VA Benefits

VA Benefits

As one of three administrations within VA, the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), in partnership with the Veterans Health Administration and the National Cemetery Administration, provides benefits and services to Service members, Veterans, and their families in recognition of their service to the Nation. Benefits include subsidies for low income and housing support.

Recent Answers

Senior Advisor

When it comes to the government, nothing is quick.  Unless they want your money, right!  So the big question… How long does this process take?  Many of my clients have submitted their applications and the results are all mixed.  I can say that having an experienced person review it for accuracy... (more)

When it comes to the government, nothing is quick.  Unless they want your money, right!  So the big question… How long does this process take?  Many of my clients have submitted their applications and the results are all mixed.  I can say that having an experienced person review it for accuracy before submitting the forms, it will most likely go through without question.  The process could still take 4-6 months and as much as 9 months depending on which processing center handled the claim and the backlog they have.  

Families and loved ones will have to discuss how services will be paid for during this lengthy process.  One good thing to know is that all benefits are retro-dated back to the original filing date.  There are companies out there that will contractually do the application process and front you the money during this process as long as you work through them.  This has some good and bad points.  Beware.  They do take part of the benefits ($$$) once approved.  This will leave the person needing the service with less money which equals less hours with professional care. 

Suppose the applicant is age 90 or older and time is critical?   

You should request the application process be expedited. When submitting your application, include a letter stating the applicant is 90 or over and request the process be expedited and given a priority. 

How about if a family member has to help fill out these forms?  

Include VA form 21-0845 (Authorization to Disclose Personal Information to a Third Party)   The VA will not discuss the application with anyone without it.

How is countable income determined?

Answer: Gross Income - Unreimbursed Medical Expenses - Standard VA deduction = Countable Income.

Gross Income = Residence, vehicle, life insurance doesn’t count. Assets owned by the spouse do count.

Unreimbursed Medical Expenses = Only medical expenses that are paid out-of-pocket

Standard VA deduction = The VA subtracts a standard amount from each eligible applicant's countable income.  The amount subtracted from the monthly countable income depends on who is applying for Aid and Attendance benefits:

 $49.33 per month for an unmarried Aid and Attendance eligible veteran

$64.58 per month for a married Aid and Attendance eligible veteran

$33.08 per month for a surviving (widowed) spouse eligible for Aid and Attendance

Keep in mind we are dealing with the government... these numbers could change.  


We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and relevant information to senior citizens and their families and... (more)We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and relevant information to senior citizens and their families and loved ones. The material provided through our site is made available for informational purposes only. In no way should users of our site rely or act upon any information provided herein without seeking appropriate professional advice (medical, legal or financial). Users should independently verify the accuracy, completeness and relevance for their specific purposes. The information provided through our site is not intended to constitute professional advice and in no way forms or constitutes a professional-client relationship of any kind.

Senior Advisor

Have you looked at a government website lately?  Wow, are they hard to navigate.  If you don’t know exactly what you are looking for, you’re going to have a hard time finding it.  Calling the government and finding answers is even harder.  As a veteran, I find this very frustrating.   I’m going to... (more)

Have you looked at a government website lately?  Wow, are they hard to navigate.  If you don’t know exactly what you are looking for, you’re going to have a hard time finding it.  Calling the government and finding answers is even harder.  As a veteran, I find this very frustrating.  

I’m going to do my best to help you understand the ins and outs of applying for the VA Aid and Attendance and Housebound Pension Plan.

Applying for the Aid & Attendance and Housebound Pension can be a huge undertaking. Here is a definition from the VA Government website: 

“Veterans and survivors who are eligible for a VA pension and require the aid and attendance of another person, or are housebound, may be eligible for additional monetary payment. These benefits are paid in addition to monthly pension, and they are not paid without eligibility to Pension.”

“Since Aid and Attendance and Housebound allowances increase the pension amount, people who are not eligible for a basic pension due to excessive income may be eligible for pension at these increased rates. A Veteran or surviving spouse may not receive Aid and Attendance benefits and Housebound benefits at the same time.”

My recommendation is to familiarize yourself with the VA website first before you contact your VA regional office and collect the following documents. 

Discharge/Separation Papers (DD-214). If you need to request a copy, you can either fill out an SF 180  or, you can visit http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/  and follow the instructions on the website. (Keep in mind when you are filling out this form…  Requesting a DD-214 takes approximately two weeks.  If you also check the “medical records” box it could take months to locate.  They will not send you anything until they have everything.  You don’t need medical records to apply, just a copy of your military records (DD-214)

Copy of Marriage Certificate and all marital information.  

