With the recent State budget deficit and slashes to Medicaid, our seniors and their families are looking for new ways to help pay for private long term disability care. There are currently over 25 million veterans alive in the United States. There are over 9 million surviving spouses of veterans currently living in the United States. Many of these veterans and surviving spouses are receiving long term care or will need some type of long term care in the near future, and there are funds available from the Veterans Administration (“VA”) to help pay for that care. Unfortunately, many of those who are eligible have no idea that any type of benefits exist for them.
The VA provides a monthly cash payment to veterans and their spouses who meet active duty and discharge requirements, who are either 65 or older or disabled, and who have limited income and assets. The good news is that in 2018, Veterans and their spouses will receive the highest cost of living increase since 2012 under the VA pension payment schedule.
Pension with Aid and Attendance. The highest monthly benefit is available when a wartime veteran or surviving spouse requires the assistance of another person to perform activities of daily living, is blind or nearly so, or is a patient in a long term care facility. This benefit, often referred to simply as “Aid and Attendance” is the most widely known benefit as it offers the highest possible monthly payment. An unmarried veteran can receive up to $1,829 per month, a married veteran can receive up to $2,169 per month, and a surviving spouse can receive up to $1,403 per month.
Pension with Housebound Allowance. Another monthly pension payment is available to wartime veterans who are substantially confined to their home for medical reasons. An unmarried veteran can receive up to $1,340 per month, a married veteran can receive up to $1,679 per month, and a surviving spouse can receive up to $1,126 per month (with additional payments available if dependent children are present in the home).
Service Pension. A service pension, or “base level pension,” is also available to wartime veterans. An unmarried veteran can receive up to $1,096 per month, a married veteran can receive up to $1,436 per month, and a surviving spouse can receive up to $735 per month under the Service Pension.
Helpful tip to speed up the application process.
Having the proper documentation in place at the time of application (for example, discharge papers, medical evidence, proof of medical expenses, death certificate, marriage certificate and a properly completed application) can greatly reduce the amount of time for the application process.
Ronald “Chip” Morrison, Jr. is a VA Accredited Attorney and is a board certified estate planning law specialist, certified by the Louisiana Bar Association.
If you would like to learn more about helping your loved ones qualify and receive their VA Pension, please call Chip at (504) 831-2348.