Apr 15, 2013
An Introductory Tour of the Special Monthly Pension available for Wartime Veterans And/Or Survivor Spouses who are Age 65 Or Older OR Permanently and Totally Disabled.
Most people think of veterans’ benefits as being only for servicemen and women who were wounded or disabled while serving in the armed forces. By and large, that is true.
But we have learned about substantial benefits that may be available to wartime veterans who are now senior citizens and facing the burden of long term care due to a host of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, MS, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, and many others.
In fact, the Veterans Administration estimates that millions of wartime veterans and their spouses may be eligible for Special Monthly Pension benefits and are not even aware of it!
Wartime veterans or their surviving spouses become eligible for the Special Monthly Pension benefit when they are over 65 years old, are permanently disabled and unable to work, are homebound, or need the regular aid and attendance of another—whether at home, in assisted/ supportive living, or in a nursing home. The program is based on actual financial need for assistance, so there are income and asset limitations.
Unfortunately, there is widespread misunderstanding regarding how to determine qualification for this important benefit. It is the goal of this Nuts and Bolts Guide to give you a start in understanding the ins, outs, ups and downs of the VA benefit maze commonly referred to as “Aid and Attendance.” Even though finding your way through the maze can be extremely difficult, it is worth the effort to assist wartime veterans and their surviving spouses during times of great need.
The maximum benefit available can provide significant help in paying for long term care costs, either for the homebound and/or nursing home veteran/surviving spouse.
There are only three types of people who are authorized to provide a veteran with assistance filing a claim for veterans’ benefits:
1. An attorney licensed to practice law in your state
2. A veterans service organization such as VFW, American Legion, Amvets, etc.
3. A state or county official of the Dept. of Veterans Affairs in your state
Unfortunately, there are very few attorneys who have knowledge in this particular area because it is illegal to charge a veteran a legal fee for providing assistance in filing a claim for benefits. Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) are often hard-pressed to have sufficient resources to assist multiple generations of veterans, so it is sometimes difficult for a veteran or his/her surviving spouse to get help in filing a claim.
We strongly recommend that you contact an elder law attorney such as those at Law Elder Law to determine if you qualify. An elder law attorney can assist you and your family by explaining many difficult-to-understand things about long term care. Qualification for a VA benefit is only one of several concerns that must be considered. As you struggle to provide dignified long term care for a wartime veteran and/or surviving spouse, we can help you understand the options. We are your advocates and we want to help you stretch your hard-earned dollars. VA benefits are only one part of the puzzle. We will hold your hand and guide you every step of the way as we consider all of your family’s resources and needs.
Rick L. Law, Attorney and Estate Planner for Retirees.
Rick was named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law Elder Law, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future. Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care. Appointments available in Chicago, Aurora, Oak Brook, Schaumburg, and Joliet. Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!
“You don’t have to leave your family a lot of money. You really don’t have to leave them anything.
Just don’t leave them a mess.
Law Hesselbaum has made sure we won’t leave our family with a mess.”
M. C., Client of Law Hesselbaum and Law Elder Law