Many veterans don’t realize that they may be eligible for additional benefits from the Veterans Administration. The Veterans Administration offers many types of benefits, from service connected benefits to low-income pension benefits.
A Veteran may be entitled to compensation as a result of a service-connected disability. Compensation is paid to a service member for an injury or disease that occurred during service or is service-connected. The amount of the compensation is based on the veteran’s disability rating. Disability compensation is not taxable income and there is no asset or income limitation.
The Veterans Administration also has a needs-based pension program for low-income veterans. This program is unrelated to service-connected injuries and there is no disability rating requirement.
The VA pension program provides payment to wartime veterans who are 65 or older or have a permanent and total non-service-connected disability, and who have limited income and resources. The pension amount varies depending on the veteran’s other income. Like disability compensation, VA pension income is not taxable.
The Aid and Attendance program is part of the needs-based pension program. Aid and Attendance benefits provide a non-service connected pension benefit for veterans who need assistance with the activities of daily living, such as bathing, feeding, dressing, attending to the wants of nature, adjusting prosthetic devices, and/or protecting the veteran from the hazards of his daily environment.
A veteran, his/her spouse or a surviving spouse of a veteran can qualify for Aid and Attendance benefits if they reside in an assisted living facility or if they are living at home and require the assistance of another individual, such as a home health care aide.
To qualify, the veteran must have had ninety (90) days in service, one (1) day of which must have been during a period of war. Even if the veteran never left the United States, he may still qualify as long as he meets these service requirements. In addition, the veteran must have been discharged under conditions other than dishonorable.
The veteran must also qualify financially for Aid and Attendance benefits. The applicant is subject to an asset limitation (not including the primary residence and car). Currently, there is a 3 year look-back for asset transfers. As such, early planning to protect assets is key.
Proper planning with your Cona Elder Law attorney will allow a Veteran and/or his spouse to protect assets and receive a maximum amount of Aid and Attendance benefits. As always, be sure to consult with the experienced Elder Law attorneys at Cona Elder Law before engaging in any asset protection planning – whether it be for veterans benefits or Medicaid benefits.
Cona Elder Law is proud to report that our attorneys are not only experienced Elder Law and Estate Planning attorneys, but are also accredited for the preparation, presentation, and prosecution of claims for veterans benefits before the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Contact us at 631.390.5000 to learn more.
Jennifer B. Cona is the founder and managing partner of Cona Elder Law. Ms. Cona practices exclusively in the field of Elder Law, including representing older adults and their families in connection with Medicaid planning, preservation of assets, estate planning, estate litigation, probate and administration of estates, special needs planning, Veterans benefits and guardianships. Ms. Cona also founded the Health Care Reimbursement and Recovery practice group.
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