Veteran’s Special Pensions for Aid & Attendance

Are you aware of the Aid & Attendance benefit that is available to veterans and their families?

The Department of Veterans Affairs has offered this special benefit for more than sixty years, but it seems to get overlooked a lot. So, I’d like to spend some time discussing how this benefit could help a veteran and his or her family.

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Who Qualifies, and What does the Benefit Cover?

The Aid & Attendance benefit is for wartime veterans and spouses of deceased veterans who require regular personal attendance for things like cooking, cleaning, dressing, driving, mobility, and taking medication.

The care itself can be provided by family members, friends, or medical professionals either in the home, in an assisted living facility, or in a nursing home.

Veterans and surviving spouses who qualify are eligible to receive the following:

  • Unmarried veterans: $1,778 per month
  • Surviving spouses: $1,149 per month
  • Married veterans: $2,120 per month
  • Veteran with a sick spouse: $1,406 per month

This money is in addition to any other pensions and social security that the veteran or spouse may already receive. Many veterans and surviving spouses whose incomes are above the congressionally-mandated VA pension limit may still be eligible for the monthly benefit if they have high expenses for care that are not covered or reimbursed by insurance.

Find the Answers You Need

This benefit can make a real difference in your life, but you must apply for it. It does not happen automatically.

Navigating the application process can be tricky, and I’d like to help you. I’ve created this VA Benefits webinar with you in mind. Join today to learn more valuable information.

~ Ronald Morton

Proposal For a Change in Veterans Rights: Why it Matters to You

There are new proposed regulations that will drastically affect applicants of Aid and Attendance veteran benefits. The proposed regulations that would amend 38 CFR Part 3, will require a three-year look-back period of asset and asset transfers for each pension applicant and apply strict net worth limits on the veteran and his or her spouse.  Transfers to trusts, as well as purchase of annuities, under the new regs, will result in implementation of a transfer penalty; which could make an applicant ineligible for VA A&A benefits for up to 10 years.

What does that mean for you? Act now.

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Aid and Attendance Benefits

Aid and Attendance pension applies to those veterans who require assistance with two or more activities of daily living. For more information about qualifications for Aid and Attendance, check out our recent blog posts.

Assets and Transfer

Today, Veterans Affairs only looks at the current amount of assets and income to determine a veteran eligible or ineligible to receive Aid and Attendance Benefits. That’s about to change.

When these regulations are enacted, they will include a three-year look-back period for applicants of both assets and asset transfers.

This could be the difference between qualifying or not qualifying for government assistance. Or, it could significantly reduce the amount of government assistance a veteran receives.

History of the Regulations

On January 23, 2015, the Veterans Administration published a comprehensive rule that would amend 38 CFR Part 3.  Part 3 covers net worth, asset transfers and income exclusions for needs-­‐based benefits.  The stated purpose of the proposed change was to “maintain the

Integrity of the pension program and to implement recent statutory changes” and to “respond to recent recommendations made by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), to maintain the

Integrity of VA’s needs-­‐based benefit programs, and to clarify and address issues necessary for the consistent adjudication of pension … claims.”

Much of this regulation is consistent with a bill proposed in Congress last year that made several similar changes to the pension act.

Act Now

Our advice to you? Act now, before it’s too late.

If you or a loved one is currently applying or thinking about applying for Aid and Attendance benefits, start working with a lawyer who specializes in Veterans planning. It could mean the difference between being eligible, or ineligible.

~ Ronald Morton

 

Veteran’s Planning: Basic Pension, Housebound Benefits & Aid & Attendance Benefits

After returning home from active duty military service, the process of filing for benefits can be exhausting. Beyond the application process itself, knowing which applications to fill out can be hard to decipher.

That’s where Morton Law can help. This process is our profession.

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First, to see if a veteran qualifies for any of the veteran benefits below —  basic pension, housebound benefits, or agent benefits — read last week’s blog, ” VA Benefits: Do You Qualify”. This article details the minimum requirements needed for veteran benefit eligibility.

Once those specifications have been met, the next step is deciphering which benefits to apply for. Below is an outline of your options.

Basic Pension

Basic pension is need-based. It’s provided to veterans who are:

  • 65 years or older with a limited income or no income, or
  • permanently and fully disabled, or
  • receiving skilled nursing care in a nursing home, or
  • on Social Security Disability Insurance, or
  • on Supplemental Security Income

The above qualifications must be met not only for the veteran to receive basic pension, but also for their surviving spouses or children to apply for Survivors Pension.

Housebound Benefits

Housebound benefits are available to veterans who are confined to their homes because of severe and permanent disability. This monthly pension is added to the basic pension mentioned above.

