When Can you Expect Your VA Benefits?

The Veterans Benefits Administration recently sent a reminder about when recipients can expect to recieve their VA cash benefits, including disability compensation, pension, survivor’s benefits and education benefits.

These benefits are deposited into the account of the beneficiary or his or her VA fiduciary on the first business day of the month following the month that is covered by those benefits (in other words, benefits for  August, 2017 were paid on September 1, 2017).  When the day that would have been the first business day is a weekend or holiday, then those benefits are paid on the last business day of the previous month.

For example, benefits for September, 2017 will be paid on September 29, because October 1 is a Sunday, and benefits for December, 2017 will be paid on December 29, because December 30 and 31 are the weekend, and January 1 is a holiday.  Benefits for October, 2017 will be paid on November 1, because that is neither a holiday or weekend day.

This means that you can always plan on receiving your VA benefits no later than the first business day of the following month.

You can check the status of your VA benefits payments at www.eBenefits.va.gov




Court Approves Class for Lawsuit About Medicare Observation Status

Last month, in the case of Alexander v. Price, 3:11-CV-1703 (MPS), the US District Court in Connecticut certified a class of Medicare beneficiaries who suffered financial loss because they had been hospitalized under “Observation Status” at some time since January 1, 2009.

Patients can be in the hospital, receiving services, for several days and even weeks, and still not be “admitted.”  Although new regulations from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid now require hospitals to inform patients of their status, there is currently very little recourse, especially if the patient is no longer in the hospital by the time he is  notified.  As a result, patients may have  expensive co-pays for services that would have been covered for patients who were admitted by Medicare Part A.   And Medicare will only cover the cost of skilled nursing or in-patient rehab for someone who is discharged to that level of care after having been admitted to a hospital for at least 3 days.  If someone is transferred from the hospital following observation status….no matter how long the duration…..those services are not covered by Medicare.

Attorneys for the Center for Medicare Advocacy, who are representing the class along with the law firm of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, hope to establish a right to review the hospital’s decision whether to admit a patient or keep her under observation status.

Use Your Smartphone to Document Your Advance Directives

Earlier this summer, I published a post (probably not for the first time!) about the importance of documenting your wishes for end-of-life care.  Currently, only about 30% of adults over age 50 have done so. As reported n the May-June issue of … [Continue reading]

Another Wake-up Call to Document End of Life Care Decisions

A couple of weeks ago, our extended family came together to celebrate my mother's 95th birthday.  My mother has always loved a party, so even though she suffers from several chronic conditions, and then had a pretty serious health scare 2 weeks … [Continue reading]

Hospitals Must Keep Patients Informed About Observation Status

I've written before about making sure you have been "admitted" when you have been in the hospital for a night or two. Medicare recipients who have been evaluated in the hospital, received care and perhaps even stayed overnight may have been … [Continue reading]

VA Acknowledges Presumption of Illness from Camp Lejeune Water Exposure

In the early 1980s, chemicals that are used in dry cleaning and metal  degreasing, along with benzene and vinyl chloride, were discovered in the water supply system at Camp Jejeune and MCAS New River.  The contaminated wells were finally shut down in … [Continue reading]

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Reconfirms Guidelines for Skilled Care

In a previous post, I have described the 2014 settlement in the case of  Jimmo v. Sebelius, in which the Court confirmed that Medicare is obligated to pay for physical, occupational and/or speech therapy that is necessary to keep a medicare … [Continue reading]

Whose In Charge When You are in the Hospital?

My 94 year old mother was just released from the hospital following a 13-day stay, precipitated by a serious infection. First, the good news - the infection has cleared and she is back home,  thinner (not a good thing) and more easily fatiged, but … [Continue reading]

A New Kind of Employment Discrimination?

More and more employees are finding that they need to take time away from their jobs to care for their elderly loved ones.  It may be for a short time around a medical crisis, or they may need to provide ongoing care services to someone who is unable … [Continue reading]

Keeping Track of Your Pension

Although more and more employers are switching from defined benefit plans to IRA's and  401(k)s, many Baby Boomers did spend part of their careers at companies that offered a pension as part of the compensation package.    Now that they are getting … [Continue reading]

Help for Financial Caregivers

A couple of weeks ago,  my post described some holiday gifts and services that can help relieve stress for physical caregivers. Those of us who are charged with assisting our loved ones with their finances may find that responsibility stressful as … [Continue reading]

Remember the Caregivers During this Holiday Season

Thoughts of the upcoming holidays encourage many of us to anticipate spending time with family and friends to revisit established traditions and enjoy our favorite foods. Unfortunately,  people who serve as caregivers for loved ones with Dementia … [Continue reading]

When Screening Tests are No Longer Called For

The guidelines for when women should have screening mammograms was recently in the news again, when the American Medical Association recommended that regular testing for women with no known risk factors should not start until age 45, rather than the … [Continue reading]

What to do When Dad Shouldn’t Drive

One of the toughest conversations we have - or dread having - when someone we love has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease or other dementia is the discussion about whether that person can continue to drive.  For gentlemen of a certain age, the … [Continue reading]