The time came when my parents could no longer live independently and needed to move into an assisted living community. Even though many of my relatives had served in the military I was not aware of a benefit that would help pay for long term care for Veterans, their sick and surviving spouses. I became an accredited attorney with the Veteran’s Administration so I could obtain this benefit for my parents. In the process of helping my parents and their friends, I discovered that I really like helping Veterans get additional funds to pay for long term care. I decided to focus my law practice on elder law and obtaining government benefits such as Medicaid and VA benefits. The VA program I am referring to is called the Aid & Attendance benefit. The Veteran’s Administration refers to it as a Special Monthly Pension. This is to be distinguished from the Special Monthly Compensation which is a benefit for Veterans and their families available when the Veteran was injured while serving in the military. A Veteran is eligible for the Aid & Attendance benefit when he/she served 90 days of active duty with one day during a period of declared war. The Veteran must be 65 years of age or older or totally or permanently disabled. This is a program designed to assist Veterans with paying for large medical expenses such as assisted living care and more. There are income, asset and health requirements. However, there is so much misinformation that circulates regarding this program. So many Veterans believe they won’t qualify because they have too much income or too many assets. Even if you have been denied benefits in the past you may now be eligible. The analysis is complicated, and I would encourage you to consult with a professional who can perform a specific and detailed eligibility analysis for you. If you are not eligible right now you may be eligible in the future and that would be good for you and your family to know. (Professionals who handle these claims must be accredited with the Veterans Administration). The average cost of an assisted living community in Central Texas is about $5500.00 per month per person. Memory care can be even more expensive. At those prices personal resources are quickly exhausted. The VA Aid & Attendance benefit can provide about $2200.00 per month for a married Veteran and a bit less for single Veteran and a surviving spouse. Although it does not cover the cost of the community it can help you stretch your personal resources much farther. This benefit was a great help to my family in paying for long term care for my mother. It is a benefit the Veteran has earned by risking his/her life in defense of our country. Please don’t assume you are not eligible. Instead consult a professional to determine your eligibility. This is our way of saying thank you to all of you who risked your lives for our country.
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