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Suffolk County, NY Veterans' Benefits Blog

Monday, March 25, 2013

Aid and Attendance Pension

Question: My mother is recently widowed and is thinking of moving into an assisted living community.  My father was a Veteran who served during World War II.  I have heard that there may be funds available to assist her pay for her stay at assisted living, is this correct?

 

Answer: What you are likely referring to is the Aid and Attendance Pension.  The Aid and Attendance Pension is part of the Veteran’s Administration Improved Pension Program which currently consists of three tiers.  Aid and Attendance is the third tier of the program and it provides benefits for veterans and surviving spouses who require the regular attendance of another person to complete activities of daily living such as eating, bathing, dressing and cooking.   Care received in an assisted living qualifies as the level of care required to meet the criteria for the Aid and Attendance Pension.  While it is not necessary for you to require assistance with all of the activities listed, you will have to provide documentation from a physician that you cannot function completely on your own and that you require the aid and attendance of another person to care and protect you from the hazards and dangerous incidents of daily living.  Any war time veteran or his or her spouse is eligible for this benefit so long as the veteran served at least ninety (90) days of active duty, with at least one (1) of those days served during a war time period.  It is important to note that it is not necessary for the veteran to have served in the war, only that he was enlisted during wartime.  

 

Because Aid and Attendance is a needs based program, in order to qualify you must also meet certain financial criteria based on both assets and income.  For a veteran or his or her spouse to qualify he cannot have more than $80.000.00 in assets, this figure does not include the value of the veteran’s primary residence, vehicle or life insurance policies.  Please note that real property other than primary residence will be considered when calculating the $80,000.00.  With respect to income, while there is no set number, the veteran must be able to show that his “Countable Income” is less than the pension amount to be paid.  Countable Income is equal to the income that a Veteran or his spouse received each year after deducting all un-reimbursed recurring health expenses.  Un-reimbursed recurring health expenses can include the cost of  a stay in an Assisted Living, any amount paid for private health insurance premiums and premium for Medicare.  So for example, assume that a Veteran receives $28,800.00 in total income from a private pension and social security.  Now assume that the cost for him to stay in an assisted living is $20,000.00 annually, he also pays for his private health insurance at $1,800.00 per year and a Medicare premium of $1,500.00 per year.  Using these numbers, our veteran has total recurring medical expenses of $23,300.00 reducing his countable income to $5,500.00.  Subtracting his countable income from the $19,728.00 annual benefit, our veteran would be entitled to an annual Aid and Attendance Pension of $14,228.00, providing them with a monthly payment of $1,185.66.

 

In closing, these are valuable benefits that should not be overlooked.  Applying for and receiving these benefits can bridge the gap, and enable a veteran to either stay at home or in an assisted living of their choice when they may otherwise have not been able to. 

 

By: Nancy Burner, Esq. and Robin Burner Daleo, Esq.


Monday, March 25, 2013

Burial and Memorial

Veterans discharged from active duty under conditions other than dishonorable and servicemembers who die while on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training, as well as spouses and dependent children of Veterans and active duty servicemembers, may be eligible for VA burial and memorial benefits including burial in a national cemetery, a headstone to mark the grave of a Veteran interred in a private cemetery or a Presidential Memorial Certificate for loved ones. The Veteran does not have to die before a spouse or dependent child can be eligible.

Burial in VA National Cemeteries:   Burial in a VA national cemetery is available for eligible Veterans, their spouses and dependents at no cost to the family and includes the gravesite, grave-liner, opening and closing of the grave, a headstone or marker, and perpetual care as part of a national shrine

Burial Flags:  Generally, VA will furnish a U.S. burial flag to memorialize Veterans who received anything other than dishonorable discharge. Also eligible for a burial flag are Veterans who were entitled to retired pay for service in the Reserve or National Guard, or would have been entitled if over age 60; and members or former members of the Selected Reserve who served their initial obligation, or were discharged for a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty, or died while a member of the Selected Reserve.

