On this Memorial Day, it is appropriate to remember the ultimate sacrifices made by those who served our country. We should take time to reflect and pay honor to the fallen men and women who so nobly served. Their sacrifices changed the lives of those who loved them forever.
For many veterans in Connecticut, the rising cost of assisted living or home health care can be staggering. It never ceases to amaze us when we talk to the families of veterans, how little they understand about the VA’s benefit programs that are available to those honorably discharged veterans who are over 65 and are struggling with the cost of their care.
If you or a member of your family is an honorable discharged veteran who served at least one day during a period of wartime (the definition of “wartime” may be broader than you think), and if you are in an assisted living facility, or are spending several hundred dollars a month or more on the cost of your health care, then you may qualify for benefits under the VA Aid and Attendance Pension Program.
The VA has very specific rules regarding this benefit for veterans and the spouses of deceased veterans. The veteran does not have to be injured or retired from the military, but he did have to serve at least one day of active military duty during war time. The timeframes are as follows:
World War II – December 7, 1941-December 31, 1946. Extended to July 25, 1947 if the Veteran was in service on December 31, 1946. Continuous service before July 26, 1947 is considered World War II service.
Korean War – June 27, 1950-January 31, 1955.
Vietnam Era – August 5, 1964-May 7, 1975 and from February 28, 1961-May 7, 1975 in the case of a Veteran who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period.
Persian Gulf – August 2, 1980-yet to be determined.
A Veteran with war-time service or a widow(er) of a Veteran may be eligible to receive financial assistance to help pay for health care costs at home, in an assisted living facility, or in a nursing home.
There are also asset and income restrictions on Aid Attendance.
If the veteran or spouse is over the income limit for qualifying for Aid & Attendance, a qualified elder law attorney can show you ways to protect your assets so that you can quality for Aid & Attendance.
A customized plan can be developed to preserve assets for you and your family. Applications that involve asset transfers in order to qualify should not be attempted without the help of a qualified professional. A comprehensive plan that considers the effect of all public benefits, including Veteran’s Benefits and Medicaid, as well as a clear understanding of the tax consequences is critical.