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VA Aid and Attendance - Financial Help For Veterans and Their Surviving Spouses

Last post 06-29-2012 10:57 PM by kevinwedmore. 43 replies.
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  • 07-17-2008 5:22 PM

    VA Aid and Attendance - Financial Help For Veterans and Their Surviving Spouses

    A little known but very useful program administered by the Veteran's Administration is the VA Aid and Attendance program.  It is designed to honor the service of our veterans or their spouses if that veteran served our country during a period of war.  These periods include WWI, WWII, the Korean conflict, the Vietnam War, and the first Gulf War.  Please note that the veterans did not have to serve in the war, only during the period the war was being fought.

    This benefit is primarily to benefit those of our veterans who are 65 or older.  For their service, a married veteran can receive up to $22,104 of TAX FREE income per year to pay for the services of another individual to help them with at least one activity of daily living.  This help can be provided at home, in an assisted living faciltiy, or a nursing home.  And, the assistance can be provided by family, friends, neighbors, or professional individuals. For a single veteran the amount of benefit is up to $18,648 of TAX FREE income while the surviving spouse of a veteran can recieve up $11,976 per month.  If you are in an assisted living facility or have any form of dementia, you are automatically eligible.

    The reason for the need of an aid does not have to be service connected.  Therefore, your parent or grandparent may be eligible if they served and have developed Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, etc.  The money is paid directly to the veteran who in turn pays the bill for the aid.

    There are no income limits or asset limits, although both come into play.  The eligibility guidelines consider the amount of income that is available to the veteran (or spouse) after all unreimbursed medical expenses.  So, if a veteran was received $6000 per month in retirement income but his/her expenses at the assisted living facility is $6500 per month, then they are drawing from their savings at the rate $500 per month.  In this case, the veteran has a net income of $0 (actually -$500), so he would be eligible for the full monthly benefit.  Veterans may also be entitiled to a partial benefit.

    Working with a qualified Elder Law Attorney and financial planner, you can possibly improve your chances for eligibility or for a higher payout.

    Please visit this website for more information . . .

    www.vaaidandattance.com

  • 09-01-2008 4:40 PM In reply to

    Re: VA Aid and Attendance - Financial Help For Veterans and Their Surviving Spouses

     

  • 10-09-2008 8:29 PM In reply to

    • Robin
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on 10-10-2008
    • Posts 1

    Re: VA Aid and Attendance - Financial Help For Veterans and Their Surviving Spouses

    kevinwedmore:

    A little known but very useful program administered by the Veteran's Administration is the VA Aid and Attendance program.  It is designed to honor the service of our veterans or their spouses if that veteran served our country during a period of war.  These periods include WWI, WWII, the Korean conflict, the Vietnam War, and the first Gulf War.  Please note that the veterans did not have to serve in the war, only during the period the war was being fought.

    This benefit is primarily to benefit those of our veterans who are 65 or older.  For their service, a married veteran can receive up to $22,104 of TAX FREE income per year to pay for the services of another individual to help them with at least one activity of daily living.  This help can be provided at home, in an assisted living faciltiy, or a nursing home.  And, the assistance can be provided by family, friends, neighbors, or professional individuals. For a single veteran the amount of benefit is up to $18,648 of TAX FREE income while the surviving spouse of a veteran can recieve up $11,976 per month.  If you are in an assisted living facility or have any form of dementia, you are automatically eligible.

    The reason for the need of an aid does not have to be service connected.  Therefore, your parent or grandparent may be eligible if they served and have developed Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, etc.  The money is paid directly to the veteran who in turn pays the bill for the aid.

    There are no income limits or asset limits, although both come into play.  The eligibility guidelines consider the amount of income that is available to the veteran (or spouse) after all unreimbursed medical expenses.  So, if a veteran was received $6000 per month in retirement income but his/her expenses at the assisted living facility is $6500 per month, then they are drawing from their savings at the rate $500 per month.  In this case, the veteran has a net income of $0 (actually -$500), so he would be eligible for the full monthly benefit.  Veterans may also be entitiled to a partial benefit.

    Working with a qualified Elder Law Attorney and financial planner, you can possibly improve your chances for eligibility or for a higher payout.

    Please visit this website for more information . . .

    www.vaaidandattance.com

    I have a friend who is veteran's widow age 90 and she is to the point of needing to be admitted into a nursing home. She is mentally fine, but physically unable to care for herself at all. who would she contact to see if she could get help and be admitted to a veterans nursing home?

    thanks

    Robin

     

  • 10-17-2008 9:16 AM In reply to

    Re: VA Aid and Attendance - Financial Help For Veterans and Their Surviving Spouses

    the actual Web address is: 

    www.vaaidandattendance.com

  • 12-11-2008 4:01 PM In reply to

    Re: VA Aid and Attendance - Financial Help For Veterans and Their Surviving Spouses

    Most people with seniors facing long-term care costs have never heard about a Veteran’s Benefit called a Special Monthly or Improved Pension. You may have heard the name “Aid and Attendance” tossed around, and it has sort of become this “mysterious” thing that people have heard exist but no one has any idea how to obtain the benefit.

