In last week’s post I related a common question about government benefits – “is there something out there in the way of benefits that we could get that we’re just not aware of”?
Most recently, a son, whose dad is in a nursing home already receiving Medicaid benefits, asked me this question. His dad is a Korean War veteran and he said someone told him he could get approximately $1800 a month in benefits, a reference to the VA Aid and Attendance benefit.
Many government benefits do not work well together. VA Aid and Attendance and Medicaid are a good example. The Aid and Attendance benefit is received in the form of a pension. I certainly understand the thought process. Maybe dad can get the pension money coming in which could help pay for other things he might need.
The first problem is that the VA won’t pay the pension when it knows Dad is already receiving Medicaid. If he was already receiving the VA benefit before applying for Medicaid, it would drop the pension down to $90 a month. “But what about any other benefit that maybe I am not aware of,” the son asked me.
When I asked what his dad currently needs that he isn’t being covered for, the son really couldn’t answer. Again, this is understandable. His dad is in a nursing home and doesn’t have any ongoing needs besides the care provided by the facility which is being covered by Medicaid.
I also pointed out to him that any additional money coming in would create problems in terms of keeping Medicaid. Medicaid is a needs based program. Assets must be kept under $2000. Any income coming in would simply need to be turned over to the facility. Because Medicaid is a cost share between the recipient and the State, the more income the recipient has the less the State pay. So, in other words, any additional funds coming in would not benefit Dad but instead would be to the benefit of the State.
The bottom line, however, is that while his dad is receiving Medicaid his needs are met so in reality, there isn’t anything he needs. The program he is currently eligible for is the one that is the right fit for him.