People that serve in the United States military make enormous sacrifices to serve our country, and their families make profound concessions as well. It is a very difficult job, but veterans do have the opportunity to take advantage of some excellent benefit programs.
One of them is the veterans retirement pension that service members become eligible for when they have served for at least 20 years. The rules are rather complicated, because different parameters apply depending on the date of enlistment.
Suffice to say that if you retire from the military, the amount of your benefit would be based on your pay grade along with your total length of service.
Most people are aware of this retirement pension, but there is another one called the Veterans Aid and Attendance special pension. This is an underutilized benefit, because many people do not know that it exists, but it can be quite useful for former service members that require long-term care.
One of the reasons why a lot of people are unaware of this benefit is because the length of service requirement is surprisingly modest. If you have served for a minimum of 90 days, with one or more of these days starting or ending during a time of war, you meet the requirement.
This benefit is intended for people with limited monetary resources. As a result, there is an asset limit that has traditionally been $80,000 as a general rule of thumb, but cases have been decided on an individual basis. Now, there is a set limit on assets and income that stands at $126,420.
Medicaid is a jointly administered federal/state government health insurance program for financially needy people. There is a look back period that applies to Medicaid eligibility to stop people from essentially taking advantage of the system by giving away assets right before the they apply for coverage.
The Medicaid look back period in the state of Ohio where we practice law is five years. Over recent years, some lawmakers have proposed the installation of a look back period for the Veterans A & A pension as well. This has now been adopted, but the look back provision goes back three years rather than five.
If you would like to dig deeper into the subject, the Office of the Federal Register has published all the details about the new rules that were put into place in September of 2018.
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You should certainly have a meaningful discussion with an elder law attorney if you have not considered the matter of long-term care, whether you are a veteran or not. Nearly four out of every 10 seniors will someday reside in nursing homes, and they are very expensive.
Medicare does not pay for the custodial care that nursing homes provide, but Medicaid will pick up the tab. If you take the right steps at the right times, you can divest yourself of assets in the ideal manner so that you can be prepared to handle long-term care costs if they become a factor for you and your family.
We are here to help if you would like to get all the facts. You can schedule a consultation right now if you give us a call at 513-721-1513, and our toll-free number is 866-799-4050. There is also a contact form on this website that you can use to send us a message.