There are now over 25 million US Veterans eligible for VA benefits. Many believe they are only entitled to benefits if they were actually wounded or disabled while they were serving in the armed forces. While there is a type of benefit called Disability/Compensation, which is related to service connected disabilities, as an elder law attorney, I assist Veterans and their surviving spouses with VA Pension Benefits. These benefits are paid in cash monthly to their Veteran or the Veteran's surviving spouse. This money can be used for any purpose but certain income and asset rules apply.
Under the VA Pension Benefit umbrella, there are three types of benefits: Basic Pension, Housebound, and Aid and Attendance. Basic Pension provides the lowest benefit with the other two providing a higher benefit. In 2017, the Aid and Attendance monthly benefit is $2,127 for a married veteran, $1,794 for a single veteran, and $1,153 for the surviving spouse of a veteran.
In order to be eligible for the pension benefit, a Veteran must meet the following criteria:
- Served at least 90 days of active dirty with at least one day during a wartime period.
- It is not necessary for the Veteran to have served overseas.
- The Veteran must have received a discharge that is other than dishonorable.
- The Veteran or surviving spouse must have limited income and assets available.
- The Veteran or surviving spouse must be over 65, or have a permanent and total disability.
If it is the Veteran's surviving spouse that is applyng, there is an additional requirement that the surviving spouse cannot have remarried since the Veterran's death.
Each VA claim is unique and the above criteria are generic in nature and may not be applicable to each claimant. For many it is worth investigating this often overlooked benefit and it is a tool we can look to when helping people plan for their long term care needs, including assisted living and home care
I advise advises seniors and their families on the VA Aid and Attendance benefit as part of my elder care and long-term care planning practice. Contact our office today if you have questions about VA pension benefits.