The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has a little known tax free pension available to help qualified veterans, spouses and their surviving spouses pay for home health care, assisted living or nursing home care. This non-service connected pension was established in 1952 under Title 38 U.S.C. and has two components, Aid and Attendance and House-bound Benefits. Last year, an estimated 1.9 million veterans qualified for it, but did not know about it or did not know how to file a well-documented claim. With 60 percent of the seniors in the United States being veterans or spouses of veterans, this pension can be a life line to allow them to age with dignity and peace of mind, all the while affording them to receive the care they need and deserve.
What does this mean to you, the average Veteran or Veteran’s surviving spouse?
With this pension in hand, you are better able to afford the care you need. Secondly, you have a choice. You have the power to select the services you need as well as the provider that meets those needs. Thirdly, the pension is dependable. Like Social Security, the pension will always be available for qualified beneficiaries and is paid directly to you by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The benefit amounts for 2014 are $2,085 for a married veteran, $1,758 for a single veteran and $1,130 for a surviving spouse of a veteran. This is a tax-free benefit paid directly to the veteran or surviving spouse.
The application process can be daunting. Understanding the requirements and filling out the necessary paperwork is not an easy task. It is highly recommended that you seek assistance when beginning this process. You can always contact your local Veterans Service Officer (VSO) or enlist the help of a local volunteer veteran advocate such as Mike Read with U.S. Senior Vets.
When choosing an advocate, make sure of a few things in mind. First make sure they do not charge any fees (which means no consulting fees, pre-filing fees or anything of the sort). It is not only immoral, but also illegal. Secondly, make sure it is someone you can talk to or better yet, meet in person. The process is hard enough but dealing with someone from out of town or another time zone can just add to the frustration. Lastly, make sure they know what they are doing. Ask for references, find out how long they have been doing this and how many veterans they have helped successfully.
U.S. Senior Vets is a National 501C-3 non-profit and can be contacted via the website, www.usseniorvets.com, or toll free at 877-245-Vets (8387). Read is the local volunteer veteran advocate for U.S. Senior Vets serving the Coachella Valley and greater Southern California. He can be reached directly at his Palm Desert Office at 760-776-5457 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(NOTE: This article was taken from the Veteran’s Easy Access Program Alliance newsletter dated January 2014 as submitted by U.S. Senior Vets)