Veterans & Surviving Spouses

July 14, 2016 | Funding Resources

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR VETERANS AND SURVIVING SPOUSES

Ask an elderly Veteran if they are aware they may be eligible for a pension from the Veteran’s Administration and they will tell you “I’m not eligible because I was not injured in the war.”  This is a common misconception, which keeps many Veterans from tapping into a benefit they earned by serving our country.

The fact is; elderly, disabled Veterans and their surviving spouses may qualify for a large sum of money from the government. The catch is, they have to apply for the funds.  There are several Veteran pensions, but the pension designed to help the elderly Veterans and widows pay for costly home health care, assisted living care or skilled nursing care is called Non-Service Connected Pension with Aid & Attendance allowance. The pension can pay a married veteran up to $1,949 per month, and a widow $1055 per month. The amount one receives depends upon whether or not they are married, how much their medical expenses may be and their current financial and medical status. The pension is paid by check directly to the Veteran or widow every month as they meet the criteria.

The Aid & Attendance pension is the government’s best-kept secret. I cannot tell you how many seniors have told me that they called the VA office and were actually told that this pension does not exist or that they do not qualify.

To get the maximum pension amount, a veteran must qualify medically and financially and must have served their country for at least 90-days with one day being during a war period and have an honorable discharge. Every case is considered individually. Most often, the pension can take many months to actually be approved. The average waiting period is three to eight months. Quite often, this pension money can mean the difference between affording adequate care of an aging veteran and having no care at all.

As with any governmental program, success is all in the paper work. The pension application is 14 pages long and some of it is in essay form.  It is the exact wording used in the essay areas that mean the difference between approval and denial. The VA office does not inform applicants about all of the supporting documents that they need to use. The better the medical and financial records, the better the chance of approval. One the application is filed and in the process of being reviewed, it is nearly impossible to get an update or check on the status of the application.

The Aid & Attendance criteria for 2014 is:

  • Veteran served in military for 90 days with at least one day being during War Time or had a spouse who served. Spouses are those whom you never divorced.
  • Honorably Discharged from the Military.
  • Currently has a medical or psychological condition which make the veteran or surviving spouse dependent on the aid or assistance of a non-family member in order to meet their daily care needs, or they reside in an assisted living facility or a skilled nursing home.

Article submitted by Erika LaPean of Veterans Benefits, Inc. (262) 670-8888