to obtain valuable help when they need in-home care, or are in qualified assisted living community, or a skilled nursing facility (nursing home). The Veterans Administration (VA) has an underused benefit called the Special Monthly Pension Benefit. This benefit is meant to help Veterans or their surviving spouse who have unreimbursed medical expenses that come close to or exceed their income. Medical expenses include the cost of Medicare Part B and D, supplemental health insurance premiums, long-term care insurance premiums, rental of durable medical equipment, oxygen, incontinent and diabetic supplies, and the cost of long-term care.
A friend or family member (other than a spouse) can even be paid to provide in-home care for a Veteran or surviving spouse. If the care services are being provided by an unlicensed caregiver, the services must be prescribed by a health care professional (e.g. doctor, RN, LPN, or licensed physical therapist), and the professional must consult with the unlicensed caregiver at least once a month (in person or by telephone) to monitor the care services.
For a friend or family member to be a paid caregiver there must also be a valid personal Care Contract in place (drawn up by an Elder Law Attorney) and the caregiver must be receiving no more than fair market value for services that he or she is providing. Without a valid Personal Care Contract, the payments will not be considered payment for in-home care and will be considered a “gift” by Medicaid, resulting in ineligibility for Medicaid benefits.
General Eligibility Requirements:
A Veteran must have served 90 days (24 months after 9/7/1980) of active military service, with 1 day served during wartime.
The Veteran also must have a discharge of “most types other than dishonorable.”
The Veteran or surviving spouse must be over the age of 65 or considered disabled by Social Security.