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Veterans and Widows Pension with Aid & Attendance

This month’s article will cover Veterans and Widow’s Pension and the Aid & Attendance and Housebound benefit that is secondary to this benefit.  Veterans Pension is a cash benefit paid to wartime veterans who have limited or no income and who are age 65 or older, or, if under 65, who are permanently and totally disabled.  Veterans who are more seriously disabled may qualify for Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits.  These are benefits that are paid in addition to the basic pension rates.  The requirements for this benefit includes having at least 90 days of active military service one day of which was during a war time period and have a discharge under honorable conditions. The veteran does not have to be in the war but only served during the war time period. 

This benefit is income based and is offset by any other form of income.  Income may be offset by medical expenses.  The most common uses for this benefit include those veterans who have a non-service connected disability that renders them 100% disabled.  This could be anything from a stroke to a vehicle accident.  One of the most popular uses for this benefit is helping war-time veterans and their widows who end up in an assisted living facility due to health conditions that render them unable to care for themselves and live on their own.  When a veteran enters an assisted living facility that provides some health care services, the monthly charge for this facility may be used as an offset for their income and thus make the veteran or the widow eligible for the Aid & Attendance part of this benefit. 

An example of this would be that a World War II veteran develops dementia and cannot live on his or her own.  The cost of the facility is $3500.00 a month.  The veteran’s income is $3500.00 a month in retirement and social security.  The veteran’s administration could consider the monthly charge from the assisted living facility a medical expense thus offsetting the income to zero.  The veteran may then be eligible for the full pension with aid and attendance benefit of $1704.00 a month tax free to help them live and pay their bills.  A married veteran and spouse whose income is totally offset by medical expenses is eligible for up to $2020.00 a month, tax free.  There is also a net worth cap that is $80,000.00 in liquid assets, not including primary residence and autos.  A widow of a wartime veteran who falls under the aforementioned circumstances may also apply for Widows Pension with Aid & Attendance and if they qualify could receive up to $1139.00 a month for this benefit.  Again, all the income from any sources must be offset by the medical expenses and the liquid assets must be lower than $80,000.00. If income is not totally offset, the benefit is pro-rated.

Other medical expenses may also offset income.  These include medications, in home support and care, co-pays and other allowable expenses too many to mention here.  Our advice to you if you feel that you or your family members may be eligible is to contact our office and have us mail you a package that you may fill out and bring to our office. One agency in Solano County that can help you with finding facilities that will qualify for this benefit is “Helping Hands Senior Resources” in Vacaville.  They are located at 313 Kendal Street, Suite A, Vacaville, CA 95688.  Melanie Richardson is a great resource to get the care you need for these disabled veterans.  Her number is 707-451-8742.  Helping Hands works closely with us to get these benefits to our deserving veterans.  Please call us or come in and we can advise you and file a claim for this benefit if you qualify. 

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