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Pension raise possible for widow needing long-term care

By George Compton
Saturday, June 28, 2008

Q. My mother is the widow of a veteran and has been receiving about $625 a month in widow's pension from the VA, and she needs to go into long-term care. She will probably need an increase in her income. Will the VA help?

A. We basically have two options. Needing long-term care means we need to have her evaluated for aid and attendance. With aid and attendance, her pension will increase to about $1,000 a month. Knowing the cost of long-term care and the fact that she does not have much income, the cost might still be out of her reach.

If that is the case she needs to apply for Medi-Cal. The VA will not continue to provide her current pension under Medi-Cal, but there is another pension that provides an unmarried veteran or the widow of a veteran in long-term care $90 a month that is exempt from share-of-cost under Medi-Cal.

Q. I am rated by the VA 40 percent disabled and my wife is going to have a baby. I am receiving compensation as married with one dependent. How will this affect my compensation?

A. Provide this office with a birth certificate and the baby's Social Security number and we will provide that data to the VA to add your child to your award.

At 40 percent you should be receiving $568 a month. With the addition of a child that number will be $610 a month.

The increase with the addition of a child is greater as the percentage of disability increases. This number changes every December with a cost-of-living adjustment.

Q. In a recent column you discussed Combat Related Special Compensation being available for medical retired veterans. Based on that I applied for the compensation and I have never heard anything from my branch. Did I do something wrong?

A. The services received implementation from the Defense Department earlier this month and have now started working on those claims. You should hear something soon.

— George Compton, retired Army colonel, is the veterans service officer for the County of Ventura, Human Services Agency. Send your questions to Veterans Service Office, 1701 Pacific Ave., Suite 110, Oxnard, CA 93033; phone number: 385-6366; fax: 385-6371; or e-mail:

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