During the month of November we honor our country’s veterans, and we express our gratitude to all those who have served and are serving so that we may live in a free country. In honor of Veterans Day, we would like to draw some attention to an often overlooked military benefit that is very relevant to those who are in the field of elder law: the Veterans Aid and Attendance Special Pension.
Long-term care expenses are very high, and these costs are continually rising. There is a gap in our system because Medicare will not pay for long-term care, even though most senior citizens eventually need living assistance.
When you compare the median retirement savings account to the typical cost for a stay in a nursing home, the numbers simply don’t add up.
Elder law attorneys help clients, including senior veterans, who are looking for solutions. For many, Medi-Cal will be the answer because this government program will pay for long-term care.
That is a topic for another blog post. In this post we would like to provide some specific information about the Veterans Aid and Attendance Special Pension.
This pension is potentially available to qualified veterans who need assistance with their activities of daily living. This can be aid that is provided in an assisted living community, or in the home of a veteran.
There is a military retirement pension that veterans earn after at least 20 years of service. You receive a percentage of your pay for the rest of your life. This percentage is based on the exact length of service and the pay grade that you had attained at the time of your retirement.
This special pension is something that exists separate from the retirement pension. You don’t have to serve 20 years to become eligible for the Veterans Aid and Attendance Special Pension.
To meet the length of service requirement, you must have served for at least one day while the country was at war. The total length of your service must have been at least 90 days.
Because the Veterans Aid and Attendance Special Pension is specifically designed to provide financial resources to help with living assistance, you have to be able to prove that you do in fact need help with your day-to-day needs.
This is a need-based program. As a result, you also have to be able to demonstrate financial need. However, it is possible to qualify for the Veterans Aid and Attendance Special Pension while retaining a significant store of assets. Your home and your vehicle do not count, and you can have some cash reserves as well.
It is also possible to give gifts to your loved ones before applying for the program to reduce your countable assets.
Veterans have paid a significant price to serve their country, and this benefit can certainly give many former service members a boost late in their lives.
We invite you to read our free report, Aid & Attendance: Special Care Pensions for Wartime Veterans, by following this link: Free Report.