Long-term care is a major elder law concern. About 70 percent of seniors will need help with their day-to-day needs, and more than one third will require nursing home care.
A year in a nursing home in the Charlotte, North Carolina area comes with a price tag of about $100,000, and the figure is $80,000 for Ashland, Kentucky. One year is the average length of stay, and of course, a married couple may receive two different sets of nursing home bills.
In-home care is another option for some senior citizens that need help with their activities of daily living, as is assisted living, but these are also quite expensive.
Fortunately, there is a veterans benefit that can provide a boost, and it is often overlooked.
Most people are aware that people who serve in the United States armed forces for a minimum of 20 years become eligible for a retirement pension. But there is another benefit that flies under the radar that is simply called the Veterans Pension.
It is available to veterans who are totally and permanently disabled along with those that are 65 years of age and older.
The length of service requirement is 90 days with at least one day during wartime for veterans who began active duty before September 8, 1980. There is a 24-month requirement for enlisted people who joined after this date.
Officers who started on active duty after October 16, 1981, can qualify as well.
The Veterans Pension is a need-based benefit so there is an asset limit. The current limit was put in place in 2018. Prior to that, decisions were made on a case-by-case basis. Until November 30, 2021, the asset limit is $130,773; it will be indexed for inflation after that date.
Your home is not a countable asset, and one motor vehicle is exempt.
You cannot give away assets today so you can qualify for the Veterans Pension next week. There is a three-year look back period so the administrators will check your financial records to look for recent divestitures.
If you violate this lookback rule and transfer assets at less than fair value during this interim, your eligibility would be delayed.
Current Benefit Rates
In addition to the standard Veterans Pension, there is a Housebound version of the benefit for veterans who are largely unable to leave their homes. There is also an Aid and Attendance designation for former service members who need substantial help with their activities of daily living.
The top rate for a single veteran who is eligible for the standard benefit is $13,931, and the figure is $17,024 for a Housebound eligible veteran. An Aid and Attendance recipient can receive a $23,238 maximum annual benefit.
For veterans who have a spouse or another dependent, the maximum standard benefit is $18,243. The number is $21,337 for Housebound, and the maximum Aid and Attendance benefit for a veteran with one dependent is $27,549.
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Need Help Now?
If you already know that it is time for you to work with an Ashland, Kentucky estate planning lawyer to put a plan in place, we are here to help. You can schedule a consultation if you call us at 606-324-5516 for our Ashland, KY office or 859-372-6655 for our Florence, Kentucky office.
Our locations in Charlotte, NC and Huntersville, NC can be reached at 704-944-3245, and you can use our contact form if you would like to send us a message.