Veteran’s Benefits

Did you know that more than 70 million Americans are eligible for Veteran’s Benefits and, in the next decade, the number of veterans 85 and older is expected to triple?

Sadly, many individuals and families who are eligible for Veteran’s Benefits do not take advantage of them. For example, millions of wartime veterans and their spouses may be eligible for special monthly pension benefits solely because they are over 65 years of age and are homebound, in assisted/supportive living, or in a nursing home.

At Geisler Patterson Law Firm, we are dedicated to helping the veterans who have served our country, together with their loved ones, get all the assistance they are entitled to. We have extensive experience in this area and can assist you and your family by explaining many difficult-to-understand aspects of long-term care and the help that is available.

If you are struggling to provide dignified long-term care for a veteran and/or their spouse, we can help you understand all your options and stretch your life savings further by making every available resource available to you and your family. The fact is, Veteran’s Benefits can provide significant help in paying for long-term care costs.

You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to get the benefits you have earned and rightly deserve.

Helping Veterans Pay For Medical Care: The Aid And Attendance Benefit
There is a special pension benefit available to help veterans and widows of veterans pay for their medical care. Qualification is subject to income and net worth limits, and a veteran can give away assets to meet the net worth requirement.

veteran’s benefit estate planning attorney los angelesThe method by which income is calculated allows a veteran to subtract monthly medical expenses from actual income.

Low Income Monthly Benefit is as follows:

  • Veteran no dependants: $985
  • One Dependent (Married): $1,291
  • Widow: $661
  • Additional money if additional dependents

“Housebound” Monthly Benefits are as follows:

  • Veteran Married Maximum: $1,949
  • Single Maximum: $1,644
  • Widow : $1,056
  • Additional money if additional dependents

These amounts may change each year based on Cost of Living Index.

There are two qualification levels. The first is based upon a set of facts which must be met, and nothing can be done if all the facts required do not exist. The Veteran or the Widow of a Veteran must meet these requirements:

  • The Veteran must have served 90 consecutive days on active military duty
  • The Veteran must have received a better than dishonorable discharge
  • The Veteran must have served at least 1 day of active duty during a war period
  • The Widow must not have divorced the Veteran or remarried after the Veteran’s death
  • The Veteran or Widow must be certified by a doctor as needing assistance with their daily living activities

If the Veteran meets the first set of requirements, then he or she can be assisted to meet the income and asset requirements. The household cannot have more than $80,000.00 in countable assets (personal residences are not countable).

In addition, the adjusted income must be less than the Aid and Attendance Pension benefit. (Adjusted income is the Gross household income less all unreimbursed recurring medical expenses.)

The VA does not have any rules restricting the gifting away of assets. With proper planning, the veteran or veteran’s widow can qualify for Aid and Attendance benefits while preserving household assets. The funds obtained for Aid and Attendance can enable a veteran or veteran’s widow to have enough funds to pay for care in their home, or for care in an assisted living facility as well as paying for care in a Nursing Home. This benefit is often overlooked.

Veterans with a Service Connected Disability may be entitled to additional compensation because the Service Connected Disability is the cause of the current disabling condition.

It is common for a veteran with a Service Connected Disability to receive significant additional compensation after contacting an attorney who specializes in obtaining Compensation and Benefits for Veterans.

It is crucial to note that when planning for Veteran’s Benefits, extreme caution must be taken. Poor planning can result in the loss of eligibility for Medi-Cal assistance to help pay for care in a nursing home. And while Veteran’s Service Organizations do provide no-cost assistance in preparing and filing applications for Veteran’s Benefits, they are not qualified to assist veterans or their families with eligibility planning.

The standards for qualifying for Veteran’s Benefits and Medi-Cal are very different, and a conflict can cause a veteran to be disqualified for a much needed benefit. Veteran’s Service Organizations are not qualified to render any advice on Medi-Cal or any other public benefit.

In addition, annuities are often sold to veterans under the pretense of helping them qualify for Veteran’s Benefits. These annuities often are not appropriate for the veteran’s situation. Or worse, if the purchaser needs Medi-Cal assistance to pay for nursing home care, the state of California will be the beneficiary.

For more information about Veteran’s Benefits, please contact us

About the Author Martha Patterson

Martha Patterson is a California Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law, and Certified Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation. She focuses on Elder Law, Asset Protection and Estate Planning. She is a Member of NAELA; Past President of Southern California NAELA. Featured on CNN, Good Morning America, NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox News, and radio stations KABC, KNX, and KKLA. She overcame incredible objections and enabled Kerri and Julie Kasem to visit their dad radio host Casey Kasem. She is a frequent lecturer for NBI, and is a at MCLE events, and public forums.

Martha Patterson, Attorney

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