Question: Will the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recognize the cost of care provided by an unlicensed caregiver as an expense in determining the financial eligibility of an applicant for VA pension benefits?

Answer: The VA WILL recognize the cost of care provided by an unlicensed caregiver as an allowable expense in determining the financial eligibility of an applicant for VA pension benefits AS LONG AS the applicant is rated either “housebound” or in need of “aid and attendance.” Therefore, a family member can be paid for providing care to a loved one who is a veteran applying for VA pension benefits even if the family member providing the care is not a licensed medical professional. Payments to the family member will be recognized as an allowable expense by the VA in determining financial eligibility for VA pension benefits. The governing regulation follows:

 M21-1MR, Part V, Subpart i, Chapter 3, Section D

13. Determining When Unreimbursed Medical Expenses Are Deductible

h. Deducting Fees for In-Home Attendants

Use the following table to determine when to allow a medical expense deduction for an in-home attendant who is actually being paid to care for a disabled person.

Notes:

  • Do not allow for a deduction if the attendant provides free services.
  • Receipts or other documentation of this medical expense is required. For additional information, see M21-1MR, Part V, Subpart i.3.D.13.i.

If an in-home attendant is caring for a disabled person who …

Then allow for a deduction for the wages …

has been rated housebound or in need of A&A by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

of the in-home attendant, even if the attendant is not a licensed health professional.

Note: A family member may be considered an in-home attendant only if he/she is actually being paid. Documentation must be submitted.

is not rated housebound or in need of A&A by VA

of the in-home attendant only if the attendant is a licensed health professional.

Reference: For more information on deductible medical expenses, see M21-1MR, Part V, Subpart iii, 1.G.43.

For additional information concerning VA compensation and pension benefits, visit: http://vanarellilaw.com/va-benefits/