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Pow's Widow - Any Long-Term Healthcare?

widow long-term

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#1 hedgey

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 02:03 PM

I don't know if this is the right forum or if it's even the right question.

My father-in-law was a WWII vet. Landed at Omaha (2nd landing), got captured and spent the rest of the war as a guest of the Third Reich. Tortured, starved, etc. The whole of Germany was starving by that point, I suppose.

Anyway, he retired from the Army, and just before he died his Comp rating was increased to 100%. The death certificate said the right words and my mother-in-law receives DIC. Big kudos to the people at Newington, CT, VARO for putting a rush on everything for him and for her.

Now my MIL is showing signs of dementia. Her doctor filled out a form (special to Newington, not a regular VA form) and from what he wrote she MAY get housebound, if anything.

What I'm trying to find out is whether MIL is eligible for any long-term care from the VA. I know that if she had needed to go into a nursing home while FIL was in his, the VA would have placed her in one for the rest of her days. The question I can't find a definitive answer to is whether she's still entitled, and whether any Assisted Living would be available.

There's a lot of information on this website:

http://www.va.gov/GE..._Aide_Care.asp#

But I keep getting lost and can't find the definite Yes or No.

She has Tricare for Life, but that has no provisions for long-term care at all.

We are just getting ready to start dealing with this with her. She's difficult on a good day, has been for years. The VA therapists we (DH & I) see tell us to cut her loose as a toxic person. But then DH stresses because he promised his dying father he would take care of her. So any help would be great. She has a paid Companion who comes in 3 times a week to take her shopping, etc. That she pays for herself... she pays all her own costs, albeit I'm not sure how timely or if she uses the right checkbook.

We only go down once a month or so. DH was suicidal by the time we left last time, even with lots of Ativan and sleeping through most of the trip. He's caught between a rock and promise. :(

#2 john999

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 02:43 PM

She is not entitled to long term care at a VA facility but she is entitled to extra money to help pay the bill at a nursing home. She gets her DIC plus extra money for the long term care. Basically, unless she is rich her assets will have to be sold off to pay for long term care and then she can get medicare to pay the bills. This is how it works in Florida. Her SSA, DIC and A&A will help defray the costs of her care. My Aunt was in this position. She had a pension, DIC and A&A and also private money. This was spent down until she died.

#3 john999

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 02:44 PM

I made a mistake. I meant medicade. Medicare won't pay for long term care. Medicade pays for long term care but you have to be broke to get it.

#4 hedgey

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 08:35 AM

Thanks, John.

This is what we expected, but didn't want to leave any possible stones unturned.

Her house is in an expensive neighborhood so should bring a fair chunk of $$, even if priced to sell. OTOH, it's an expensive area and care is expensive as well.

We wish we could talk her into selling and moving to an AL facility near us (7 hours is a long way for visiting) but she refuses to budge from the area she's familiar with, even though she has no friends or family there.

This is going to get very bad. I can picture her getting thrown out of anyplace nice, because she'll be so nasty and ugly to the other residents and the staff....

#5 john999

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 01:29 PM

I went through this with my grandmother, aunt and my mother. All were widows of vets and my aunt got DIC. I hated having to place them in nursing homes but there was just no other way. Sometimes the VA will move very slowly about A&A for these war widows because they figure they will probably die soon and they won't have to grant any benefits.

#6 hedgey

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 09:15 AM

John, I think you're probably spot on. She's 85 and how long can she last, right? But she's pretty healthy, and I think apart from her dementia, she's got quite a few years in her.

I finally got to speak to the Former POW Coordinator at Newington, but he had to hang up because of a fire alarm & mandatory evacuation. Said he would call back, but it's been a day and a half. Pretty soon it will be Friday, and he doesn't work Fridays.

She has some savings, but the at home aides will soon need to be increased and/or she'll need to be moved into a safer environment like an AL. This will mow through her savings quickly, so the house will need to be put on the market as soon as she's out of it to liquidate her only real asset.

I wonder how we'll manage all this, especially with her not being cooperative (I don't expect to be happy about moving into a NH, either).

Our main hope about her having VA healthcare & long-term care was all about having the VA take over and handle things for us. Neither DH or I are really up to managing her affairs, but we are it. Don't know what will happen. Scary time for us, it really is.

#7 hedgey

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 01:44 PM

Just posting this in case it answers someone else's question...

I called the State Veteran's home closest to FIL's home of record, because it clearly states on their website that 'spouses and gold-star parents are eligible to become patients here'.

Yay! I called that place up and got transferred to the admissions lady. Yep, yep! You betcha, Mrs. FIL is welcome here, and we have a great Dementia Program. There's a long waiting list, so it's good you called while she still is able to live fairly independently...

I was thrilled. Then I found out that ... she's welcome, but as a paying customer. Oh. Alright... how much?

Only $7,452.00 per month. What happens after MIL's assets are gone? She goes into the Medicaid thing and really, my ears started pounding because I couldn't breathe.

I know that Nursing Homes aren't cheap. My mother was in one briefly before my brother figured out it was cheaper for her to be at home with a round-the-clock attendant.

I guess I thought that the "benefit" of MIL being in a veterans home would be something like a discount in cost.

Okay, it was a pipe dream and I was just hoping. Like I said, hoping the VA would ride in on a white horse and take care of everything.

It's truly nice that a VA home would allow a spouse to enter, and potentially be together with their veteran. That's a wonderful benefit, really, and I'm not throwing dirt on it. I was just taken off-guard. Forgot how much NH's cost, maybe thought the rural area would be cheaper than my mother's big-city place.