Veteran's Aid and Attendance

Monday, July 22, 2019

Veterans: What You Need to Know About Aid and Attendance Benefits


What are the requirements to receive aid and attendance benefits?

Veterans have risked their lives to help protect our country. As veterans age, they, like all of us, may require some assistance. In an effort to ensure our valued veterans are provided for in their time of need, the government has created several benefit programs available solely to veterans.  One program is known as Aid and Attendance benefits. Aid and Attendance offers eligible veterans funds to pay for the aid of another person.
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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Estate Planning Tips for Veterans


How do I apply for the Veterans Aid and Attendance Pension?

Veterans risk their lives to protect and defend our nation.  In exchange for their service, all veterans should be cared for in their old age.  In furtherance of this goal, the Veterans Aid and Attendance (A&A) pension was created to provide benefits that will assist veterans and surviving spouses in paying for the care they need.  California veterans should contact a


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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Happy Veterans Day!

Veteran's Day

What better way to honor a Veteran’s service than by ensuring that the Veterans that we love are well cared for.   The costs of care are rising and it can be hard to keep up, but you can help.  If you know of a Veteran, spouse or widow who is in need of assistance with their activities of daily living and their medical needs exceed their income then their military service could qualify them for a reimbursement pension through the VA, called Aid & Attendance, of up to approximately $2,000 per month. 

There may be a way to help contribute to the costs of care of our Veterans, their spouses and widows, whether they live at home or in an Assisted Living facility.  To be considered, the Veteran needs to have served at least 90 days of active duty, with one day during a war time (date specific), be 65 years or older or disabled, have limited resources and need assistance with at least two of the Activities of Daily Living, or ADL’s for short: feeding; toileting; dressing; grooming; incontinence; bathing; and transferring. 

The Aid & Attendance Pension is a reimbursement program for medical and care costs that are already being incurred but is not dependent upon service-connected injuries for compensation.   If you have any questions about whether or not a Veteran, their spouse or widow can qualify for this pension please contact us. 

To all those Veterans who have served our Country so bravely, thank you for your service and Happy Veteran’s Day!


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Veteran's Benefits [Exemptions]

There are a variety of benefits out there for the men and women who bravely served our Country.  Some of these benefits are well known, others less so.  While looking into some property tax exemptions for an inheritance issue, I came across two Veterans Property Tax Exemptions.  Although I was familiar with the exemptions it occurred to me that they may not be well known so I thought they were worth sharing.

 

Types of Veterans Property Tax Exemptions

1)    Veteran’s Exemption

2)    Disabled Veteran’s Exemption

  • Basic
  • Low Income

 

Veterans Exemption

The California Constitution provides a $4,000 real property (for ex. a home) or personal property (for ex. a boat) exemption for honorable discharged veterans or the spouse or pensioned parent of a deceased, honorably discharged veteran.   There are restrictions on the value of property a claimant may own, so the exemption applies to only a limited number of qualified veterans, but it is still worthy of mention.

 

Disabled Veterans Exemption

The California Constitution and the Revenue and Taxation Code provide a property tax exemption for the home of a disabled veteran or an unmarried spouse of a deceased disabled veteran.  There is a basic $100,000 exemption or low income $150,000 exemption (both exemption amounts are annually adjusted for cost of living index, as of January 1, 2012, the exemption amounts are $119,285 and $178,929 respectively) available to a disabled veteran who because of an injury incurred in military service: is blind in both eyes, or has lost the use of two or more limbs, or is totally disabled as determined by the US Department of Veterans Affairs or by the military service from which the veteran was discharged.  

 

An unmarried surviving spouse may also be eligible if the service person died as the result of a service-connected injury or a disease incurred while on active duty in the military even if the veteran was not eligible during his or her lifetime.  While the Veterans Exemption has personal cap requirements, the Disabled Veterans Exemption does not.  The disabled veterans exemption is only available on a veteran’s principal place of residence, and the home may only receive one property tax exemption, the greater benefit will be taken.

 

The issues regarding these exemptions are complex and the eligibility requirements are specific.  And the filing requirements differ for each exemption.  If you are interested in learning more about property tax exemptions contact our office to sign up for our next seminar.

- See more at: http://mycaliforniaestate.com/lawyer/2013/07/30/Veterans-Aid-and-Attendance/Veterans-Benefits-[Exemptions]_bl8953.htm#sthash.KzoDKGSe.dpuf


Thursday, March 7, 2013

VA Eliminates Annual Eligibility Verification Report for Veterans Aid & Attendance

The Department of Veterans Affairs is eliminating the requirement for veterans receiving the Veterans Aid and Attendance benefit to file an annual report called the Eligibility Verification Report [EVR].  Before, beneficiaries were required to turn in the EVR and that was how the VA determined continuing eligibility.  Now, the VA will verify continued eligibility information through the Internal Revenue Service [IRS] and Social Security Administration. Implementing this new system will reduce the burden on many veterans and their families because they will not have to remember to file these returns each year in order to maintain their benefits.

View the whole article here.

