VA Pension Planning in West Des Moines
Committed to Serving Our Veterans in Cedar Rapids, Bettendorf, Dubuque, Okoboji and Throughout Iowa
Assisted living and assistance at home can be incredibly expensive. For veterans who served during wartime, the VA has created a pension program to help offset this cost.
Our VA-accredited attorneys represent veterans, the surviving spouses of veterans, and their families to ensure they are receiving the maximum award amount under the Veterans Affairs Non-Service Connected Pension program. The purpose of the pension, which is oftentimes also called the “Aid and Attendance Pension,” is to assist veterans and their surviving spouses with paying out-of-pocket expenses related to assistance at home or in a facility.
A veteran, or the surviving spouse of a veteran, who served active duty at least 90 days, including at least one day during wartime, is potentially eligible for this benefit. The eligibility dates are below:
Periods of War
- WWII: December 7, 1941 – December 31, 1946
- Korean Conflict: June 27, 1950 – January 31, 1955
- Vietnam Conflict: 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 the present
It is not required that the veteran served in combat or served in a combat zone. The benefit is not dependent upon service-related injury for compensation. Besides the military service requirement, there are two other substantial eligibility requirements related to their medical needs and finances.
First, the veteran or surviving spouse needs to meet a medical need test.
The VA requires the pension applicant to be:
- Blind; or
- Living in a nursing home or assisted living facility; or
- Having issues with 2 out of the 6 activities of daily living; or
- Have a physical or mental incapacity (such as Alzheimer’s) that requires assistance on a regular basis to protect the applicant from daily environmental hazards.
Second, the veteran or their surviving spouse must meet a financial means test. To determine qualification for Aid and Attendance benefits the VA applies a formula to the applicant’s income and assets. The VA first calculates the applicant’s net monthly income, which subtracts certain qualified expenses related to medical care and assistance from all sources of regular income. Next, the applicants net monthly income is added to their non-exempt assets. Exempt assets include an applicant’s home, one vehicle, personal property, prepaid funeral planning and some other minor resources. All other assets including bank accounts, retirement accounts, life insurance that has a cash value and other liquid assets are non-exempt. To qualify for benefits, the applicant’s net income and non-exempt assets cannot exceed $129,094.00. This total number changes annually.
If a veteran or the surviving spouse of the veteran has assets in excess of this amount, there are planning options available to help make it easier for the potential applicant to qualify for benefits when the time comes.
Our experienced attorneys can help veterans and their families prepare to qualify for these benefits, which can be a tremendous blessing to families with loved ones in assisted living.
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