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VA Benefits for a Widowed Spouse

Alice’s daughter (Jane) called the office based on my card being paper-clipped to Alice’s power of attorney document. I had drawn up a basic estate plan many years ago for Alice. Recently, Alice had fallen and broken her hip and was in a skilled facility getting rehab services under Medicare. After mom’s fall, Jane had started trying to write checks, etc. and found out that she needed to use the power of attorney. Jane was feeling overwhelmed because of all the decisions that she was being asked to make, such as what facility Alice would go to, whether she should drop the Medicare Advantage plan for traditional Medicare, how she intended to pay for care if Alice couldn’t go home, etc.

Jane came to the office, and had been told that Alice’s Medicare rehab stay was ending, and that she was able to go to assisted living. The expected cost was $4,000 per month, or $1,800 more than her monthly income. Alice has assets of $80,000 plus her home valued at $100,000. Jane was trying to figure out how she would pay the monthly bills, and if there were other options available to help with these costs.

I asked about Alice’s husband, who had passed away in 1990. Specifically, I asked if he had been in the military. Jane informed me that he had been a World War II veteran. This was very important because it meant that with proper arrangement of the financial assets, Alice could qualify for $1,095 per month from the Veteran’s Administration to help pay for some of the costs of her assisted living. Additionally, again with proper arrangement, she could also qualify for approximately $400 per month from Medicaid to help pay for the assisted living costs. So instead of depleting the assets at the rate of $1,800 per month, she would only be depleting them by $400 per month. This allows for assurances that there was no way that Alice would ever “run out of money.” I also explained what would happen if Alice had to return to skilled nursing (which is about $2,000 more per month), and how ultimately it could be possible to qualify for skilled nursing type- Medicaid. Once again, the key is understanding the rules of the various programs, and how they interact with each other.

Jane was very grateful to be able to see that her mother would be well taken care of, and that financial concerns wouldn’t limit her care options. Jane’s number one goal was to get her mother high-quality care for the rest of her life. My job was to show her how to do that, and also how to afford to pay for the care needed- both her current needs, and over the remaining years of her life.

Learn more about how the Weeks Group can help you plan for Veteran’s Benefits.