This post is the first of an ongoing series in which we will answer readers’ questions about a variety of senior related topics. Today we address issues ranging from guardianship to the complexities of veteran’s benefits. Don’t hesitate to send us your own questions for us to answer on our blog.
Q: My mother-in-law is 93 and served in the active duty military during World War II in the Navy. I think they were called WAVES. She was recently in the hospital and then sent to a long-term care facility. She’s finally come back home but we are paying out of pocket for individuals to come and help with her care. There is a chance she may be moving to an assisted living facility. How can we obtain the first initial form from the VA to apply for assistance with her care?
A: We appreciate your mother-in-law’s service. My grandmother also served in the WAVES (Women Activated for Volunteer Emergency Service), which was an all women division of the Navy formed during the Second World War. As a wartime veteran, your mother-in-law meest the first of a few conditions required for veteran’s benefits such as Aid and Attendance. Applicant’s must also meet financial and clinical eligibility requirements in order to qualify for aid. To learn more about the VA benefit for wartime veterans, and to for links to download the initial forms, go VA page about benefits for older wartime veterans. Note that VA benefits such as Aid and Attendance can pay for care at home as well as care at assisted living communities.
Q: My Relative is 85. He has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and is taking medication to help manage it. He has adult children from a previous marriage. Can his children intervene to have him admitted to a facility if they see that he needs the care?
A: If your loved one’s children believe he is unsafe and do determine that he needs to move to a memory-care facility, it’s obviously ideal to make the move with his consent. Whatever methods of persuasion seem to be appropriate under the circumstances should be tried before more coercive methods. But if no amount of persuasion is effective, his children could petition the court for guardianship. They would need to demonstrate to the court that your loved is not competent. Competent, law-abiding people who aren’t an immediate danger to themselves or others can’t be forced to move anywhere. Even if he were declared incompetent, one of his children would also have to make a legitimate case to the court that he or she should be guardian. Only your loved one’s legal guardian could move him to a memory-care facility if he were against it.
This legal process almost always requires an attorney, and consequently is somewhat expensive. Getting guardianship is not only expensive, it can be time-consuming and emotionally painful.
It’s difficult to determine from the context of your question whether this is something you think that your family may need to do, or whether you’re concerned that they might try to do this when it’s not actually necessary If you are concerned about your loved one’s children attempting to involuntary place him at a memory-care facility when it’s not yet needed, you could potentially testify on your loved one’s behalf at a competency hearing – or even seek guardianship yourself to take responsibility for him.
Q: I am trying to help my mother. She is a veteran of the allied forces during World War 2. She, along with my father who is now deceased, were imprisoned by Nazi Germany and subject to forced labor. They became naturalized citizens of the US in 1955. Are the eligible for veteran’s assistance such as Aid and Attendance?
A: The allied effort to defeat fascism during World War 2 included dozens of nations, including Russia, whose people sacrificed enormously in the fight against the Axis powers. Russians played a pivotal role helping to free Europe from the grasp of Nazism, and in fact were the ones to finally liberate Berlin in 1945. We appreciate the noble efforts and sacrifices of your parents, and all members of the greatest generation, whatever their nationality, who fought for the side of the good with the allied forces. But despite America’s appreciation of our World War Two allies, and our recognition of their sacrifice, VA benefits are only available to veterans of the U.S, Military- specifically the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force. (Some Merchant Marine sailors who served during the Second World War may be considered wartime veterans as well.) Unfortunately, American citizens who were members of allied foreign forces during World War Two (or any other conflict) are not eligible for VA benefits.