For those that have served: Thank you for your service

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November is Veterans and Military Families Month – See How VA Programs Can Help Those Families

The first Veteran’s day was declared on November 11, 1919 by President Woodrow Wilson.  This date is significant because it marked the one-year anniversary of the end of World War I and it was originally known as Armistice Day.  It soon became known as Veterans Day and is now a federal holiday in which we honor and thank all the men and women who have served in the different branches of the U.S. military.

Celebrating Veterans Day and Military Families Month

If you have family members who served in the U.S. military, regardless of when and where they served, let them know that you appreciate their service.  There are several ways you can celebrate Veterans Day with your veteran relatives to show them love and gratitude for their service and acknowledge their contributions.  Afterall, we have the veterans to thank for the freedoms that we enjoy in our country.

Parades and Events

Veterans Day is no longer just one day.  President Trump signed a proclamation that declares the entire month of November as Veterans and Military Families Month.  Check for parades and other events honoring veterans in your local area and attend these events with your veteran relatives.

Talk About Their Service

Veterans who are proud of their service love to talk about their time in the military with their loved ones.  This may be the best way to celebrate Veterans Day as it gives your relatives the opportunity to reminisce and your interest shows them that you truly care about and appreciate their service.  Break the ice by asking general questions and allow your loved ones to take the lead.  The more they start talking about their experience, the more stories will come to them.

The willingness to talk about military experiences may depend on the individual.  If your loved one suffers from PTSD or would rather not talk about their experiences, do not force them.  Just let them know that you appreciate their service and the sacrifices they have made.

Veterans Administration (VA) Aid and Attendance Program

As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of Veterans Day in 2019, we would like to express gratitude to our country’s veterans and let them know that Assisting Hands Richmond is here to help and the VA Aid and Attendance Program can help veterans pay for home care.

The Aid and Attendance program is offered to veterans (and their spouses) through the VA and those who qualify could get pension benefits of more than $2,230 each month to help pay for  home care and assistance.  Veterans and their surviving spouses, and surviving spouses of a veteran who has passed, are eligible for this pension that can be used to cover the cost of care and assistance for activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, dressing, eating, toileting, ambulation, and medication management.

VA Benefits

It is important to know that the Aid and Attendance benefits are commonly referred to by other terms such as “VA assisted living benefit,” “veterans elder care benefits,” or “improved pension.”  If you encounter any of these terms, they are referring to the Aid and Attendance benefit which is an added benefit to the basic VA pension.  Below you will find further details about the Aid and Attendance benefit, including the requirements, benefit amounts, limits, and how to apply for these benefits.

What are Veteran’s Pensions?

Veteran’s pensions are forms of aid offered by the VA to help veterans pay for the cost of home health care.  The pension can be used to pay for home caregivers, assisted living facilities, skilled nursing, and adult daycare.  VA pensions are offered in three different levels:

  • Basic Pension/ Improved Income: This pension is for veterans over the age of 65 who do not receive care but have low incomes.
  • Aid & Attendance (A&A): This pension is for veterans over the age of 65 who struggle with their activities of daily living and require care.
  • Housebound: This pension is for veterans with a 100% disability rating who cannot leave their homes, and their disability does not have to be related to their military services.

Both the Aid and Attendance and Housebound pensions are designed to provide income in addition to the basic pension for those who need care.  Veterans must qualify for the basic pension first to be eligible for either the Housebound or Aid and Attendance benefits.

What are the Eligibility Requirements for Aid and Attendance?

There are a number of basic non-financial qualifications and financial requirements that veterans and their spouses must meet to qualify for Aid and Attendance pensions.

Non-Financial Qualifications

  • Age: Veterans and their surviving spouses generally must be 65 years of age or older. Veterans under 65 may qualify if they are officially disabled.
  • Period of military service: Veterans can only qualify if they are “wartime veterans.” This means that they had to have served at least 90 days in the military and 1 day during wartime.  The following are the qualifying wartime dates, though a veteran did not have to be in combat to qualify:
    • World War II: Dec 7, 1941 – Dec 31, 1946
    • Korean War: June 27, 1950 – Jan 31, 1955
    • Vietnam War: Aug 5, 1964 – May 7, 1975 or Feb 28, 1961 – May 7, 1975 for veterans who served in Vietnam
    • Gulf War: Aug 2, 1990 – Undetermined
  • Discharge status: Veterans who were dishonorably discharged cannot qualify.
  • Disability status: Veterans do not have to be disabled to qualify for Basic Pension, but only disabled veterans can qualify for Aid and Attendance and Housebound pensions. The disability does not have to be related to their military service.
  • Marriage rules: A surviving spouse of a veteran can qualify if they were living with their spouse at the time of death and they are single when they apply. 

