Veterans Aid Benefits
There are special pension benefits available to help veterans and widows of veterans pay for their medical care. Qualification for benefits is subject to income and net worth limits that must not be exceeded. For purposes of this discussion, the person applying for benefits shall be called the claimant.
Asset/Income Limits and Benefits
A veteran or the widow of a veteran may qualify for a special pension. The veteran can, also qualify for medical supplies and medicines if the service and financial qualifications are met. These amounts may change each year based on cost of living.
A&A Rules for Qualification
There are two qualification levels. The first level is the hardest to meet because it is fact based. The claimant must satisfy all of the qualifications. There are not actions the claimant can take that will help them qualify. The second level is different. The claimant may be able to make changes that would allow the claimant to qualify, such as gifting away assets, reducing income, increasing medical expenses, etc.
The first level of Qualifications for the Veteran or the Widow(er) is
1. The veteran must have served 90 consecutive days on active military duty.
2. The veteran must have received a better than dishonorable discharge.
3. The veteran must have served at least one day of active duty during a war period (there is no requirement that any service be performed in a combat zone).
4. The widow must not have divorced the veteran or remarried after the veterans death.
5. The claimant must be certified by a doctor as needing assistance with their daily living activities.
The second level of qualification for the claimant (actions which can be done to change the claimants situation that will allow qualification)
1. The household cannot have more than the Allowable countable assets (approximately $80,000 but subject to the discretion of the VA adjudicator).
2. The adjusted household Income must be less than the A&A Pension Benefit (adjusted household income is 105% of the gross household income less all unreimbursed recurring medical expenses).
In order to qualify for VA aid and attendance (A&A) benefits, the unreimbursed gross income and the net worth must be below the threshold limits. With proper planning, the Veteran or the veterans widow can qualify for A&A pension moneys and other assistance while preserving some of the household assets. This will aid the family in paying for medical care and postpone the depletion of the claimants assets. The goal is to stretch the claimants assets so the claimant can postpone the need to rely upon Medicaid for their care.
If this is an area that you feel might apply to you or your family and you are interested in learning more about how to qualify for these benefits, contact an estate planning attorney.