Planning for Long-Term Care of Veterans and Surviving Spouses with VA Benefits

pexels-photo-345092-300x225When a wartime veteran or a surviving spouse needs long-term care, VA benefits will help pay for this long-term care. Many families are not aware they may be entitled to receive these long-term care benefits from the Veterans Administration. Below are some examples of VA benefits that you may be entitled to receive as a wartime veteran or a surviving spouse that can help you pay for much needed long-term medical and personal care.

Pension with Aid and Attendance is intended to help pay for medical and personal care for veterans and surviving spouses who need assistance with daily activities such as dressing, eating and bathing. It is also intended for veterans and surviving spouses who are in a nursing home or who are blind. Those living in an assisted care facility who need help with their day-to-day activities also qualify for this type of VA benefit.

Pension with Housebound Allowance benefits veterans and surviving spouses who need regular assistance but do not meet the requirements for the Aid and Attendance benefits. This benefit also applies to those who want to move in with a family member or stay in their own home. Assistance and care may be provided to the claimant by an agency or a family member.

Basic Pension covers veterans and surviving spouses who are 65 years of age or older or who are disabled and have limited income and assets.

Qualifying for Benefits

In order to qualify for the above VA benefits, it is not a requirement that the veteran was injured during service; however, the veteran must meet the wartime service and discharge requirements. In addition, if a veteran or surviving spouse files for disability benefits and the person is under the age of 65, there are several requirements that must be met before the disability claim will be approved. It can be very helpful to consult with an attorney who has experience with VA benefit claims to determine what you must do in order to qualify for VA benefits.

The Veterans Administration looks at several things when determining eligibility such as the claimant’s income, medical expenses, life expectancy and assets. A claimant’s income must be less than the VA benefit the claimant will receive if he or she is approved for VA benefits. Income is calculated by subtracting out-of-pocket medical expenses from the claimant’s gross income from all sources. The recurring medical expenses, also known as “countable medical expenses,” must be expected to continue for the claimant’s lifetime in order to be included in the deduction from gross income. “Countable assets” include the claimant’s retirement funds but it does not include the claimant’s vehicle or home.

Even though it may appear that your income and assets do not meet the requirements for VA benefits, you may be able to decrease the value of your income and assets to qualify for VA benefits. However, it is very important that you first consult with an attorney who has experience with both VA benefits and Medicaid benefits before you begin restructuring assets or gifting assets to others. If you restructure assets or gift assets, you may jeopardize or delay Medicaid benefits. Seeking the advice of an Elder Law attorney is the best way to determine a course of action that will help you receive the VA benefits you are entitled to receive without jeopardizing assets or other benefits.

Applying for VA Benefits

Applying for VA benefits can take more than a year from the beginning of the application process through the approval by the Veteran’s Administration. Consulting with a VA benefits attorney can help ensure that you have the correct documentation attached to the application to speed up the process. Documents you need include, but are not limited to, your discharge papers, marriage certificate, copies of medical records, evidence of medical expenses and a death certificate (if you are a surviving spouse). Submitting a correctly completed VA benefits application with all of the required documents can greatly reduce the processing time of your VA benefits application.

Because time is critical for veterans and their surviving spouses who are in desperate need of VA benefits, your VA benefits application should be filed as soon as possible. For more information, you can visit or contact our office to schedule a consultation with the attorneys at Krause Donovan Estate Law Partners, LLC. Their experience and knowledge can help you have the peace of mind of knowing that you have a plan. Contact Attorney Daniel J. Krause or Nelson W. Donovan today.

Reach us through our website or call our office at (608) 268-5751 to schedule your confidential, no obligation initial consultation