Aid and Attendance Benefits

The Aid & Attendance (A&A) increased monthly pension amount may be added to your monthly pension amount if you meet one of the following conditions:

  • You require the aid of another person in order to perform personal functions required in everyday living, such as bathing, feeding, dressing, attending to the wants of nature, adjusting prosthetic devices, or protecting yourself from the hazards of your daily environment.
  • You are bedridden, in that your disability requires that you remain in bed apart from any prescribed course of convalescence or treatment.
  • You are a patient in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity.
  • Your eyesight is limited to a corrected 5/200 visual acuity or less in both eyes; or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less.

How to Find Help

Which veterans benefits to apply for and how to do so can be confusing. If you have any questions, find more on our website or give us a call at 1-866-925-9797.

Not only do we care about your present well-being, we care about your future too.

~ Ronald Morton

 

VA Benefits: Do you Qualify?

From the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan alone, the Washington Post reports that more than half of the 2.6 million Americans sent out, struggle with mental or physical health problems upon their arrival home. These health problems stem from the veteran’s time in active military service, more often than not.

If you know someone who has been drastically impacted by their time in service, know that Veterans Benefits are available.

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These benefits can make a major difference in the quality of life lived following active service. Here’s what you need to know.

Veteran Benefit Qualifications

To qualify for veterans benefits, the following is required:

  • Served a minimum of 90 days active military service
  • Served at least one day of duty during a period of war
  • Discharged for conditions other than dishonorable
  • Veterans who served active duty on or after September 8,1980 (or for officers, October 16, 1981), must have finished at least 24 continuous months of military service, or served in full, the originally intended dates of service ordered.

If a veteran meets the above criteria, they may qualify for Aid & Attendance benefits or for Housebound benefits. (Note that veterans are unable to receive both benefits at the same time.)

The Different Veteran Benefits Available

Aid and Attendance Benefits refer to those veterans who need extra assistance, but are not limited to their house. Housebound benefits are for those who are not capable of seeking assistance outside of the home.

Read more about the difference between Aid & Attendance Benefits and Housebound Benefits at Morton Elder Law.

Important Note: If you are applying for a parent who is incapacitated because of military service, there will be additional paperwork required.

Seek Professional Guidance

The application process for veterans benefits is time-consuming and particular. In some cases, assets may need to be shifted in order to meet eligibility.

The best way to set you or your loved one up for success is to seek out professional assistance. The application process has been known to take from four to six months, sometimes longer. Partnering with an expert is the best way to ensure that there aren’t any delays in the process and that veterans benefits are received.

Morton Law is here to help. Call to set up an appointment today.

~ Ronald Morton

 

2014 VA Pension Aid & Attendance Payments Announced

The 2014 Pension Rates for Veterans were announced, bringing a 1.5% increase in pension benefits for Aid and Attendance recipients.

The new payments are effective December 1, 2013, for benefits payable January of 2014.  The new Aid and Attendance pension payments are as follows:

Single Veteran: $1,759.00
Married Veteran: $2,085.00
Surviving Spouse of a Veteran: $1,130.00

These funds can be used by wartime veterans to pay for in-home care, assisted living costs, and nursing home costs.  If you are a wartime veteran with at least 1 day of wartime service and a minimum of 90 consecutive days of service to our country, you may be eligible for this very valuable benefit.

Best of all, if the veteran qualifies, Aid & Attendance funds are provided in addition to monthly pension and Social Security benefits. If you or someone you love is a veteran and needs help with daily activities like cooking, cleaning, dressing, driving, mobility, or other assistance, the Aid & Attendance benefit can provide funds you need to pay for that help. Many elderly veterans and surviving spouses whose incomes are above the congressionally-mandated legal limit for a VA pension may still be eligible for monthly Aid & Attendance benefits if they have high expenses for care, including nursing home expenses, that are not reimbursed by insurance or other sources. For more information click here.

New VA Pension Aid & Attendance Payments Announced

The first cost-of-living adjustment since 2008 has recently been made, bringing a 3.6% increase in pension benefits for aid & attendance recipients. 

The new payments are effective December 1, 2011, for benefits payable January of 2012.  The new A&A pension payments are as follows:

Single Veteran: $1,704
Married Veteran: $2,020
Surviving Spouse of a Veteran: $1,094

These funds can be used by wartime veterans to pay for in-home care, assisted living costs, and nursing home costs.  If you are a wartime veteran with at least 1 day of wartime service and a minimum of 90 consecutive days of service to our country, you may be eligible for this very valuable benefit.