Senior Living Care Blog

How to Qualify for VA Pension Benefits

Posted by Jackson Bentley on Jul 23, 2018 11:00:00 AM
 

There are a multitude of benefits available to elderly veterans who may need assistance from the VA. U.S. military veterans can qualify for vocational rehabilitation and employment, insurance, disability compensation, pension, education and training, home loans, burial, and health care benefits. These benefits are based on eligibility requirements such as income, disability status, and other requirements. The most common VA benefits for elderly veterans are Aid & Attendance and Housebound.

 

Veterans saluting in front of the american flag.

 

Aid & Attendance

Aid & Attendance applies for Veterans over the age of 65 that require assistance with activities of daily living such as dressing, eating, cleaning, or going to the bathroom. Veterans may receive Aid and Attendance benefits if they meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • They require help performing daily functions such as dressing, eating, or bathing, OR
  • They are confined to their bed, OR
  • They are a current patient in a nursing home, OR
  • Their eyesight is a 5/200 visual acuity score or less in both eyes

 

 

Housebound

Veterans may receive Housebound benefits if they meet the following criteria:

  • They are substantially confined to the immediate premises because of a permanent disability

 

 

VA Healthcare

The VA also provides health care to elderly veterans who have complex care needs. The VA’s long term care is a program for veterans of any age who need the daily support and assistance of a caretaker. This also includes geriatric care. Elderly veterans who qualify for long term care and geriatric care can utilize VA benefits at home, VA medical centers, and at senior community centers.

 

 

Eligibility Requirements

Veterans seeking qualification for VA pension benefits must have a total of at least 90 days active duty service, with at least one of those days during a wartime period. If your veteran entered active duty after the date of September 7th, 1980, then they need to have served for at least 24 months, or the minimum enlistment date they were required to complete active duty, with at least one of those days during a wartime period.

 

 

Veteran Definition:

  • Has served in the active military, navy, or air force
  • Was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable
  • Complies with the veteran status outlined under public law (PL) 95-202, (Pl) 106-259

 

 

Active Service Definition

  • Active Duty
  • Any period of active duty for training during which a person is disabled or dies from an injury or disease incurred or aggravated in the line of duty
  • Any period of active duty for training or inactive duty for training during which a person is disabled or dies from an injury incurred or aggravated in the line of duty or any of the following conditions
    • Acute myocardial infarction, OR
    • Cardiac arrest, OR
    • A cerebrovascular accident

 

To qualify for the Aid & Attendance and Household benefits, veterans must also meet at least one of the following requirements in addition to the minimum service requirements:

 

  • Veteran must be age 65 or older, OR
  • Veteran must be totally and permanently disabled, OR
  • Veteran must be a patient in a nursing home receiving skilled nursing care, OR
  • Veteran must be receiving Social Security Disability Insurance, OR
  • Veteran must be receiving Supplemental Security Income

 

 

Income Limits

In order to qualify for the above pension benefits, veterans must have a COUNTABLE income that is less than the maximum amounts outlined by Congress. This includes combined income with a spouse. Veterans are also only eligible to receive enough monetary benefits to meet the maximum amount. So for example, if a veteran qualifies for an annual pension payout of $20,000 and their combined income totals $10,000, then they only qualify to receive an additional $10,000 to meet the limit of the payout. Fortunately the VA allows veterans to deduct expenses and other income forms from countable income. Veterans should consult with financial professionals to ensure that they have deducted all possible expenses. Veterans should deduct all of their medical-related expenses for themselves and their spouses

 

Medical-related expenses include:

  • Skilled Nursing
  • Home Care
  • Medicare Premiums
  • Prescriptions not covered by insurance
  • Assisted Living
  • Adult Day Centers

 

Income that doesn’t count towards countable:

  • Income from Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Welfare benefits

 

 

2018 AID & ATTENDANCE INCOME LIMITS

Veteran Family Status Income Limit
Veteran with no dependents $21,962
Veteran with a spouse $26,036
Surviving spouse $14,133

 

 

Survivors Pension

The Survivors Pension benefits is VA pension that is sometimes referred to as the death pension. This VA pension is a tax-free monetary benefit paid to qualified, low-income, unmarried surviving spouses and/or unmarried children of a deceased veteran who has met the active service requirements outline above. The Survivors Pension benefit is also based on yearly family income, which must be lower than the amount Congress has outlined. A child of a deceased wartime veteran must be under 18 or permanently incapable of self-support due to a disability before the age of 18.

 

 

How to Apply for Veterans Pension Benefits

To apply, you can go online to the VA website and submit an online application. You can also download VA Form 21P-527EZ and mail the physically completed form to your local Pension Management Center. You can also visit your local regional benefits office to submit your application in person or ask any questions.

 

 

How to Apply for Survivors Pension Benefits

To apply, you can go online to the VA website and submit an online application. You can also download VA Form 21P - 534EZ, or search for the Application for DIC, Death Pension, and/or Accrued Benefits. You can complete and mail the physical form to your local Pension Management Center or visit your local regional benefits office to submit the application in person or ask any questions.

 

 

Next Steps

No matter where you are in life, Landmark Senior Living is here to make the process of growing older less worrisome and stressful. In the business of helping seniors for more than 30 years - our mission is to provide the best care in thriving communities that foster meaningful relationships for the rest of your life.

We care about those who served our country and those who continue to do so. That’s why we’re unveiling a new campaign to help senior veterans and their spouses unlock the benefits available to them through the Aid and Attendance Program offered by the VA. If you’re looking for assisted living benefits for Veterans, visit Landmark Senior Living in Fall River.

 

Learn More Here

 

Topics: Senior Veterans

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