Private Cemeteries: To submit a claim for a headstone, marker or medallion for use in a private cemetery, mail a completed VA Form 40-1330 Application for Standard Government Headstone or Marker (available at www.va.gov/vaforms/va/pdf/VA40-1330.pdf), and a copy of the Veteran's military discharge document to Memorial Programs Service (41A1), Department of Veterans Affairs, 5109 Russell Road., Quantico, VA 22134-3903.

Burial Allowance:   VA will pay a $300 burial and funeral allowance for Veterans who, at time of death, were entitled to receive pension or compensation or would have been entitled if they were not receiving military retirement pay.

Military Funeral Honors:   Upon request, DoD will provide military funeral honors consisting of folding and the presenting of the United States flag and the playing of "Taps." A funeral honors detail consists of two or more uniformed members of the armed forces, with at least one member from the deceased's branch of service.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Veterans' Benefits Overview

There are currently over 25 million Veterans, and 9 million surviving spouses of Veterans living in the United States.  Many of these Veteran’s are in need of long term care now or in the near future.  Each year millions of dollars in funding goes unused because seniors are unaware of the benefits that are available to them through the Federal Veterans Administration. 

 

There are three types of Pension available which provide a monthly cash payment to veterans who have long term health care needs.  The Service Pension provides a monthly cash payment to veterans who meet certain active duty discharge requirements, who are either over 65 and disabled and who have limited income and assets, the disability does not need to be service connected. In addition there is a Housebound Allowance is a pension with a slightly higher monthly payment than the unrated Pension and is available to Veteran’s and surviving spouses who are confined to their home for medical reasons. 

 

Lastly, Aid and Attendance provides benefits for veterans or their surviving spouses who require the regular attendance of another person to complete activities of daily living such as eating, bathing, dressing and cooking.  This Pension provides the highest monthly benefit.  Care received in an assisted living qualifies as the level of care required to meet the criteria for the Aid and Attendance Pension.  While it is not necessary that the individual applying require assistance with all of the activities listed, he or she will have to provide documentation from a physician that they cannot function completely on their own and therefore, require the aid and attendance of another person to care and protect them from the hazards and dangerous incidents of daily living.  Any war time veteran or his or her spouse is eligible for this benefit so long as the veteran served at least ninety (90) days of active duty before 1980, with at least one (1) of those days served during a declared period of war, or 24 months of continuous duty after 1980, with at least one day served during wartime. 

 

Because Aid and Attendance is a needs based program, in order to qualify the applicant must also meet certain financial criteria based upon both assets and income.  A married Veteran and spouse should have no more than $80,000.00 in resources; however this is simply a guideline and not resource limit set by the Veteran’s Administration.  The VA will consider the applicants net worth, life expectancy, income and medical expenses to determine eligibility.  The applicant’s un reimbursed medical expenses can reduce his countable income dollar for dollar, qualifying him for benefits.  If a Veteran is deceased his spouse is eligible for Aid and Attendance. 

 

In closing, these are valuable benefits that should not be overlooked.  However, it is important that planning be done is such a way that it does not disqualify the applicant from Medicaid in the future.  Applying for and receiving these benefits can bridge the gap, and enable a veteran to either stay at home or in an assisted living of their choice when they may otherwise have not been able to. 

 

By: Nancy Burner, Esq. and Robin Daleo, Esq.




Burner Law Group, P.C. has offices in Setauket & Westhampton Beach, New York and serves clients throughout Long Island, Nassau County, Suffolk County, and the Hamptons, including Port Jefferson, Centerreach, Saint James, Mount Sinai, Lake Grove, Smithtown, Coram, Farmingville and Nesconset.

Please also visit burnerlaw.com for all your estate planning and elder law needs.



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12 Research Way, East Setauket, NY 11733
| Phone: 631-941-3434
82 Main St., Westhampton Beach, NY 11978
| Phone: 631-288-5612

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