Elder Law: VA Pension Planning

As VA accredited attorneys, we represent Veterans and the surviving spouses of Veterans to ensure they are receiving the maximum award amount under the Veterans Affairs Non Service Connected Pension program.  Any Veteran, or a surviving spouse of a Veteran, who served active duty at least 90 days, including at least one day during wartime, is potentially eligible for benefits.  The eligibility dates are below:

Periods of War

  • WWII: December 7, 1941 – December 31, 1946
  • Korean Conflict: June 27, 1950 – January 31, 1955
  • Vietnam Conflict: February 28, 1961 – May 7, 1975 for Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period; otherwise August 5, 1964 – May 7, 1975
  • Gulf War: August 2, 1990 through the present

It is not required that the Veteran served in combat or served in a combat zone. The benefit is not dependent upon service related injury for compensation.

The purpose of the pension, which is oftentimes also called the “Aid and Attendance Pension,” is to assist Veterans and their surviving spouses with paying out-of-pocket medical expenses.

Requirements

Besides the military service requirement, there are three other substantial eligibility requirements.  First, the Veteran or surviving spouse needs to meet a medical need test.  The VA requires the pension applicant to be

  • Blind; or
  • Living in a nursing home (assisted living); or
  • Having issues with 2 out of the 6 activities of daily living; or
  • Have a physical or mental incapacity (such as Alzheimer’s) that requires assistance on a regular basis to protect the applicant from daily environmental hazards.

Second, there is an income test.  This test starts by combining all monthly income brought into the home, and then subtracts certain recurring, unreimbursed medical expenses. Typical medical expenses include your part B premium, part D premium, Medicare supplement premium, assisted living bill, or skilled nursing care bill.

Lastly, there is an asset test.  Currently, the VA reviews assets on a case by case basis.  Oftentimes, Pearson Bollman Law can make planning recommendations based on your income and assets in order to meet these VA requirements.  Further, with proper VA Pension planning, we can ensure you qualify for the greatest pension amount possible.

Contact Pearson Bollman Law to find out how you can best plan for the VA benefits to which you are entitled.