Home Care Benefits for Holocaust Survivors

The Claims Conference was founded in 1951 for the purpose of negotiating with the German  government on behalf of holocaust survivors.  As the result of their negotiations over the years, millions of dollars have been paid to survivors to compensate for their losses and suffering from Nazi persecution.

Most recently, the Claims Conference has been focusing on the special needs of survivors now that they are elderly.  As a result, an agreement was reached in May of this year under which the German government will provide approximately $1B from 2014 through 2017,  to allow elderly Jewish Holocaust victims to receive care at home.

While the program has a needs-based component,  it allows for a significant amount of income and assets.  A recipient may not earn more than $16,000 per year, after taxes.   This is based on earned income, including passive income from interest or dividends, but does not include pensions, whether private or governmental; Social Security payments; payouts from IRAs, 401(k)s or other retirement plans; payments related to the loss of earning capacity, such as VA Disability Compensation, personal injury awards; or payments from private insurance such as accident insurance. It also does not include the income of the survivor’s spouse.

The asset threshold of $500,000 is also more generous than most other benefits programs, and like most of those programs, the value of the home in which the recipient resides and the recipient’s vehicle are not counted. However, unlike Medicaid and VA Aid and Attendance,  only the assets in the recipient’s own name are counted. If assets are owned jointly with a spouse or other family member, an applicant must only include half of the total value.

Finally, there is a maximum number of hours  of care per week which the program will cover. This is based on an evaluation of the recipient’s functional abilities, as determined by an appropriate agency.  In Arizona, Jewish family and Children’s Services (www.jfcsaz.org) can perform a free assessment based on the program’s requirements. In addition, if the survivor has never received any compensation as a result of that status, he or she will have to provide basic information of his or her status as a Jewish Nazi Victim.

Despite the restrictions, this program can provide assistance to enable elderly Holocaust survivors to remain at home without impoverishing themselves, or, if they are already receiving other benefits, to supplement the number of hours which other benefits programs provide.  To learn more, go to the Claims Conference’s website, at www.claimscon.org/2013.

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