Articles Posted in Elder Law

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The VA Pension benefits are available for veterans that qualify — they are so important because these benefits (up to $2000 a month) can be the difference between you (or your parents) staying in your home and receiving home health, or staying in an assisted living facility that you enjoy, rather than making that final move to a nursing home.

These benefits may also allow a spouse to remain living in her home while her husband, the veteran, is at an assisted living facility.

Let’s face it — the costs of even assisted living facilities is very high every month. Home health can be expensive. Even just hiring “sitters” to stay with us or our elderly relatives can quickly drain even a substantial amount of money.

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Presidential candidate Mitt Romney made a very important statement in one of his speeches today:

“Veteran benefits are not a gift that is given but a debt that is due.”

We have discussed this before — veteran benefits including the VA Pension or Aid and Attendance is not a gift; it is not a handout; it is not charity. It is a benefit that was earned.

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Sometimes words used by the VA are confusing. Two terms we want to discuss today are veteran disability from service related injuries and veteran pension for veterans who are disabled (non service related) or over the age of 65.

If you, as a veteran, suffered a service related injury then you will receive a “rating” of some percentage. It might be 20% or 75% or 100%. This may entitle you to receive benefits.

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We have discussed this little known veteran benefit known as a “veteran pension” or “aid and attendance” benefits. It often surprises folks how many veterans are still alive, and potentially eligible for these benefits, from our major wars.

For example, World War II, which has eligible dates of December 7, 1941 to December 31, 1946, has over two million veterans still living. Approximately 16,000,000 served. If we take 18 as the youngest age, someone serving in World War II would have been born from 1923 to 1928.

So in 2012, veterans of World War II will be around the ages of 84 to 89 or older.

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Normally we heard the word “Pension” and we think of benefits that are paid based upon the amount of time we have spent with a company or government but “Veteran Pension” is not this at all.

Instead it is based upon financial need and, for the veteran, it means you are over the age of 65 or you are completely and totally disabled.

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Veterans are unfortunately not often aware of certain benefits, or if they are, they don’t know how to receive what they are entitled to receive. I’m specifically talking about what is often called “Special Monthly Pension” benefits or “Aid and Attendance” benefits.

It makes sense that our government has provided a number of veteran benefits but it is sad that many times eligible veterans and their spouses (or surviving spouses) are misled into thinking that they make too much money or own too many assets to qualify for the monthly benefits.

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