Americans who serve in the United States Armed Forces make sacrifices for the common good, and they are often asked to complete very difficult tasks. In return, they receive some valuable benefits that can set a service member up for a comfortable retirement.
One of them is the retirement pension that veterans can receive after a minimum of 20 years of service. The amount of the payout increases if you stay in longer than 20 years, so an individual could stay in the service until he or she is eligible to collect Social Security.
They would then receive two different streams of income during retirement along with Medicare and military health care benefits. Another possibility would be to retire from the military after 20 years and then get a job in the civilian world. This would also lead to a comfortable retirement.
Special Pension for Wartime Veterans
There is another veterans pension that flies under the radar, and you do not have to serve for a particularly long period of time to qualify. This pension is available to veterans that have served for a minimum of 90 days with at least one day of wartime service.
The pension is only available to people that are 65 years of age and older and younger veterans that have disabilities. It is intended for people who have a certain level of financial need so there is net worth limit that stands at $129,094 in 2020.
It should be noted that your home is generaally not considered to be a countable asset, and a motor vehicle is exempt. Household items and personal effects are not counted either so there is some latitude.
Up until a couple of years ago, you could just give away assets to loved ones to qualify for this benefit. This is no longer possible because there is a three-year look back period. If you give gifts within three years of your application submission, it will be denied.
The maximum annual benefit for a single veteran is $13,752 this year. There are two other categories that increase the amount of the benefit. If you are disabled and housebound, you could get the housebound addition to the improved pension which would bring the maximum benefit up to $16,805.
You would have to prove that you do in fact need help with your activities of daily living. If you qualify for Aid and Attendance, you could receive as much as $22,939 a year.
For married people, the max benefit is $18,008 for the core veteran special pension. The figure for housebound benefit recipients is $21,063, and Aid and Attendance recipients can get up to $27,195 annually.
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If you would like to discuss your estate planning needs with our Charlotte, North Carolina estate planning attorney, we can be reached by phone at 704-944-3245 (Charlotte, NC and Huntersville, NC). The number in Kentucky is 606-324-5516 (Ashland, KY) or 859-372-6655 (Florence, KY), and there is a contact form on this website you can use to send us a message.