Copy of the Death Certificate (only if you are a surviving spouse of an eligible VET).  

Copy of current Social Security Benefit Award Letter. (You can request this from a local office or it can be requested online).

Applicant’s net worth, this includes bank accounts, CDs, Trusts, Stocks, Bonds, Annuities, etc.  

Insurance premiums, medications, medical bills or any other non-reimbursable medical expenses. 

Physician orders that includes sufficient detail to determine whether there is disease or injury producing physical or mental impairment, loss of coordination, or conditions affecting the ability to dress and undress, to feed oneself, to attend to sanitary needs, and to keep oneself ordinarily clean and presentable.  Whether the claim is for Aid and Attendance or Housebound, the report should indicate how well the applicant gets around, where the applicant goes, and what he or she is able to do during a typical day. In addition, it is necessary to determine whether the claimant is confined to the home or immediate premises.

Banking information for Direct Deposit of Aid and Attendance monthly payments (include a voided check). 

Now that you have collected all the documents you are ready to complete the VA Form 21-526   (Use this form if you currently have a disability that is the result of an injury, disease, or an event in military service) and/or VA  Form 21-534  (Use this form if your applying for VA benefits you may be entitled to receive as a surviving spouse or child of a deceased veteran)

The instructions for these forms are right on the form.  These links also take you to a fillable form that can be filled out online and saved.  

Always verify the correct mailing address, as this could delay benefits.  

Always mail your application certified so you can track it and avoid the potential of the VA stating that the application was not received. 

Always keep a copy of everything and never mail the originals unless they specifically request something.   Then ask if a certified copy would work?

Hope this helps!


We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and relevant information to senior citizens and their families and... (more)We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and relevant information to senior citizens and their families and loved ones. The material provided through our site is made available for informational purposes only. In no way should users of our site rely or act upon any information provided herein without seeking appropriate professional advice (medical, legal or financial). Users should independently verify the accuracy, completeness and relevance for their specific purposes. The information provided through our site is not intended to constitute professional advice and in no way forms or constitutes a professional-client relationship of any kind.

Senior Advisor

To be eligible for the VA's Aid and Attendance Benefit program you must meet certain parameters.  You must have served 90 days of active duty, 1 day beginning or ending during the following Wartime Periods... Under current law, VA recognizes the following wartime periods to determine eligibility for... (more)

To be eligible for the VA's Aid and Attendance Benefit program you must meet certain parameters.  You must have served 90 days of active duty, 1 day beginning or ending during the following Wartime Periods...

Under current law, VA recognizes the following wartime periods to determine eligibility for VA Pension benefits: 

  • Mexican Border Period (May 9, 1916 – April 5, 1917 for Veterans who served in Mexico, on its borders, or adjacent waters) 
  • World War I (April 6, 1917 – November 11, 1918) 
  • World War II (December 7, 1941 – December 31, 1946) 
  • Korean conflict (June 27, 1950 – January 31, 1955) 
  • Vietnam era (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 a future date to be set by law or Presidential Proclamation)
Other parameters are financial and the type care that is needed. If your father is eligible for these benefits, he can use these funds to offset the cost for the care at home. Let me know if you have questions about applying. This can seem difficult, but it's manageable if you follow the steps.  
We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and relevant information to senior citizens and their families and... (more)We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and relevant information to senior citizens and their families and loved ones. The material provided through our site is made available for informational purposes only. In no way should users of our site rely or act upon any information provided herein without seeking appropriate professional advice (medical, legal or financial). Users should independently verify the accuracy, completeness and relevance for their specific purposes. The information provided through our site is not intended to constitute professional advice and in no way forms or constitutes a professional-client relationship of any kind.

Private Fiduciary, Trustee,Conservator, Financial Advisor

Contact the local VA and make an appointment with a Veteran's Service Officer for more.

We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and relevant information to senior citizens and their families and... (more)We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and relevant information to senior citizens and their families and loved ones. The material provided through our site is made available for informational purposes only. In no way should users of our site rely or act upon any information provided herein without seeking appropriate professional advice (medical, legal or financial). Users should independently verify the accuracy, completeness and relevance for their specific purposes. The information provided through our site is not intended to constitute professional advice and in no way forms or constitutes a professional-client relationship of any kind.

