As we initially feared and warned clients about in the new VA regulations, it appears that it is going to be more difficult to get the cost of independent living as Unreimbursed Medical Expenses (UMEs) to offset income.
Step #2 on page 12 of VA Form 21P-534EZ specifically states that the facility must be staffed 24 hours per day with caregivers. As we all know, independent living facilities typically have no such staffing.
Although a family member or other non-licensed individual may be a care provider with his/her fees considered UME, I doubt seriously that the facility will consider that person a “staff member”.
I think we will just have to wait and see. I personally see a new opportunity for attorneys and agents — that being a liaison between facilities and care agencies, drawing up contracts between the two so that the facilities’ fees can be used as UMEs. This would benefit everyone — the facilities, the care agencies, the residents, and us as attorney-agents.
More updates later . . . .