Hitting the Beach at Iwo Jima

(This post about our amazing veterans and Law Elder Law’s dedication to helping them receive the benefits they deserve was first published in October of 2008. I am reposting this today in the hopes that it will help more veterans and their families find the aid they need.)

“Most of the men who hit the beach with me that day now lie under little white crosses. Some news guy wrote that if you landed on Iwo Jima in the first wave and you were not hit by machine gun fire, that it was as unlikely as running through a thunderstorm and not getting wet. There was nowhere to hide on that rock. It was like fighting on the moon. No trees, nowhere to find cover. There were so many of us that every time the Japanese fired, somebody got hit. During the first three days that I was on the island, I got a bullet-hole through my shirt, my helmet, and my pants.”

These are the words of my client Fred as he described to me the experience of going up against the Japanese forces who manned the island of Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945. Many of my veteran clients have amazing stories to tell from their days in the service.

As an attorney who is focused on the issues of the elderly, an important part of my practice is to assist wartime veterans who are now over 65 and disabled. We often assist them (pro bono) by securing a veteran benefit to help pay for care for themselves and/or their disabled spouses. I am honored to have the opportunity to serve those who have served their country so well.

Fred was in my office that day to discuss how he was going to pay the over $8000 a month cost of care for his wife, who suffered her first debilitating stroke eighteen years ago and has needed care ever since.

Fortunately for Fred, a wartime veteran does have the possibility of receiving some assistance through a VA Special Monthly Pension. It’s important to understand that Aid and Attendance or the Survivor Spouse VA benefit is only available to those who meet very stringent limitations related to medical necessity for care, and financial need as determined by both income and asset limitations. It is my job as an attorney to be able to assist individuals to evaluate what, if any, VA Aid and Attendance benefits may be available to them. This VA benefit can make all the difference in helping a wartime veteran or widowed spouse maintain their dignity, home, and lifestyle.

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M. C., Client of Law Hesselbaum and Law Elder Law