Elder law attorneys help clients address the legal and financial challenges that they may face during their golden years and twilight years that will follow. Without question, long-term care is the most pressing matter that we address on a day-to-day basis.
Just over half of senior citizens will need some type of paid care eventually, and 52 percent of these individuals will require care for over a year. Professional in-home care is very expensive, and you can expect to pay over $100,000 for a year in a Los Angeles area nursing home.
Medicare does not cover for the custodial care that many seniors require, so you have to look elsewhere for financial assistance. If you are a veteran, you may qualify for an often overlooked benefit that will help defray these costs.
Veterans Aid and Attendance Pension
You may be aware of the fact that veterans that serve for at least 20 years are entitled to a retirement pension. However, there is another pension called the Aid and Attendance pension for wartime veterans that need help with their activities of daily living.
The length of service requirement is much less stringent. If you served for at least 90 days with at least one of those days beginning or ending when the United States was at war, you meet the requirement if you entered active duty before September 7, 1980.
For people that joined after this date, the length of service cutoff is 24 months. If a veteran’s entire tour of active duty was less than 24 months, they could qualify.
This benefit is intended to assist veterans that have some degree of financial need, so there is a net worth limit. Until November 30th of 2021, the net worth limit is $130,773. This is a combination of the assets and annual income.
When you are calculating the value of your resources, there are some things that do not count.
Your primary place of residence is not a countable asset, and you can gain eligibility if you have a motor vehicle. Appliances and anything else that you would not take with you if you moved are non-countable assets.
Prior to October of 2018, a veteran could simply transfer assets to someone else in an effort to create a financial profile that will lead to eligibility for this pension. However, at that time, a piece of legislation was passed that implemented a look-back period.
You are penalized and your eligibility is delayed if you give away assets with three years of the submission of your application. Your eligibility is delayed by one month for every $2295 that you transfer within this three year period.
2021 Veterans Aid and Attendance Pension Rates
A single veteran that qualifies for this pension can receive a maximum benefit of $23,238 a month. For a veteran with a spouse or another dependent, the maximum monthly benefit is $27,549 a year.
If you are married to a veteran and you qualify for this benefit and your spouse does not, the maximum benefit is the same as the payout for a single person. For married veterans that are both qualified, the benefit can be as high as $36,861.
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