 


Thursday, February 28, 2013

Government Lookback Periods Are Changing - Don't Wait to Act

Despite the fact that you planned ahead, you find yourself in need of help paying for long term care.  The options are limited, but may include Medicaid or Veterans Benefits of Aid & Attendance Pension.  For eligibility purposes, the government will determine whether you qualify for the benefit based on the amount of assets and income in your estate.  Also, they may look at whether you have transferred assets out of your estate in order to qualify.

MEDI-CAL

General Info - In California our version of Medicaid is called Medi-Cal, which is a government health program for certain people and families with low incomes and limited resources.  It is a means tested program and is jointly funded by state and federal governments and managed by the state.  As each state moves towards the federal norm, changes will come to Medi-Cal.

Assets and Transfers - If a Medi-Cal applicant’s property and assets are over the Medi-Cal property limit, the applicant will not be eligible for Medi-Cal unless they lower their property and asset levels.  But Medi-Cal will also consider the nature and amount of assets transferred out of a person’s estate.  The term transfer means an outright gift or a sale made at less than fair market value.  If such a transfer of property is made, Medi-Cal may calculate the period of ineligibility for nursing facility level of care.  

Look Back Period - The current look back period for asset transfers for Medi-Cal is 30 months.  However, the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 changed the look back period to 5 years, which will soon be implemented in California.

Penalty – The length of the ineligibility period is based on the net fair market value of transferred property which would have resulted in excess property, had an application for Medi-Cal been submitted at the time of the transfer and the property retained by the Medi-Cal applicant.  The amount of excess property is divided by the monthly average of private nursing facility cost by County.

VETERANS BENEFITS

General Info – The Aid and Attendance pension is a benefit paid by Veterans Affairs to qualified veterans, veteran spouses and surviving spouses to help pay for long term care.  It is a non-service connected disability benefit, to aid a qualified person who requires assistance with 2 or more Activities of Daily Living.    

Assets and Transfers – The VA looks at the amount of assets and income of a veteran and their spouses to determine eligibility.  In order to receive the maximum amount of the benefit the claimant’s unreimbursed medical expenses must exceed their income.  And the assets held by the Veteran or Spouse must be of an exempt status, such as the primary residence, car, etc.    

Look Back Period – Currently there is no look back period for the Aid and Attendance Benefit.  However this is soon going to change. Senators and the Veteran's Administration are introducing legislation intended to require a three year lookback period for applicants applying for the Aid and Attendance program.

 

PLANNING

There are a number of effective planning techniques that can be put in place to protect assets from being counted against an applicant and reducing the liability of those assets.  It is important to note that actions that are taken on behalf of someone for Veterans Benefits may impact Medi-Cal eligibility.  You will want to work with a qualified attorney who can explain the consequences of your choices and help you weigh the alternatives. 

Since Medi-Cal and the Aid and Attendance Pension are both primary sources of paying for long term care it is important to note that the look back periods are about to change and will extend the period of time for penalties.  Don’t wait to act.   


Monday, November 12, 2012

How to Pay for Long Term Care

As a senior approaches the twilight of their lives, the issue of paying for long term care becomes ever looming. Unfortunately the odds are fairly high that most seniors will end up in some form of assisted or skilled care. The high cost of long-term care has made planning a critically important issue for most middle class seniors and their families. Sadly, many of them are unprepared for the significant financial burdens it places on their family’s hard earned savings.  Financial devastation looms large for a family facing ongoing care at a rate of $10,000 or more per month.
 
While some seniors are able to afford private pay care, the cost of long-term care will wipe out savings of all but the wealthiest families in a matter of years.  Those who have planned ahead by purchasing long-term care insurance have a degree of certainty and peace of mind, knowing that they have a lesser need to rely on other sources in the future.  Unfortunately, many can’t afford the high cost of long term care insurance or worse, because of age of medical condition cannot qualify for long term care insurance altogether.  If you do have long-term care insurance, you should be aware of what your policy covers.  Many policies have high deductibles or provide for only a short period of care in facility.  In fact, many who have long-term care insurance still have to resort to Medicaid to pay for their care.

Medicare is available to help at the onset of any medical issues but only cover long term care issues for a few months.  After which your options to pay for in home, assisted or skilled (nursing home) care are

  • Self Insurance:  Using your life savings to pay for skilled care which typically costs around $7,000 per month.  However, cash clients will have the most options available to them when it comes to choosing a care facility.
  • Long Term Care Insurance:  If you were fortunate enough to be able to afford this insurance when you were 50 or 60, such insurance can go a long way to providing the senior the funds they need to pa for long term care.
  • VA Aid and Attendance Pension Benefit:  If you or your spouse were a veteran who served during a war era (ie WW II, Korea, Vietnam etc), you can qualify for long term care benefits of up to $2,000 per month tax free.  Financially qualifying for this benefit is fairly straightforwrd but may involve shifting some of your assets to an irrevocable trust.
  • Medi-Cal/Medicaid:  The safety net available to financially qualified individuals.  Medi-Cal/Medicaid is a joint federal-state program.  Medicaid provides medical assistance to low-income individuals, including those who are 65 or older, disabled or blind.  Medicaid is the single largest payer of nursing home bills in America and serves as the option of last resort for people who have no other way to finance their long-term care.
 

 


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