Senior Specialist

Assisted living facilities can get quite expensive especially if you are need of special services like Alzheimer care. Costs can range from $2,000 a month to $10,000 a month depending on location and services. Since you are needing to find a facility in California, the state does have a program... (more)

Assisted living facilities can get quite expensive especially if you are need of special services like Alzheimer care. Costs can range from $2,000 a month to $10,000 a month depending on location and services. Since you are needing to find a facility in California, the state does have a program called Assisted Living Waiver program which assists those seniors with disabilities and provides them with a subsidy to help defer some of the monthly costs. Please be aware that the assisted living facility also needs be an accepted participant of the program. You can read more about the program here:

http://www.dhcs.ca.gov/services/ltc/Pages/AssistedLivingWaiver.aspx 

There are also benefits that the VA provides as noted in Scot's response. Some other alternatives include: reverse mortgage and long term care benefit plans. It is best to connect with a financial adviser who specializes in senior care options.

I hope this helps and let us know if you have any more questions.

Admond

We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and relevant information to senior citizens and their families and... (more)We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and relevant information to senior citizens and their families and loved ones. The material provided through our site is made available for informational purposes only. In no way should users of our site rely or act upon any information provided herein without seeking appropriate professional advice (medical, legal or financial). Users should independently verify the accuracy, completeness and relevance for their specific purposes. The information provided through our site is not intended to constitute professional advice and in no way forms or constitutes a professional-client relationship of any kind.

Private Fiduciary, Trustee,Conservator, Financial Advisor

In some states, you can be paid by Medicaid to provide home care services.  Also, you can be paid by Long Term Care insurance as long as you qualify as a Home Health Aide.  Check with your area agency on aging on Medicaid home care waiver programs.

We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and relevant information to senior citizens and their families and... (more)We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and relevant information to senior citizens and their families and loved ones. The material provided through our site is made available for informational purposes only. In no way should users of our site rely or act upon any information provided herein without seeking appropriate professional advice (medical, legal or financial). Users should independently verify the accuracy, completeness and relevance for their specific purposes. The information provided through our site is not intended to constitute professional advice and in no way forms or constitutes a professional-client relationship of any kind.

Senior Advisor

The answer is not so much a yes or no.  It might be a strong maybe.  There are several ways to get paid as a caregiver. Let me list a few and go into some of them for you... State run programs  Long term care insurance VA Benefits (Aid and Attendance) Drawing up a personal care agreement (Caregiver... (more)

The answer is not so much a yes or no.  It might be a strong maybe.  There are several ways to get paid as a caregiver. Let me list a few and go into some of them for you...

State run programs 

Long term care insurance

VA Benefits (Aid and Attendance)

Drawing up a personal care agreement (Caregiver contracts)

Life settlements

Reverse mortgage

Dependent tax exemptions

State Run Programs - In some states, they have programs that help financially crunched people pay for a caregiver.  In certain circumstances that could even be a family member.  Sometimes these programs have restrictions, waiting lists and remember that this is the government, so funding comes and goes.  To see availability and to see if you might qualify, visit your local Medicaid or aging services department.  In Las Vegas your aging services department can be found at   http://adsd.nv.gov/

LTC Insurance - If your parents a have a policy, contact the company and see how to initiate the policy.

VA Benefits - Please visit one of my articles that I previously wrote about this.   http://caregivinganswers.com/questions/how-do-i-qualify-my-dad-for-va-benefits-and-what-are-those-criterias

Drawing up a personal care agreement (Caregiver contracts) - If your parents have some savings or other assets set aside, they may be willing to work out a caregiver contract to help pay for things.  Please consult with a lawyer to make sure that the contract meets all the right conditions.  You don't want that to come back and haunt you.

Life Settlements - If your parents have a life insurance policy, a portion of it could be used to pay for care.   For more information on items like this visit    http://www.lifecarefunding.com/

Reverse Mortgage - Self explanatory?  If not, visit our icon to better understand.  http://caregivinganswers.com/topics/reverse-mortgage

Dependent tax exemptions - If all fails... and this isn't going to help with money coming in, but look to add your parents on as dependents.

As you can see there are options out there.  Whether or not you qualify for them... is another thing.  

Hope this helps!  

We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and relevant information to senior citizens and their families and... (more)We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and relevant information to senior citizens and their families and loved ones. The material provided through our site is made available for informational purposes only. In no way should users of our site rely or act upon any information provided herein without seeking appropriate professional advice (medical, legal or financial). Users should independently verify the accuracy, completeness and relevance for their specific purposes. The information provided through our site is not intended to constitute professional advice and in no way forms or constitutes a professional-client relationship of any kind.