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Are You A Veteran?
Tax Free Money for Help From Senior Home Care Services!
According to a VA analysis, only 27 percent of veterans and 14 percent of widow(er)s who are likely eligible, actually receive any money from the Veterans Non-Service Connected Improved Pension Benefit Program.
Established to assist qualified veterans, and/or their surviving spouses and family, the Veterans NSC Improved Pension Benefit Program provides financial support that enables veterans to live independently while receiving the quality of care they deserve. In particular, funds are available for aging veterans who need senior home care services or assistance with medical and non-medical care both in the home and in qualified facilities. In many cases, veterans, along with their spouses and family, are unaware this program exists.
We see many clients that are faced with the difficult task of covering their healthcare expenses. If they qualify for these funds, it takes a huge burden off of the veteran, or their widow. This money can be used to ensure they are given access to the care they need.
It can be a complicated subject and frankly only those accredited by the VA are authorized to give specific details of how the program works and what is needed to qualify.
Veterans’ benefits can play a crucial role when making plans for long-term care. This article reviews three commonly overlooked VA special monthly pension programs to help pay for senior home care services, home health care, assisted living care, and nursing home care. The three types of pension benefits are called: Low Income Pension; Housebound Benefits; and Aid and Attendance Benefits.
Low Income Pension
Low Income pension is the VA’s equivalent of SSI. You must meet the criteria for eligibility including your household income not exceeding the limits set by the VA. These limits vary, depending if you’re applying for yourself and have no dependents, for yourself with one dependent, or for a widow or widower of a veteran who have no dependents.
Housebound benefits are available to you or a spouse of a deceased veteran who is permanently and completely disabled, so as to be confined to your home. There is a disability rating scale used by the VA to prove and determine the entitlement. A disability rating is not required for people aged 65 or older; they are presumed to be disabled.
Aid and Attendance Benefits
Veterans, 65 years and older who served during war time, may be eligible for a tax-free benefit called the Veterans Aid and Attendance benefit awarded by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
This Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefit was designed to provide financial aid for war era veterans and or for their surviving spouses to help cover the cost of long-term care at home, or in an assisted living community. Current maximum benefits per month for
Two Vets Married
How do I know if I’m able to apply?
All of the following criteria must be met before you can apply for any VA special monthly pension.
First, you must have served at least 90 days of active duty, of which at least one day was during a war-time period. Defined as: World War II: December 7, 1941 – December 31, 1946, inclusive. If the veteran was in service on December 31, 1946, continuous service before July 26, 1947, is considered World War II service. Korean conflict: June 27, 1950 – January 31, 1955, inclusive. Vietnam era: The period beginning on February 28, 1961, and ending on May 7, 1975, inclusive, in the case of a veteran who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period. The period beginning on August 5, 1964, and ending on May 7, 1975, inclusive, in all other cases. Persian Gulf War (Iraq and Afghanistan): August 2, 1990, through date to be prescribed by Presidential proclamation or law. Second, you must have received a discharge other than dishonorable. Third, you must have a total and permanent disability and the disability was caused without your willful misconduct. Fourth, you must have limited income and assets. Finally, you must submit a signed application to the VA.
How much am I allowed to have in personal assets?
The good news is that your home, as well as your furnishings and car are excluded. What will be countable are your other assets, such as banks accounts, investments and rental property. As listed on the VA’s Form M21-1, the maximum value of your total assets should not exceed $80,000. If your assets are more than $80,000, you should consider talking with a VA accredited attorney who may be able to help you qualify for VA benefits.
Who should I initially consult about this?
Unfortunately, many people talk to everyone but the experts. People who are not accredited by the VA may not have correct information, nor understand the complex rules of the VA. Also, beware of non-accredited people who charge a fee for assisting you with filling out or filing the VA application. Charging a fee for this type of service is illegal. For reliable information and capable assistance, please seek the advice of one of the following:
- a VA accredited attorney (www.va.gov/ogc/apps/accreditation)
- a local veteran’s service organization Sarasota -861-2899 Bradenton 749-3030
- the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs (www.floridavets.org).
- Call us for the names of several experienced organizations that do nothing but help you qualify for benefits. Some even pay for home care if you don’t have the funds yet.
How long does it take the VA to process my application?
On the average it can take up to six months for an application to be processed with the VA. Experienced organizations typically have better results. One way to assure quicker processing is by submitting a complete application package done correctly the first time. Applicants who are 70 years old or older get preferential treatment and are processed faster. The good news is that if approved, your benefit will be retroactive to the date your application was received. The VA has been discussing implementing a look back period for assets similar to Medicare, so I would act promptly if you have assets over the limit.
In addition to the senior home care services we provide, we also work with organizations and attorneys that can help make the process go smoothly for you.
We appreciate our VETS! Give us a call (941) 921-4747 if we can assist you.