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Veteran Benefits

If you are 65 years or older, a veteran that served during a period of war or their surviving spouse, you may be entitled to a tax-free benefit called Aid and Attendance provided by the Department of Veteran Affairs.

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This page is intended to provide some general information and is not intended to be legal advice.

 

"Let us remember the service of our veterans, and let us renew our national promise to fulfill our sacred obligations to our veterans and their families who have sacrificed so much so that we can live free."

My grandfather served during World War II in the Mighty Eighth Army Airforce (seen above), my father in the Navy, and my brother in the Army reserves. One of my favorite things about being an elder law attorney is giving back to our country's veterans in the little way I can. I am an accredited attorney with the United States Department of Affairs. This allows me to represent veterans or their surviving spouses before the VA Administration. 

Am I eligible for VA Aid and Attendance as a Veteran or surviving spouse of a Veteran?

To be eligible you must have served during a period of wartime, at least 65 years old, disabled, didn't receive a dishonorable discharge, and qualify financially (Income and Assets).

 

What are the periods of wartime?

 

1. Mexican Border period (May 9, 1916, to April 5, 1917, for Veterans who served in Mexico, on its borders, or in adjacent waters)

 

2. World War I (April 6, 1917, to November 11, 1918)

 

3. World War II (December 7, 1941, to December 31, 1946)

 

4. Korean conflict (June 27, 1950, to January 31, 1955)

 

5. Vietnam War era (November 1, 1955, to May 7, 1975, for Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period. August 5, 1964, to May 7, 1975, for Veterans who served outside the Republic of Vietnam.)

 

6. Gulf War (August 2, 1990, through a future date to be set by law or presidential proclamation)

 

What is the definition of disabled under VA law?

At least one of these must be true:

 

1. You need another person to help you perform daily activities, like bathing, feeding, and dressing

 

2. You have to stay in bed—or spend a large portion of the day in bed—because of illness

 

3. You are a patient in a nursing home due to the loss of mental or physical abilities related to a disability

 

4. Your eyesight is limited (even with glasses or contact lenses you have only 5/200 or less in both eyes; or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less)

Does my other than honorable, bad conduct or dishonorable discharge keep me from qualification?

If you have received one of the above discharges, you may not qualify. However, you may still receive VA benefits with a Change of Discharge review process. You are trying to get a "honorable for VA purposes" determination to be eligible for VA benefits. 

Do I financially qualify?

Your yearly family income and net worth meet certain limits set by Congress. Your net worth includes all personal property you own (except your house, your car, and most home furnishings), minus any debt you owe. Your net worth includes the net worth of your spouse.

What is the income limit?

Your countable income is how much you earn, including your Social Security benefits, investment and retirement payments, and any income your dependents receive. Some expenses, like non-reimbursable medical expenses (medical expenses not covered by your insurance provider), may reduce your countable income.

 

Your MAPR (Maximum Annual Pension Rate) amount is the maximum amount of pension payable. Your MAPR is based on how many dependents you have, if you’re married to another Veteran who qualifies for a pension, and if your disabilities qualify you for Housebound or Aid and Attendance benefits. MAPRs are adjusted each year for cost-of-living increases. You can find your current MAPR amount using the tables below.

Example: You’re a qualified Veteran with a dependent, non-Veteran spouse and no children. You also qualify for Aid and Attendance benefits based on your disabilities. You and your spouse have a combined yearly income of $10,000.
Your MAPR amount = $31,714
Your yearly income = $10,000
Your VA pension = $21,714 for the year (or $1,809 paid each month)

What are the MAPR amounts?

Two Veterans/Spouses     $3,536 per month – $42,433 annually

Married Veteran                 $2,643 per month – $31,714 annually

Single Veteran                    $2,229 per month – $26,752 annually

Widow                                 $1,433 per month – $17,192 annually

What is the Asset limit?

The magic number is $150,538. This is a combination of your assets (not including your home, car and appliances) and your income. 

Can I give away all my assets and then qualify?

Not since October 18, 2018. There is a 3 year look-back period for asset transfers. 

So I may not qualify financially right now, should I still talk to an elder law attorney?

Yes, we can create a plan to accelerate natural eligibility and seek benefits earlier. Call, email or click contact me to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss VA benefits.

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