Abraham Lincoln Called on the Nation to Support it’s Veterans.
“To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan,”
Veterans who served during WWII, Korea, Vietnam and the Gulf Wars may be eligible for tax free pensions.
The pension program is designed to assist veterans and their spouses or widows to cope with the impacted by medical expenses and nursing home costs.
The pension is not automatic. The veteran must make an application in order to have his or her request considered.
- Active Service 90 days (not counting boot camp)
After 9/7/1980, 24 months
- Honorable, general or medical discharge (DD 214)
- 1 day of service during WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf Wars
- Must be:
- Age 65 or older, or
- Total & Permanently Disabled, or
- in a Nursing Home, or
- Receiving Social Security Disability
- Countable Income and Asset Limitations
- There is no requirement that the veteran suffer from a service related disability or injury.
How Much is the Pension?
The Pension is based upon several factors:
- Marital Status
- Income after Medical Expenses
- Level of Care Needed
The benefit is available to the veteran, the veteran and his spouse or his widow. If two eligible veterans are married then they may receive higher benefits.
Income after Medical Expenses
Basically, the VA looks applicant’s income then subtracts eligible medical expenses. These may include health insurance premiums, medicines, assisted living expenses, medicare supplemental insurance, in home care, long term care premiums, day programs, medications, medical co-pays and hygienic supplies. If then the income after these items is compared to minimum income levels.
Levels of Care
- Basic pension enhancement requires no physical limitations.
- Housebound requires that the applicant be substantially confined to his or her home or assisted living facility.
- Aid and Attendance requires that the individual require enhanced levels of care usually provided by a nursing home environment.
How Much Could the Applicant Receive? “2015 Figures”
A few examples of the maximum amount of the monthly pension are:
- Single Housebound Veteran requiring up to $1310
- Married Veteran in Nursing Home, up to $2,120
- Low Income Widow, up to $719
How Much Could I Receive?
To receive an obligation and risk-free report, complete the form below, download a one page questionnaire, complete it and a return it to by fax, mail or email. You will receive an analysis and describe what steps you need to take to complete the application.
What are the Asset Rules?
The benefit is needs based. Similar to Medicaid, the VA reviews the applicant’s assets. Generally the home, household goods, personal effects and vehicle are not counted in the applicant’s assets. Other items like stocks, IRAs, businesses, and land are evaluated to determine the applicant’s net worth. Unlike Medicaid, there is no bright line test.
Excessive Assets and the Look-back Period
Currently, the Veteran’s Administration does not penalize an applicant that has made transfers of countable assets. Therefore, with planning the applicant can use a special form of trusts to convey excess assets. A general revocable trust is not effective but a flexible irrevocable trust may be appropriate. Annuities, promissory notes and life insurance products may also be used to qualify the applicant.
Unlike Medicaid, there is no look-back provisions that disqualify or penalize an applicant. In other words, an applicant is free to make transfers without losing the ability to receive the benefits. However, any such transfers should be coordinated to maximize the availability of potential Medicaid eligibility.
Proposed Changes to VA Rules
Veteran’s Administration proposed changes to the pension rules.
The Veterans Administration has proposed several rule changes that would drastically impact the ability to qualify for benefits. These include:
- An asset cap
- Limit Home to a 2 acre lot
- Create a 36 month Look-Back period
- Impose a penalty period for disqualified transfers
Have more questions, want to attend or arrange for a workshop? Please feel free to give us a call.
Accreditation by VA
As of June 23, 2008, the VA began Requiring that anyone who assists a veteran or family member with the preparation, presentation and prosecution of a claim for benefits to be accredited by and through the VA before they can legally provide assistance. Not every attorney is accredited to represent applicants before the Veteran’s Administration. Thus, to protect yourself while going through the VA process, make sure you are using an accredited agent. To check if a person is accredited, you can go to: VA Accreditation Page and type in their name for confirmation. Richard Winblad Accreditation Verification Link (A one-time agent – usually a family member – does not need to be accredited).
Fees for Assistance
Attorneys may charge a consultation fee to assess whether there are any benefits you may be eligible for through the VA. Attorneys may also charge for estate planning and elder care planning services. However, NO ONE can charge you to assist with the preparation, presentation, and prosecution of your claim.