A veteran, the veteran’s spouse or the widow/widower of a veteran may be eligible for monthly cash payments as a result of a veteran’s wartime service (“pension”) or because a veteran suffered a permanent debilitating injury as the result of service (“compensation”). Improved Pension allowances (“Aid and Attendance” or “Housebound”) are available when a veteran, the veteran’s spouse or the widow/widower of a veteran requires ongoing medical care to assist with activities of daily living. This benefit can be used for home care, assisted living or nursing home care.
There are qualification rules that include income and net worth limits in order to qualify for Improved Pension allowances.
- The veteran must have served at least 1 day in the military during a war period (not necessarily in the war zone).
- The veteran must have served 90 days of consecutive service (longer after the Vietnam War).
- The veteran must have received a better than dishonorable discharge.
- The veteran must be over 65.
- The widow/widower of a veteran must have been married to the veteran at the veteran’s death, must have been married at least 12 months unless they had a child, and cannot have remarried.
- There are income limits to qualify (adjusted annually) based on marital status
Married veteran - $2,127 monthly income limit
Single veteran - $1,794 monthly income limit
Widow/Widower - $1,153 monthly income limit
- The applicant’s gross income, including the applicant’s spouse’s income, is reduced by certain medical expenses such as home care, insurance, assisted living, co-pays, supplies, etc. in calculating “Income for VA Purposes”.
Net Worth Limits
- Benefits will be denied if net worth is deemed to be “excessive”
- Claimant is allowed to have enough assets as would be reasonably expected to be utilized during his/her remaining life expectancy
- Accredited attorney will perform an age weighted analysis
- Non-Countable Assets: residence, autos, burial policies, small life insurance policies
- Countable Assets: gifts, inheritances, life insurance policies, annuity distributions, income from tax-free bonds
- No asset transfer penalties for transfers prior to application
This may change with impending legislative updates to the rules for VA benefits applications.
It is critical to understand that VA benefits planning can significantly affect your eligibility for Medicaid for nursing home care and other financial assistance programs. Therefore VA planning should not be attempted without a complete understanding of all your options and opportunities, not only for Veteran’s benefits but for Medicaid as well. You should work with an experienced Elder Law attorney who is accredited by the Veterans Administration (VA) to help you determine if you are a candidate for Veteran’s benefits.
The attorneys at Keston Law are VA accredited attorneys with the knowledge and experience necessary to assist in your planning for Veterans benefits and/or Medicaid.