Just an update about my long journey as my mother's financial "keeper."
When we moved her to assisted living several years ago, she became eligible for a VA pension as the widow of a WWII vet needing aid and assistance. *That* was a minor ordeal, gathering Dad's military info, their marriage certificate, his death certif, etc. In 2006, the benefit was over $900/month.
In 2005 she went to a nursing home, and I had to deal with a standoff between the VA and Medicaid (state of Alabama). The VA benefit, along with her SS put her over the Medicaid income limit but was a very long way from paying her medical bills. The VA benefit was supposed to drop to $90 because she was in a nursing home, which would put her under the limit, but they wouldn't drop her until she had a Medicaid number. It seemed that both wanted the other to fill out their own paperwork, but they didn't want to do the other's paperwork. I was stuck in the middle.
Add to that my mother's inability to execute a financial POA until the end of last summer (hard lesson learned there), which made the family responsible for about 1/2 her nh bill and all her pharmacy bill until her Medicaid start date.
The tie-breaker was to establish (per Medicaid) a Qualifying Income Trust (QIT), which is a special checking account where I can put *all* her income and then pay her medical bills. Upon her death, the State gets whatever is in that account ... and yes, they do check to make sure all her income goes into that account.
So early this year she finally got approved for Medicaid, going back to November 1st. The nh gave us a schedule to catch up her bill. My family (bless them) actually stepped up to the plate without argument or complaint (at least to my face) and sent in $$. The pharmacy company finally sent in the refund check (which was larger than expected) for what Medicaid and Medicare Part D paid them. The VA finally adjusted her benefit. And the nh actually got her new rent adjustment right on the first bill - so I finally have a correct final balance to pay them (out of the pharmacy refund). Hip, hip, hooray!
BTW, the VA does not recognize her POA. We signed and sent in their form to appoint me Mom's financial designate... they said they cannot accept it just for her convenience, a judge has to appoint me (so why bother with the form?). So that's another battle yet to be fought.
The VA *did* finally accept my home as her mailing address. The sweet folks at the assisted living had been forwarding her mail to me all this time.
In time, once the dust settles, I can close the QIT, so I don't have to transfer funds every month.
I relate all of this to you, because I have learned so much from this experience. If you have a loved one at home or in assisted living that you think may *ever* go to a nh (and you're not independently wealthy), get the medical and financial POA, and do the homework about what all your state requires for financial assistance in your situation. I foolishly thought that being joint on all her accounts was enough. It wasn't. Cost us many months of angst and thousands of dollars.
Okay, I'll shut up now.
Blessings and hugs to all,