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Financial Benefits for Veterans and Spouses

If you are a veteran, or if you are caring for one, it is essential to understand the many veterans’ benefits programs available through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Often, financial support is available to a veterans spouse or their survivors as well as the veteran themselves. Even if there has never been a claim made for veteran benefits before based on a veteran’s current age, physical condition, or low income they may now qualify for financial help.

Even if you or the veteran you are caring for qualify for Medicare there can be advantages to choosing VA care for healthcare coverage. For example, Medicare does not cover physical exams and other preventative care, dental care, long-term in-home care or long-term nursing home residential care. The costs of VA co-pays and deductibles are generally lower than Medicare, and that includes prescription drugs. Some veterans can qualify for both Medicare and VA health coverage which can in some circumstances be extended to family members as well.

Many financial benefits available through the VA are offered through “service-connected disabilities.” These disabilities can include physical, mental, or emotional conditions which limit or preclude a veteran from performing various everyday activities deemed normal. A veteran does not have to have become disabled while in the military to qualify for these benefits. Service-connected disabilities can begin during military service and only start to show as the veteran ages. The vital point to understand is the disabling condition was caused during or aggravated by the veteran’s military service.

The condition that becomes disabling later in life can make a veteran eligible for a monthly disability compensation payment. When the VA reviews an applicant’s request for compensation, it will assign a rating to the disabling condition beginning at 10 percent or more. The rating is in 10 percent increments. The lowest rating at 10 percent in 2018 pays $117 per month while the highest rating at 100 percent pays $2,527 a month. Veterans who are housebound or require “aid and attendance” (regular in-home care) can receive an even higher monthly amount. Older veterans with a 30 percent or higher rating can have their spouse qualify for additional monthly benefits as well.

The VA can also help veterans with service-connected disabilities by supplying loans or grants to modify a home, whether it is the veteran’s home or the home of a family member where the veteran lives, through the Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grants program. Special car modifications are available through a similar program. The VA also offers several types of loans and loan guarantees to aid veterans in the purchase of or refinancing of a home, townhome, or condominium.

If a veteran (65 or older) has a low income, has had 90 or more active days of military service, and at least one of those days during a period of war (World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War and the Persian Gulf War) they qualify for a VA pension even if the veteran was not in combat. If a wartime veteran or surviving spouse requires care on a regular basis then a tax free cash benefit can is available if they meet specific financial and medical requirements. This benefit can be used to pay in home care, even performed by family members, as well as assisted living and long term care.

The content of this blog is for informational and educational purposes only and is not guaranteed to be correct, complete, current or representative of your geographic area. The above is not intended to be a solicitation for service  or legal advice and Rouse and Rouse, PLLC makes no warranty, expressed or implied, about the accuracy or reliability of the information in this blog, this website or in any linked website. A viewer of this content should not act or refrain from acting without seeking appropriate legal advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from an attorney licensed in the viewer’s state.

Since joining the practice as a partner in 2016, Jonathan Rouse has expanded the scope of Rouse & Rouse to offer Elder Law services including Medicaid, Special Needs and Veteran’s Benefits planning. The inclusion of these services has allowed him to draw not only on his legal experience and education, but also on his previous experiences as a social worker. As part of his dedication to working with seniors and their families, he works directly with his clients to learn not only about their concerns that bring them to his office, but also their personal and family experiences. This holistic understanding of clients and their families is key to providing complete and integrated legal services that address both the immediate and future needs of his clients.

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