On January 15, 2014

Many veterans are eligible for VA pensions to help pay for assisted living, nursing homes, and home care. There are different levels of pensions but Aid and Attendance and Housebound cover long-term care. However, many do not understand what is available and how to apply. The facility does not have to be a VA facility nor does it have to be VA certified. The veteran can also choose any home care provider.

Requirements:

•1. The veteran must have served at least 90 days, and at least 1 of those days must have been during a wartime as established by Congress.

•2. The veteran must be at least 65 years of age or if younger than 65, completely disabled. The disability must be non-service connected.

•3. To be eligible for Aid & Attendance, the veteran or their surviving spouse must require help with activities of daily living (ADL) at home, in a nursing home, or assisted living. For Housebound benefits, the veteran must have a disability rating of 100% which prevents them from leaving their home.

•4. A veteran’s countable income must be less than the pension amount for which he or she is eligible. He or she will receive the difference between the pension amount and their countable income. Medical related expenses should be deducted from the income. These medical expenses include cost of skilled nursing, assisted living, home health care, and Medicare or other insurance premiums.

•5. For purposes of Aid and Assistance qualification, “assets: include bank accounts, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other property. It does not include the veteran’s primary residence or vehicle, irrespective of value. The general rule is that the veteran and his or her spouse’s assets must be less than $80,000 although the amount of assets depends on the facts of each case.

•6. The veteran’s discharge must be honorable or general and not be due to willful misconduct.

A surviving spouse is also entitled to receive pension benefits if he or she meets the requirements above and was married to the veteran for at least one year prior to the veteran’s death.

When applying for VA Pension benefits, there are many documents and information that need to be compiled before you can apply. If you need assistance with the application process or if you are not sure what you qualify for, please contact our office and ask to speak with Elizabeth Bidwill.

Categories: Veterans Benefits

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