The cost of caregiving services can easily exceed $70,000 per year. There is very limited government assistance to pay for caregiving in the home. The same is true for paying for the cost of retirement communities, board and care (residential care for the elderly or RCFE) or for Assisted Living Facilities. Most seniors cannot pay for the cost of this care solely from income, and so they must deplete their assets.
Qualifying for Veteran’s Aid and Attendance Benefits
One benefit that is available to pay for this type of care is Enhanced Pension Benefits, which is commonly called Aid and Attendance.
To qualify for the benefit, the senior must meet these conditions:
- He is she is an honorably discharged veteran who served during a time of war (or the widow(er) of a veteran). The veteran need only have been in the service during this period of time – he or she did not have to actually serve on the battle front. Times of war are:
- WWII – 12/7/1941 – 12/31/1946
- Korean War – 6/27/1950 – 1/31/1955
- Vietnam War – 8/5/1964 – 5/7/1975
- Gulf War / Iraq Conflict – 8/20/1990 to present
- The veteran must be paying for caregiving and medical services
- The veteran must meet certain income eligibility requirements
- The veteran cannot have countable resources over $80,000 (actual number decreases as the veteran grows older – typical 75 to 85 could not have more than $40,000 – $50,000 in available resources.
Exempt resources include a residence, one car, life insurance without a cash value, prepaid burial plans and personal jewelry, furniture, furnishings, and clothing. All other assets, such as savings accounts, money market accounts, certificates of deposit, IRAs and other retirement plans, annuities, vacation homes and rental properties are available resources.
Asset Preservation Planning to Qualify for Assistance
Asset preservation planning strategies are available that allow an otherwise qualifying veteran or widow to legally reduce his or her available resources. Call our office to schedule an appointment to learn more about asset preservation planning for government assistance.
The maximum monthly benefit in 2018 for a widow of a veteran is $1,176. The maximum monthly benefit for an unmarried veteran is $1,830. The maximum monthly benefit for a married couple where one spouse is a veteran is $2,169. The maximum monthly benefit for a married couple where both spouses are veterans is $2,903.
To qualify for the monthly benefit the veteran or widow must first meet all the other requirements. He or she must also be paying for caregiving or medical services in the home or residing in a board and care home or assisted living facility. To determine the amount of the benefit, the income of the veteran, or the couple if the veteran is married, is compared to the amount being paid for caregiving or medical services. For example, a married veteran might be paying $4,500 per month for assisted living. If the couple has income of $4,500 or less (meaning they are expending all their income on assisted living), the veteran will qualify for the maximum benefit of $2,169. If the couple has an income of $5,500 per month, this leaves an additional $1000 per month to pay for expenses other than assisted living. Because the couple has excess income, the maximum monthly benefit would be reduced to $1,169 ($2,169 – $1,000). Sometimes the monthly benefit can be increased by paying for such things as supplemental health insurance, dental insurance, or additional medical supplies.
Planning to qualify for Veteran’s Aid and Attendance benefits is not for the untrained. Our attorneys are accredited by the Veterans Administration to represent clients before the VA. There are many scam operators preying on vulnerable seniors, claiming they can qualify them for government assistance. Be sure you get your advice from an advisor accredited by the Veterans Administration and not by someone trying to sell you a financial product such as an annuity. Call our office today to schedule your appointment.
Contact a Veteran’s Aid and Attendance Attorney Today
If you, or a spouse, served your country, it is now time for your country to help take care of you. The benefits provided by Veteran’s Aid and Attendance can make a huge difference every month if you are living on a fixed income. Let our experienced and knowledgeable Southern California Veteran’s Aid and Attendance attorneys help ensure that you receive the benefits to which you are entitled. Contact us online or call our Riverside office at 951-888-1460 to schedule a consultation.
Visit One of Our Southern California Locations
With office locations throughout Southern California, Sandoval Legacy Group, a Division of Holstrom, Block & Parke, offers representation for Estate Planning, Special Needs Planning, Trust Administration, Probate, and Conservatorships in Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange, San Diego, and Los Angeles County.