    Aid and Attendance is really a misnomer.  The real program is a Special Monthly Pension (also called Improved Pension). Part of that program includes a higher level benefit for Veteran’s needing “Regular Aid and Attendance.”  Now, it’s important not to confuse this VA Pension with a VA Disability Pension where the Veteran has been rated disabled due to an injury that occured during a wartime period.

    Instead, this is a program that provides for long-term care costs for a Veteran who was not injured during war but is now disabled. This is a really great program for Alzheimer’s.  Many families living with Alzheimer’s want to keep their loved one at home for as long as possible.  Or, they want to move their mom or dad into a good assisted living facility.  Home health care and assisted living can cost tremendous amounts of money.  But, if you qualify for this VA benefit, it can provide up to about $1,800 per month for a married couple, about $1,500 per month for a single Veteran and nearly $1,000  per month for the widow or widower of a wartime Veteran. 

     There are approximate income and asset limits. The VA says the asset limits are about $50,000 for a single person and about $80,000 for a married couple. Income must be under the Maximum Annual Pension available in that category. So for instance if a Veteran is married and in need of Regular Aid and Attendance, the Maximum Annual Pension in that category is $1,842/month. This means that thier income must be under this amount to qualify. The reality is that Assisted Living and Home Health Care costs are treated as Unreimbursed Medical Expenses that can help lower the person's income to an acceptable level to qualify. Assets are another thing entirely.

    This can go a long way to keeping your loved one at home longer or at a quality assisted living facility.  But planning is key if your loved one is over the income or asset levels and planning must be done in the right way to coordinate the potential need for Medicaid down the line.

  • 02-14-2010 10:23 AM In reply to

    Re: VA Aid and Attendance - Financial Help For Veterans and Their Surviving Spouses

    I applied for the financial help for my husband, who has Alzheimer's,  about 6 or 7 months ago and haven't heard a word from the Va. Is there any way this can be checked to update the status??

    mescites@verizon.net

  • 02-20-2010 9:43 AM In reply to

    • LBrown
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on 01-31-2010
    • Posts 1

    Re: VA Aid and Attendance - Financial Help For Veterans and Their Surviving Spouses

    My mother is a surviving spouse in assisted living.  She would meet the guidelines for the monthly income, but she has $50,000 in savings.  She also owns a home, which is ok until she sells it (from what I understand).  Will they take from the $50,000 before she gets VA Aid?

  • 03-13-2010 12:26 AM In reply to

    • mcrews
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 07-01-2008
    • California
    • Posts 138

    Re: VA Aid and Attendance - Financial Help For Veterans and Their Surviving Spouses

    With proper upfront planning, you mother will be able to use the 50k as she needs it. it is not 'taken away' or 'spent first'. The home is not counted unless sold and then only with proper upfront planning will the cash be unavailable.

    If you understand the concept of filling tax forms you will understand the point I am making.   NO ONE is forced to file the long form on their taxes.  Anyone can file the short form (1040) and be done.  But by filing the long form and all the accompaning forms, you chose to follow the instructions on those forms. For example: only deducting 50% of business entertainment, only getting 58 cents per business mile driven, having to lose the first 7.5% of AGI on medical expenses.

    But by following the rules and the advice of your CPA/Accountant you save a lot of money on taxes.

    VA, Medicare & Medicaid are the same way. There are ways to legally follow the rules and get maximum benefits. And yes, ALL three programs have benefits programs beyond what you may think.

    Work with someone who can create a COMPREHENSIVE STRATEGY regardless of where you are at in the CARE Continuum that will work at each stage.

  • 12-13-2010 1:06 PM In reply to

    Re: VA Aid and Attendance - Financial Help For Veterans and Their Surviving Spouses

     Hello Kevin,

                            I'm new here but on an info hunt I am a 50 % combat wounded vet (Viet-nam ) era 64 years of age 02/09/1946 dob. My wife has had MS  since 1997 and is now totally disabled which makes me her Caregiver does the Va provide any assistance or care in this case .She is covered by Medicare and a supplement Bravo which turns down alot of care for her, on the other hand the Va medical  has been a great help to me. any help will be greatly appreciated

                                                                                                                                       John

  • 12-13-2010 1:49 PM In reply to

    • mcrews
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 07-01-2008
    • California
    • Posts 138

    Re: VA Aid and Attendance - Financial Help For Veterans and Their Surviving Spouses

    John,

    In Feb 2011 you turn 65. At that point you are considered 100% disabled for PENSION(non-service related disability). You then can concider your options.

    1. If paying for CARE & Medical Expenses would exceed your gross income, then PENSION could send upto aprox $1200 a month because of you dependent(wife) needs.

    2. To recieve PENSION, you would have to drop the COMPENSATION. If you think your COMPENSATION award could or would go up in the near future, you need to concider this.

