Articles Posted in Veteran Benefits

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The VA recognizes that PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and mTBI (Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries) are very serious problems affecting a high percentage of Gulf War Veterans so the VA is making efforts to find solutions to this problem.

According to the VA press release:

“Traumatic brain injury has been identified as the signature injury of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, and ensuring the best possible care for those affected service members is a high priority,” said Dr. Joel Kupersmith, Chief Research and Development Officer, Department of Veterans Affairs. “Likewise, PTSD is an ongoing concern for our Veterans, whether they experience it while serving in the military or many years later. Defining and developing potential treatments is critical to the health of our Veterans.”

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On our main website we have a new article discussing one of the requirements to receive the Veteran Pension — Aid and Attendance — also called “non service related disability” as the veteran does not need to have been injured while in the service. The requirement we focus on this new article is “What does wartime veteran mean?”

We discuss the dates for World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

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Veteran Pension is often called “Aid and Attendance” because the “base level” pension can be enhanced if the veteran (or surviving spouse) is in need of help with the activities of daily living. If help is needed with the activities of daily living (feeding, dressing, bathing, driving, etc) then often the extra money from aid and attendance is an option.

Many, if not most, of the veterans who qualify for the VA pension also qualify for the aid and attendance so it is commonly just referred to as “aid and attendance.”

The additional money is significant — a married veteran who qualifies for the pension and aid and attendance can receive just slightly more than $2000 a month in tax free benefits.

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Veteran Pension (Aid & Attendance) — which is a wonderful benefit of up to $2000 per month — is used by only a small percentage of those who are eligible. There are a number of reasons for this but we want to look at just three of the common myths that discourage people from even applying for this benefit that they have earned.

The Benefits Are Only For Service Related Disabilities

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Vietnam veterans are still struggling with the impact of exposure to Agent Orange and can receive compensation (sometimes a high amount) for various health problems caused by Agent Orange exposure.

There is a fascinating post by Denise Williams entitled “Red Fridays — Burn Pits, the New Agent Orange” that we recommend you read.

This discusses a common practice in the past number of years in the Gulf War/War on Terror that may account for the high number of sometimes baffling diseases affecting our veterans who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Asset recovery is where Medicaid will seek to recover benefits paid on your behalf by looking for assets that you own, such as your home.

There is no asset recovery with the VA Pension benefits. Remember VA Pension benefits are for those qualifying veterans who served at least one day somewhere in the world during a time of war.

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A “look back” period is where a government program or benefit looks back five years to see if you gave away any assets or money. If you did, and you are now seeking this government benefit, you may be ineligible or face a penalty.

Medicaid has this 5 year look back period which is a very serious matter.

The VA has no look back period. There are always rumblings that one will be established but as of right now there is no such period.

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One difference in the VA Pension (or aid and attendance) and Alabama Medicaid is in where the money (the benefits) can be spent or used.

With Alabama Medicaid, the money can only go towards care in medicaid eligible facilities. The money is paid directly to the facility by Medicaid. We are talking about nursing homes when we speak of long term care under Alabama Medicaid.

With the VA pension benefits for wartime veterans (or surviving spouses) who are either over 65 or 100% disabled (non service related), the benefits can be used anywhere. Any assisted living facility, home health, etc.

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Often veterans in assisted living facilities look at their money and decide to “skimp” on the true care they need. Assisted living facilities will tell veterans and their families “We need to get your father or mother more care” but since the money is not there, or it is dwindling steadily (or even quickly), this needed care is rejected.

Parents don’t want to burden their children.

Children who love their parents are looking at their own (often) unstable financial situation and wondering what will they do when mom’s money runs out and she still needs care.

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