As elder law attorneys, we advise clients that have concerns about legal and financial matters that may confront them during their senior years. Without question, the most pressing issue that people face is the matter of living assistance and the costs that go along with it.
The problem stems from the fact that Medicare does not pay for in-home custodial care or a stay in a nursing home or assisted living community. Since almost all elders in America rely on Medicare for their health insurance, this is a very significant gap in the coverage
Most Seniors Will Need Living Assistance
According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, seven out of every 10 seniors will eventually need help with their activities of daily living. Many folks that are in this position can receive the level of care that they need in their own homes.
However, they need the assistance of home health aides. These professionals are very expensive, so any financial help that is available would certainly be welcome.
Veterans Pension With Aid and Attendance Designation
People that serve in the military for at least 20 years are entitled to a retirement pension, but there is another pension that flies under the radar. Veterans that are 65 years of age and older can qualify for a benefit that is simply called the Veterans Pension if they served during wartime.
The minimum time of services just 90 days with at least one of those days taking place when the country was at war. In addition to the time of service requirement, an applicant must prove that they have a certain level of financial need.
There is an asset limit of $129,094 in 2020. Until a new law was passed a few years ago, there was no hard asset limit; decisions were made on a case-by-case basis.
If you own a home that is on up to two acres of land, it would not be counted when your eligibility status is being determined by the Veterans Administration. Other non-countable assets include personal effects, household items like furniture, and family transportation vehicles.
The standard Veterans Pension is potentially available to former service members that are not disabled in any way. There is also a Veterans Pension with an Aid and Attendance designation for vets that can prove that they need help with their day-to-day needs.
Someone that qualifies for the standard benefit can receive up to $13,752 a year. For Aid and Attendance eligible veterans, the figure goes up to $22,939. If the veteran in question has a dependent spouse or child, the max annual Aid and Attendance benefit is $27,195.
36 Month Look Back Period
When the law was passed that set the hard asset limit, another provision was included. In the past, a veteran could give away assets to develop the financial profile that would lead to eligibility for the Veterans Pension. There were no restrictions, so you could give away assets today and apply for the benefit next week.
Now, there is a 36 month look back period. All divestitures must be completed at least 36 months before you submit your application for the Veterans Pension.
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