    3. If YOU are considered HOMEBOUND then PENSION would send aprox $1400 (instead of the 1200 based on your wife) or if you need AID& ATENDANCE, you could recieve up to $1940

    4.COMPENSATION also has the higher rating but you have to be 100% service-related to get the increase. With PENSION, you are 100% just because you turn 65.

    5. The last question that I don't know the answer to is: If you take PENSION in Feb 2011 and drop COMPENSATION, can you go back to COMPENSATION? Both PENSION and COMPENSATION include VA HEALTH CARE. But COMPENSATION is currently paying aprox $2600 for the top award and PENSION is $1644(single vet). So if your service related condition well continue to get worse over time, you don't want to close that door.

     

  • 12-14-2010 9:55 PM In reply to

    Re: VA Aid and Attendance - Financial Help For Veterans and Their Surviving Spouses

    I am new to this site and not sure where I post this message or whom to ask.

    I've got a tough situation.  Father in law is 100k upsided down on a condo loan.  We need to move him into assisted living.  He can't afford to hold his home and pay for assisted living.  The home is upside down and can't sell it either.  If he stops paying his mortgage and moves to an assisted living home, I hear VA will stop his benefits because he is in default of his VA loan.  Can we just give the house back to VA somehow via deed in lieu or short sale?  I think to even do a short sale, you need to be in default before the bank allows it. 

    I don't really know what is true or not.  Does anyone know where to find answers?

    Thanks,

    Eric

  • 12-15-2010 9:25 AM In reply to

    Re: VA Aid and Attendance - Financial Help For Veterans and Their Surviving Spouses

    This happens to a lot of families I work with!  You could call the VA, but that might not get you very far.  I would suggest contacting an elderlaw attorney in your area to help you with this process.  They can advocate on your behalf (or, in this case, your husband), to determine the status of your application.  I am in the Philadelphia area and I'd be happy to recommend an elder law attorney for you.  If you aren't in this area, you can find an elderlaw attorney on the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys Web site at www.naela.org.

    I have learned from one elder law attorney that when there is dementia involved, often the VA seeks to appoint a fiduciary representative (many times they overlook any Power of Attorney), as they feel the candidate may be/is unable to manage their finances independently.  This is where that attorney will come in handy-- to advocate for you.

    I'd be happy to answer any additional questions you have about Aid & Attendance.  This is such a vital benefit!  I can be reached at jstrom@morningsidehouse.com or jstrom79@gmail.com.

    Best of luck,
    Jessica Strom
    Director of Marketing
    The Arbors at Buck Run
    1730 Buck Road
    Feasterville, PA 19053

  • 12-15-2010 10:37 AM In reply to

    • mcrews
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 07-01-2008
    • California
    • Posts 138

    Re: VA Aid and Attendance - Financial Help For Veterans and Their Surviving Spouses

    Jessica,

    Which poster were you responding to?

    First, you need to understand the process. The VA is a federal organization. A Power of Attorney document is written under State law.  That is why Social Security doesn't recognize PoA either. They aren't doing it to be mean. The VA has a form 21-0185 which allows a third party to ask questions about a pending application. ANYONE submitting an application should include this form.

    Second, when an application is submitted, the VA does not automaticly pressume that the applicant has dementia. Once the doctor form(form 21-2680) is read, then a determination is made if the person needs a fiduciary.  The send uot an award letter stating that the applicant is elegible to recieve a monthly PENSION with a HOMEBOUND or AID & ATTENDANCE rating. THe letter also says that based on the facts presented in the Doctor form 21-2680, the applicatant is determined to not be able to handle their affairs. Since the VA (like Social Security) does not acknowledege POA, the VA will seek to have a fiduciary appointed.

    The applicant can then send in form 21-4138 STATEMENT IN SUPORT OF CLAIM, and write uot a statement stating who they would like to have as their Fiduciary. and why.  It can be the wife or adult child or a loved one, or a friend.

    Finally, just being an elder law attorney will not change the situation. An elder law attorney has no more ability to talk to the VA than the wife or a stranger.  For an attorney to speak to the va in an official capacity(paid by the client) he needs to be certified by the VA.  Unless the elder law attorney has actually filed uot and submitted applications to the VA, he will have no idea what the process is.     Anyone can 'advocte' for her.

  • 12-15-2010 11:18 AM In reply to

    Re: VA Aid and Attendance - Financial Help For Veterans and Their Surviving Spouses

    Thank you for the clarification.  I do understand how this works, and the ELAs I work with are all accredited by the VA to assist families in this situation. I believe working with someone who is certified in the application process by the VA is most helpful.  And I understand the VA does not automatically assume dementia, but depending on what the physician includes on the medical form, I have learned that it might raise a flag. 

  • 02-02-2011 1:45 AM In reply to

    • AnneVA
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on 02-02-2011
    • Posts 1

    Re: VA Aid and Attendance - Financial Help For Veterans and Their Surviving Spouses

    It's not necessary to pay an attorney or anyone else to apply for VA benefits. Even if people at the VA are less than helpful, every county has a county veteran's service office and they can help file claims - at no cost.
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