As elder law attorneys, we educate people about the benefits that may be available to them. With this in mind, there is one way that veterans can get a boost during their senior years in addition to the retirement pension that longtime veterans receive after at least 20 years of service.
Before we look at the benefit in question, we should briefly touch upon the way that the retirement pension can pave the way toward a comfortable period of rest and relaxation.
Clearly, if you join up while you are a young adult, you could simply stay in the service throughout your working career. After 40 years of service, your pension would be equal to your full pay at the time of your retirement.
You could add this to your Social Security benefit and live well as you cross things off your bucket list during your senior years. Another option would be to serve for 20 years, start to receive a partial pension, and embark on a career in the private sector. By the time you retire from that position, you would be in a similarly advantageous position.
Now, we will move on to an explanation of the Veterans Pension that is intended to serve as supplemental income for wartime veterans. This is a benefit that sits completely apart from the retirement pension, and you don’t have to serve for 20 years to meet the eligibility requirement.
If you have served for at least 90 days on active duty, with a minimum of one of these days taking place during a time of war, you would qualify as far as length of service goes. This benefit is available to wartime veterans that fit into at least one of these categories:
- 65 Years of Age or Older
- Totally and Permanently Disabled
- Nursing Home Patients
- Supplemental Security Income Recipients
- Social Security Disability Insurance Recipients
This benefit is intended for veterans that have financial need so there are income and asset limits. They used to make determinations on a case-by-case basis, but now, there is a firm net worth limit. At the time of this writing in 2019, it stands at $127,061, but your home (on a lot of up to two acres in size), your vehicle, and your personal belongings are not counted.
Aid and Attendance
Veterans who qualify for the standard Retirement Pension and require assistance with their day-to-day needs can get an additional boost through the Aid and Attendance allowance. People who are housebound may be eligible for more money as well. It should be noted that the surviving spouse of an eligible veteran could potentially take advantage of this benefit.
If you are in a position where you cannot qualify because you have too many countable assets, you could consider giving resources to your loved ones before you submit your application. This was easily done until recently, but now, there is a 36 month look back period.
You have to complete all gift giving at least three years before you apply for this benefit. This is why careful planning is key, and an attorney from our firm can help you devise the ideal strategy.
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