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Veterans Benefit Planning

Our veterans are a special part of our country's history. Over the years these courageous men and women have been the heart and soul of our nation. Our veterans led the original American Revolution, defended the homeland during multiple World Wars and the Korean crisis, led a difficult task in Vietnam and also defended freedom in the Middle East. As a country, we've usually honored our veterans and established a network of veterans' benefits to support them after their years of service.

Veterans' benefits are traditionally divided into service-connected benefits and non-service connected benefits. Service-connected benefits are directly related to the activities of the veteran during their years of service. These benefits include health benefits, disability benefits and other compensation benefits derived from the veteran's time in service. Non-service connected benefits are benefits earned by the veteran, but are not necessarily aligned with their individual time in the armed services.

One of the most underutilized non-service connected benefits is the VA Aid and Attendance program, which is also commonly known as VA Pension. This veteran benefit provides a long-term care component for qualifying veterans. It is designed to help an aging veteran stay at home for as long as possible, while meeting their long-term care needs. Unfortunately, this benefit is not as well known as it should be, and many veteran families are unaware of the benefit.



Qualification for VA Aid and Attendance

VA Aid and Attendance (VA A&A) is a benefit specifically designed for veterans who served during a defined war time period. Veterans need to have served at least one day during one of these war time periods:
  • World War I (generally deceased at this point)
  • World War II - 12/7/41 to 12/31/46
  • Korean War - 6/27/50 to 1/31/55
  • Vietnam Conflict - 8/5/64 to 5/7/75
  • Gulf War - 8/2/90 through today
This qualification requirement is one of the most defined criteria for this benefit. Additionally, qualification criteria include an assessment of the veteran's health status, a measure of their income levels compared to their unreimbursed medical expenses and a determination of their asset levels. ‚ÄčThis benefit is also available to the surviving spouse of the veteran with related qualification criteria. We encourage friends and family to contact our office at 913-345-2323 to see if their loved one, who served in the military during war time, can qualify for VA Aid and Attendance. An individual's financial status will have a significant impact on the amount of benefit they could qualify for in the future.


Benefits of VA Aid and Attendance

As mentioned, VA Aid and Attendance is designed to help a veteran, or a veteran's surviving spouse, stay at home as long as possible with their care needs being met. Every year the VA updates the benefit rate available to the veteran and/or veteran family, and this tax-free benefit will pay the veteran on a monthly basis once they are qualified.

The following are the example benefit levels for 2016:

  • Veteran with one dependent (spouse) can receive up to $2,121/month
  • Veteran (single) can receive up to $1,789/month
  • Surviving spouse of a veteran can receive up to $1,149/month
These benefits can change from year to year, and there are also benefit levels below these rates. The actual amount of the benefit will be determined by the VA with their qualification process, and we will estimate this benefit amount as part of our engagement with the client.

Another key part of this benefit is there is no "payback" requirement with the benefit. The veteran earned this benefit with their years of service, so whatever is paid out to the veteran, or their surviving family, is not recoverable after the death of the veteran. Although this benefit will not pay as high a level as a full Medicaid rate, this benefit can be very significant to the veteran's family as they age. More importantly, we work with the veteran's family to further restructure their assets to protect them for the future.

The Bell Law Firm Process with Veterans

First, we welcome the privilege to work with veteran clients. As an accredited VA attorney, we want to be sure this VA benefit is fully integrated with other alternatives for providing long-term care for a client. Many times a veteran family will have a combination of long-term care insurance, veterans' benefits and their own assets structured in a way to best protect their assets. Our first goal is to help these VA families become aware of the availability of VA Aid and Attendance.

We work directly with veteran families to assist in the qualification for VA Aid and Attendance, and we work to structure their assets for maximum asset protection during their senior years. These long-term care plans are customized for the specific needs of the veteran family. We encourage you to have your loved one who served during wartime visit with us to ensure they are fully utilizing the benefits earned in service to their country.

Give us a call today to discuss your unique situation at 913-345-2323. We will be more than happy to assist you and schedule a "no-cost" consultation with an attorney.


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