VETERAN'S BENEFITS - OFTEN OVERLOOKED, YET OFTEN AVAILABLE
Approximately seventy million people are potentially eligible for benefits provided by the Department of Veteran Affairs (the "VA"), either due to their status as a veteran or a family relationship to a veteran. These benefits can include health care, including long-term and assisted-living care; education; and tax-free financial assistance payments.
The Improved Pension or Low Income Pension ("Pension Benefits") is a financial assistance benefit available to wartime veterans 65 years of age or older who have limited income, received an other than dishonorable discharge, and served at least 90 days of active military service, 1 day of which was during a designated wartime period. In addition, a veteran's spouse can be eligible for Pension Benefits.
The VA examines a claimant's income and assets in order to determine need. If eligible, the Pension Benefit paid by the VA is the difference between the claimant's income and the applicable congressionally set income limit. It is important to note that unreimbursed medical expenses actually paid by the claimant can be used to reduce the claimant's income. Generally, the VA considers net worth above $80,000 to be excessive; however, a final determination depends on the facts of each individual case. A primary residence does not count.
The VA may provide supplemental financial assistance if a veteran and/or spouse medically qualifies. Housebound Benefits are available to a veteran or widow(er) of a veteran who is determined to be disabled and confined to the home. The Aid & Attendance Benefit allows for additional payments to veterans and surviving spouses who require the regular aid and attendance of another person, which may include assisted living facilities and nursing homes.
Veterans and their families should seek advice from accredited VA attorneys and representatives in order to determine eligibility for benefits.