Financial Requirements

When veterans apply for the Aid and Attendance pension, they must meet income and asset limits set by the VA.

Income Limits

The following are the annual income limits for those applying for Aid and Attendance:

  • Veteran with no dependents: $22,577
  • Veteran with a spouse or child: $26,766 (this is the limit if the spouse is not a veteran, and $2,313 can be added for each additional child)
  • Surviving spouse: $14,509 (if the spouse is not a veteran)

Click here for more details on annual income limits

Asset Limits

When veterans apply for Aid and Attendance benefits, the VA takes their overall net worth into account which includes annual income and assets.  The assets the VA considers include bank accounts, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and owned properties.  The veteran’s home, vehicles, and personal belongings are not included as assets.  The VA implemented a net worth limit of $123,600 for single and married applicants on October 18, 2018.  This means that the annual income of the applying veteran, after deducting the medical expenses as explained above, in addition to the value of their assets, must total less than $123,600.

Click here for more details on asset limits

Aid and Attendance Pension Payments

The pension can then be used by the recipient to cover the cost of home care, skilled nursing, assisted loving, adult daycare services, home modifications for those who are disabled, and anything else that benefits the veteran or the surviving spouse.

Retroactive Benefits

Those who are eligible for the Aid and Attendance pension may also qualify for retroactive benefits up to one year prior to receiving their first Aid and Attendance payment.  The veteran must have already been granted the basic pension and prove their expenses on medical care for the previous year to show that they needed assistance for everyday care before receiving the Aid and Attendance pension.

Application Process

The application process for Aid and Attendance pension can take 9-12 months, however the team at Assisting Hands Richmond can help you through the process and if we determine you will qualify for  the VA Aid and Attendance Benefit we can start care immediately with no risk to the client.  In other words if the VA ultimately does not approve the client for VA Aid and Attendance benefit then the client will not owe Assisting Hands anything for the care that had already been provided.  This means Assisting Hands Richmond could start providing care as soon as 1 week from starting the process.

Aid and Attendance Benefits Assistance from Assisting Hands Richmond

At Assisting Hands Home Care Richmond, we will help veterans apply for their Aid and Attendance benefits, develop a comprehensive plan of care and match the veteran with one of our quality Caregivers, all for absolutely free.  Once care has started the Assisting Hands team will continue to work with the veteran to ensure that the plan of care is being followed and make any adjustments that may be required.  All of our Caregivers are certified, trained, background checked, bonded and insured

Assisting Hands Richmond wants to thank all the veterans and their families who have served our country.  We appreciate all that you have done and recognize that we live in an incredible country because of your service and sacrifices.

You can reach Assisting Hands Richmond by calling (804) 500-9787 to set up a free in-home consultation concerning your eligibility for Aid and Attendance benefits.


Are You Eligible to Receive up to $2,200 per month via a VA Benefit to help offset the cost of your care services?
Download this form and one of our representatives will contact you to discuss the VA Benefit and your eligibility for it.

VA Benefits

 


The joint, countable income of veterans and their spouses must be lower than the pension amount they are eligible for.  For instance, married veterans who have a countable income of $10,000 are eligible to receive an additional $16,766, bringing their total yearly pension to $26,766.  Under VA rules, applicants can also deduct certain expenses and forms of income from their “countable income,” allowing them to qualify for a higher Aid and Attendance pension.

Veterans can deduct all unreimbursed medical related expenses from their yearly income including expenses for home health care, skilled nursing, assisted living, adult daycare centers, insurance premiums, and medications not covered by insurance.  Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and welfare benefits are not included as countable income. 

The deductions must also be greater than the 5% Maximum Annual Pension Rate (MAPR).  For instance, a married couple with an annual income of $30,000 applies for Aid and Attendance and 5% of the MAPR is $1,assistinghands.com/338/va-benefits-planning/income-calculation.html”>guide from the VA gives a thorough explanation of how income is calculated by the VA.


On the same date that the hard net worth limit was established, the VA formed a “look back” rule.  Under this rule, the VA can look back at past asset transfers of the applicant for the previous 3 years to determine if the applicant transferred or sold any assets for less than the market value.  If this is the case, the VA can determine that the assets were transferred to meet the net worth limit and an applicant may be ineligible for the Aid and Attendance pension for up to 5 years.  If transfers were made before October 18, 2018, or if the veterans never had a net worth above $123,600, than the transfers do not violate this rule.

 

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