For veterans who are overwhelmed by the high cost of living associated with assisted living, nursing homes, adult day care, and home care aids, there pension benefits available that could help cover some or all of the cost. These veteran pension benefits come in three categories:
The Aid and Attendance benefits and household benefits can be applied on top of the basic pension, but cannot be used in addition to one another. Additionally, to qualify for the aid and attendance and household benefits, a veteran must qualify for the basic pension.
This pension helps veterans and their families who may be struggling financially by providing a supplemental monthly income that is tax-free. Recipients must meet active duty and income requirements to qualify.
Aid and Attendance
The Aid and Attendance benefit is available for both veterans and/or their surviving spouses. The benefit may be used to offset some or all of the costs associated with assisted living. There are various names that this program is referred to, but it is formally known as the Aid and Attendance benefit.
Similar to the Aid and Attendance benefit, this benefit also applies to veterans and/or their surviving spouses. The benefit can be used to offset the costs of having an at home-caretaker due to a disability. Recipients must meet the active duty service requirements, but they are not required to have incurred the disability during this period.
Veteran must be 65 or older
Veterans must have served at least 90 days with 1 one of those days being during an active wartime date outlined below:
Veterans must be discharged or release under conditions other than dishonorable
To qualify, a surviving spouse must have been living at the time of their death and single at the date of the claim
To qualify, veterans must have a combined, countable income that is less than the pension amount for which they are eligible. For example, a married veteran that is eligible for $20,028 must have a countable income less than this number. If the married veteran’s income is $10,000, then they qualify for an additional $10,000 in pension benefits.
The VA also allows veteran pension applicants to deduct expenses and forms of income from their countable income. It’s important to explore all possible options for deducting income and costs, because your actual income may be much higher than your countable income.
The VA will also perform an independent evaluation of the veteran’s net worth and assets. There is no set limit, but generally the VA is looking to determine whether the veteran’s remaining assets and income are substantial enough to live off for the remainder of their life. As such, this is dependent on the disability expenses, age, and income of each individual veteran.
IF A VETERAN’S ASSETS ARE ABOVE 50K, IT’S STRONGLY RECOMMENDED THAT THEY CONSULT WITH A PENSION PLANNER.
Benefit Amounts for 2018
There are no restrictions on the ways that the veteran pension benefits can be applied. For those who qualify, it may be useful to use these funds to cover skilled nursing, assisted living, adult day care services, or funding home modifications to help with a disability. Funds may be used to pay a family member who is the primary caregiver for the veteran, however this is not applicable for spouses. Veterans may also be eligible for retroactive benefits, which apply for a period of up to one year prior to the date they start receiving pension benefits. They will have to prove they could qualify for the pension for the year prior.
You can begin the veteran pension application process by getting in contact with representatives from Landmark Senior Living. We’ll work with you to determine your eligibility, where you can find your medical records, and how to use those benefits to cover assisted living.
Alternatively, you can apply for the benefits online through the VA. The application process is complicated and applicants can expect to wait 3 months to start receiving their benefits. It’s recommended that veterans seek the assistance of professional benefits advisers. Veterans may also be eligible for loans to cover the waiting period. There are no costs to apply for VA pension benefits. Veterans benefits advisers are prohibited by law from charging their clients to assist with the application process.
To apply, you can go online to the VA website and submit an online application. You can also download VA Form 21P-527EZ and mail the physically completed form to your local Pension Management Center. You can also visit your local regional benefits office to submit your application in person or ask any questions.
Landmark Senior Living cares about those who served our country and those who continue to do so. That’s why we’re working to help senior veterans and their spouses unlock the benefits available to them through pensions offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. If you’re looking for assisted living benefits for Veterans, visit Landmark Senior Living in Fall River.