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VA Pension Should Not Impede Medicaid Eligibility

Veteran’s Aid & Attendance Income Should Not Impede Medicaid Eligibility

If you, your spouse or your parent have recently qualified for a VA Improved Pension (VAIP) read about pension benefits and are also applying for or receiving Medicaid assistance you need to know your rights.

A portion of the benefit may represent Aid & Attendance (A&A) which under the federal and Florida Medicaid rules is not countable income. Veterans or their spouses who need the aid and assistance of another individual and who have limited assets and limited income (which can be reduced by showing payment of unreimbursable medical expenses) may be eligible to receive benefits. ‘Unreimbursable medical expenses’ (UMEs) are not paid for by insurance. They can include:

  1. co-pays
  2. deductibles
  3. rent at an assisted living facility
  4. the cost of a home health aide
  5. adult garments
  6. over-the-counter (non-prescriptive) supplies or vitamins
  7. therapies (i.e. acupuncture); and much more.

Why is this so important? Without proper documentation from the Veteran’s Administration (VA) learn more, the Department of Children & Families (DCF) may improperly tell you that you have too much income to qualify for Medicaid unless you agree to create a qualified income trust (QIT) and transfer the pension into the trust. Do not assume that DCF is correct – it can cost you time, money and loss of your Medicaid benefits and your room at the assisted living facility.

Florida is one of a few states that impose a monthly gross income limit in order to qualify for Medicaid assistance. Currently, the monthly gross income limit is $2,163.00 for an individual. Click here to learn more ‘Gross income’ includes sources such as: Social Security retirement; Social Security Disability Income; I.R.A. distribution; 401(k) distribution; pensions from employment. If an applicant’s monthly gross income exceeds the limit, that person will not qualify for Medicaid unless an attorney prepares a QIT and it is properly funded each month (with the amount of income exceeding the state limit). There is a fee for an attorney to prepare the QIT. Why spend money if you don’t have to?

It is important that you advocate for having the VA issue a letter stating what portion of the check represents reimbursement for medical expenses. The portion of the payment that represents unreimbursed medical expenses (UME) is not countable income. That letter must then be submitted to DCF as proof that your income or your loved one’s income is below the Medicaid monthly income limit. If you do not obtain a letter detailing the breakdown between the different VA programs then DCF will assume that the full amount of the check is countable income and decide that you do not qualify for Medicaid.

If you find yourself running into a road block call our firm to assist you. We will be happy to advocate on your behalf with the VA and DCF.

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