Veteran’s Benefits – Possibly the Best Unknown Thank You
Available For Our Service Men and Women and their Spouses
Are you a Veteran? Are you the widow or widower of a Veteran? If not, more than likely you know a Veteran or Widow(er) of a Veteran. In Indiana alone we have over 550,000 surviving Veterans.
Most Veterans are not receiving Veteran’s Benefits. Many are not even aware that there are benefits that could help them as they age and their needs increase. Aid and Attendance benefits may be available when a Veteran or widow(er) of a Veteran requires the aid of another person in order to perform personal functions required in everyday living, such as bathing, feeding, dressing, attending to the wants of nature, adjusting prosthetic devices, or protecting himself/herself from the hazards of his/her daily environment. Commonly known to many as Aid and Attendance Benefits can make the difference in a Veteran’s ability to stay home with care or have options or choice in their assisted living. Aid and Attendance may also be available if the individual is bedridden, blind or in a nursing home. Additionally, there is a slightly lesser benefit for those merely housebound due to their single home confining disability or multiple significant disabilities.
How much money are we talking about? The monthly tax-free benefits range from $1,056 for a widow(er) of a Veteran, $1,644 for a Veteran, and $1,949 for a Veteran and spouse or dependent child.
Eligibility for benefits hinges on whether:
First, you were discharged from service under conditions other than dishonorable
Second, you served at least 90 days of active military service (the period is 24 months for those entering active duty after September 7, 1980) and 1 day of such service was during a war time period. Note, there is no requirement that you fought in combat, that you were ever injured, or that you even left stateside.
World War I. April 6, 1917, through November 11, 1918, inclusive. If the veteran served with the United States military forces in Russia, the ending date is April 1, 1920. Service after November 11, 1918 and before July 2, 1921 is considered World War I service if the veteran served in the active military, naval, or air service after April 5, 1917 and before November 12, 1918.
World War II. December 7, 1941, through December 31, 1946, inclusive. If the veteran was in service on December 31, 1946, continuous service before July 26, 1947, is considered World War II service.
Korean conflict. June 27, 1950, through January 31, 1955, inclusive.
Vietnam era. The period beginning on February 28, 1961, and ending on May 7, 1975, inclusive, in the case of a veteran who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period. The period beginning on August 5, 1964, and ending on May 7, 1975, inclusive, in all other cases. (Authority: 38 U.S.C. 101(29))
Future dates. The period beginning on the date of any future declaration of war by the Congress and ending on a date prescribed by Presidential proclamation or concurrent resolution of the Congress. (Authority: 38 U.S.C. 101)
Mexican border period. May 9, 1916, through April 5, 1917, in the case of a veteran who during such period served in Mexico, on the borders thereof, or in the waters adjacent thereto. (Authority: 38 U.S.C. 101(30))
Persian Gulf War. August 2, 1990, through date to be prescribed by Presidential proclamation or law. (Authority: 38 U.S.C. 101(33))
Third, your countable family income is below a yearly limit set by law. Countable income for Aid and Attendance benefits is after subtracting any and all medical expenses, including but not limited to caregivers, even child caregivers, and supervised or assisted living arrangements. Many Veterans applying before a supported need may be told that they make too much money or have too much income. This is not a permanent determination as the countable income changes with ongoing medical expenses and need.
Fourth, you are age 65 or older or you are permanently and totally disabled, not due to your own willful misconduct.
Finally, net worth is also reviewed to determine if your assets will sustain your need. Unlike Medicaid and other governmental needs-based programs, the Veterans Administration currently does not penalize any transfers of assets. The average threshold for net worth is in the $50,000 to $80,000 range, but needs to be individually determined as the amount of permissible assets will vary greatly between a 65 year old and a 95 year old.
Veterans Benefits are the most widely-supported government benefit. It is a small thank you to the commitment you made to keep our Country safe. If you are a Veteran, widow or widower of a Veteran, or know a Veteran, who would benefit from the Aid and Attendance Benefits, please have them contact an Accredited Veterans Benefit Representative. You can find these individuals and more information about the Veterans benefits at www.va.gov or by contacting our office at Stevens & Associates, PC 3755 E. 82nd Street, Suite 200, Indianapolis, IN 46240 Tele: 317.915.9900.