Do you know a veteran, or widow of a veteran, who is struggling to pay for his or her long term care expenses? The Department of Veterans Affairs has a VA Pension Program to help wartime veterans, and widows of wartime veterans, pay for their long term care expenses, provided they meet certain criteria, by providing them with a cash benefit. To apply for the benefit, the veteran, or widow of a veteran, must submit an application to the VA.
The Pension Program has four primary requirements. The first is the military criteria. The veteran must have served ninety consecutive days on Active Duty with at least one day occurring during a War Time Period as set by Congress. If the veteran served during the Gulf War, the service requirement is twenty four consecutive months. The veteran must have received a discharge other than dishonorable.
The second requirement is that the veteran, or widow of a veteran, must need assistance. The level of cash benefit is determined by the level of medical need.
The third requirement is that the veteran, or widow of a veteran, cannot have sufficient means to self-pay for long term care expenses. The VA does not give a set dollar amount as to how much money a veteran may have and still qualify for the Pension Program. In most cases, the veteran must have $80,000 or less. Additionally, the older a veteran is, the less the VA states the veteran may have in order to qualify for the benefit.
The last requirement has to do with income. Unlike Medicaid, the VA does not have an income cap that the veteran must be below. The veteran's gross income cannot exceed the maximum family income limits. The VA looks at the veteran's gross income minus permissible medical expense deductions (such as assisted living facility, in-home care services, nursing home expenses..etc).
To determine the cash benefit from the Pension Program, the VA subtracts the veteran's income (less permissible medical expense deductions) from the level cash benefit. For more information on this program, please visit the Veteran Affairs website at www.vba.va.gov or call Morris Hall at 888.222.1328 to speak with one of our VA accredited attorneys regarding your eligibility.
What the Attorneys of Morris Hall Can Do For You:
The attorneys at Morris Hall have 100's of years of combined experience ensuring that families' assets are protected from probate, unnecessary taxes, creditors, ex-spouses and Medicaid spend-down. The attorneys also help those in Arizona and New Mexico to apply for and receive Medicaid assistance and Veterans Benefits. Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead. Our New Mexico offices are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe. Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!
Contributed by MH attorney Katherine A. O'Connell