Benefits for Our Wartime Heroes

By Barbara Coenson
Attorney at Law

In our country, we salute wartime heroes, pay tribute to those who served, remember those who have fallen in defense of our freedoms, and take care of those injured in the course of battle. We also help many of our wartime heroes pay for their medical care costs with a veterans benefit called Aid and Attendance.

Aid and Attendance is a pension for wartime veterans who have served our country for a minimum of 90 consecutive days, at least one of those days during wartime, but not necessarily in combat. Surviving spouses who were married to the veteran at the time of his or her death are also eligible to receive this pension.

The Aid and Attendance benefit helps many veterans pay for out-of-pocket medical care such as medications, health insurance co-payments, in-home care, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes. With proper legal and financial planning, the benefit can be used for medical care that ordinarily would deplete the assets of the veteran or surviving spouse.

Aid and Attendance provides a monthly check up to $2,019 for married veterans, $1,703 for single veterans, and $1,094 for surviving spouses of wartime veterans. Once the pension is awarded, a veteran may also receive free medications, medical equipment and supplies, eyeglasses, and hearing aids from a Veterans Administration healthcare facility.

Qualification for the Aid and Attendance pension is based on the veteran’s household income and assets. A veteran whose out-of-pocket medical care expenses exceed or come close to the veteran’s gross income will likely be eligible. The total value of assets a veteran can own and still qualify for the pension is dependent upon the veteran’s life expectancy.

Ted Johnson, an 88-year-old World War II veteran, could no longer live alone and had to move into an assisted living facility. The cost of the facility was $4,000 per month while Ted‘s income was only $3,500 per month. Since Ted’s out-of-pocket medical care expenses of $4,000 exceeded his gross income, Ted was able to qualify for the Aid and Attendance pension of $1,703 per month to help pay the cost of the facility.

Aid and Attendance is not the only benefit available to veterans. The Veterans Administration offers many different types of compensation, pensions, and benefits to veterans and their families. For example, compensation is available for veterans who sustained disability during service even if such disability is diagnosed several years after a veteran retires from the military.

Samuel Post, a 90-year-old World War II veteran recently received service-connected disability pay because he lost his hearing. Samuel’s deafness was related to his service during the war as a gunnery sergeant. Therefore, he was eligible to receive compensation.

Aid and Attendance is a valuable benefit available to our veterans. If you know a veteran in need of help to pay medical care costs, be sure to tell them about this benefit.

Lake Mary Life May/June 2012

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