Since medical deductions are the only expense allowed by law (38 C.F.R. 3.272(g)), it is very important to claim only the expenses the VA will actually allow. Here are the three most common mistakes claimants make when claiming deductible medical expenses.
- Prescriptions and Co-Pays. On the initial claim, all medical expenses have to be regular and predictable. The VA does not consider prescription costs or co-pays, hospital or physician co-pays, over-the-counter medical supplies, dental work, vision expenses, etc. to be predictable. You may claim them, however, the VA will disallow such expenses when making their decision and not use them when making their calculations for net income.
- Expenses Paid Before the Claim is Filed. Any expenses paid by another party (public or private) or paid before the claim is filed cannot be considered as an allowable deduction. Only expenses paid on or after the date of the claim are allowable. For example, VA assumes that your medical insurance policy premium payments will be regular, on-going and predictable, so you can claim that as an on-going expense. Also the direct cost of care, room and board are generally allowable on-going deductions that may be claimed.
- Deferred Expenses. Some assisted and independent living communities will offer to defer room and board expenses until VA benefits are received. The general agreement is that the retroactive payment made upon award will be used to satisfy the deferred amount. As far as VA is concerned, you cannot claim the total amount of the room and board on your claim. You may only claim the amount that you are actually paying out-of-pocket regardless of the agreement to make full payment on award. For example, a one-bedroom apartment at an independent living or assisted living) community normally costs $3,000.00 per month. The community agrees to defer $1,000.00 of that monthly costs until the VA benefit is received. You cannot claim $3,000.00. You may only claim the $2,000.00 you are paying out-of-pocket at the time the claim is filed. Yes, you may have to pay the deferred amount later but you cannot claim it initially. For the community to state that you are paying the full $3,000.00 when you are not is fraudulent and illegal. If the VA should discover this misinformation, you will be required to repay a substantial portion of your received benefits.
More more information call EVLAG at 1-800-878-2149.
Dr. Glenn Osborne, Dr. App. Sc. (Gerontology)
Managing Director, EVLAG, P.C.