Veteran’s Aid + Attendance Planning
Planning for Seniors with Existing Life Insurance
The Veterans Administration does not have a specific benefit for community based long-term care. However, the VA does provide a minimum income level or VA Pension for all veterans who require the aid and attendance of another for assisting in the activities of daily living.
Pension is a benefit paid to wartime veterans with limited income, and who are permanently and totally disabled or age 65 or older. This is a pension benefit so it is for the life of the veteran.
Who Is Eligible?
You may be eligible if:
- you were discharged from service under other than dishonorable conditions, AND
- you served 90 days or more of active duty with at least 1 day during a period of war time*, AND
- your countable family income is below a yearly limit set by law, AND
- you are permanently and totally disabled, OR
- you are age 65 or older.
*Note: Anyone who enlists after September 7, 1980, generally must have served at least 24 months or the full period for which called or ordered to active duty. Service from August 2, 1990 to present is considered to be a period of war (Gulf War) in addition to other periods of war such as World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.
How Much Does VA Pay?
The VA will pay as much as $2,229 per month or $26,748 per year for a Married Veteran and up to $1,208 per month or $14,496 per year for the surviving Spouse of a Veteran who needs the aid and attendance of another. The benefit amount is dependent upon an asset and income test and the amount of unreimbursed medical expenses the Veteran or spouse may have. The benefit is paid in 12 equal monthly payments rounded down to the nearest dollar.
How Do I Qualify?
To qualify medically, a War-Time Veteran or surviving spouse must need the assistance of another person to perform daily tasks, such as eating, dressing, undressing, taking care of the needs of nature, etc. Being blind or in a nursing home for mental or physical incapacity, or residing in an assisted living facility also qualifies. Eligibility must be proven by filing the proper Veterans Application for Pension or Compensation. This application will require a copy of DD-214 or separation papers, Medical Evaluation from a physician, current medical issues, net worth limitations, and net income, along with out-of-pocket Medical Expenses.
How Can I Start Getting the Veteran’s Aid & Attendance Pension?
Contact our law firm for a FREE initial consultation and one of our VA accredited attorneys will help you. Let one of our attorneys guide you through the eligibility process so you can qualify for this very important VA benefit.
Do You Need A Veterans Asset Protection Trust
A Veterans Asset Protection Trust (VAPT) can serve a valuable role when trying to divest a claimant of assets in order to qualify for pension benefits. At least for now, a veteran or a widow(er) of a veteran, then eligibility for the Veterans Aid & Attendance benefit is not subject to a waiting period as is the case with Medicaid benefits. This provides more flexibility for a veteran or a widow(er), allowing him or her to establish an irrevocable trust with less concern over an unanticipated medical crisis. There is some concern that the Veterans Administration may impose a three year waiting period after transfers, so we are now advising clients to consider establishing a VAPT if they otherwise qualify. There is not a lot of guidance in the form of reported cases from the VA on the use of irrevocable trusts, so attorneys must use great caution when drafting these trusts.