Book: How to Apply for Dept. of Veterans Affairs Benefits for Recent and Senior Veterans and Their Survivors
(2016 Edition) The Senior Veterans Service Alliance is excited to introduce this new how to apply book as a welcome and needed resource for veterans and their families. We can find no other book currently available that incorporates the newest claims procedures from the Department of Veterans Affairs along with detailed instructions on how to submit applications for over 25 different types of disability claims including Pension, Death Pension, DIC, Compensation, Burial Benefits, and more...
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, there are 22.7 million veterans in the United States. Fully 55% of these people are age 60 and older. Many of the veterans benefits now available are not relevant to these older veterans or are no longer available to them; but, there are still benefits to assist older veterans that are not being utilized to the fullest extent. In addition, we have found that many of our nation's seniors, whether veterans or not, are struggling with a myriad of financial and emotional challenges in their final years of life.
Our mission is twofold. First, we are dedicated to helping elderly seniors who served their country receive cash support or other services available from VA. Second, we provide a national website listing of dedicated professionals to help senior veterans better prepare for their final years of life. This national network of providers and advisers includes financial advice, legal help, preparation for eldercare, education on government support programs, care provider services and much more. Although we concentrate on helping senior veterans, we will not turn away any veteran who comes to us for help.
This twofold approach to supporting our valiant elderly veterans, who served our country in a time of need, will improve the dignity, financial staying power and well-being of these valued American seniors.
Detailed Information about the Veterans Aid and Attendance Pension Benefit
Under the right circumstances, the VA Program called Pension can provide up to $2,120 per month for a veteran couple or up to $1,788 a month for a single veteran in additional income. To get these benefit levels, these people must be paying for expensive long term care at home, in assisted living or in a nursing home. Death pension for surviving spouses can provide up to $1,149 a month in additional income under the same circumstances.
- 1. What is the veterans aid and attendance Pension benefit?
- 2. Who is eligible for the Pension benefit?
- 3. Understanding the special case of long term care medical costs.
- 4. Using the aid and attendance benefit to pay any person for care in the home.
- 5. Using aid and attendance for professional home care services.
- 6. Using the veterans aid and attendance pension to pay for assisted living.
- 7. Using the veterans aid and attendance pension to pay for a nursing home.
- 8. Understanding the application process for Pension.
- 9. Submitting a claim for the veterans Pension benefit.
- 10. When the family can submit a claim without help.
- 11. When the family should use an advocate or field service officer.
- 12. Health care benefits for veterans receiving pension.
- 13. Dovetailing Medicaid with the aid and attendance benefit.
A remarkable World War II experience recounted by Colonel Jack Leroy Tueller.
Historical War Photos
The following gallery endeavors to offer a small assortment of historical photos in order to offer a brief glimpse into the lives of our valiant senior veterans during war. As far as we are aware, the images can be found in the public domain. Continue to the Historical War Photos Gallery...
SVSA Services & Veterans Pension Benefit (Aid & Attendance)
The SVSA lists appeals agents, advocates and eldercare services in many areas of the country. These individuals and providers help senior veterans and their survivors understand veterans benefits available to them.
One underutilized benefit available to many senior (wartime) veterans/widows is pension -- commonly called aid and attendance. Because aid and attendance is such an important benefit, we provide an entire section below describing it.
SVSA Services in Your Geographic Area
These individuals may or may not be accredited through VA. Non-accredited advocates understand veterans benefits but are not allowed to help in the filing of a claim. All advocates can answer questions relating to specific benefits and can direct a potential claimant to an individual or organization capable of filing a claim. Advocates do not charge a fee related to filing a claim.
The Senior Veterans Service Alliance maintains on this website a list of individuals -- primarily attorneys -- who are willing to represent veterans in appealing adverse decisions on claims. Although no fee may be charged in connection with filing an initial claim, a fee is allowed in regard to representing a veteran with a claims appeal. The fee that is charged must be reasonable and VA must see the arrangement.
SVSA takes pride in being an organization that can help you locate a full spectrum of care by connecting you to services for older adults, veterans, and their families.
Information about Veterans Benefits Available to Senior Veterans and Their Surviving Spouses
Pension (Aid and Attendance)
Roughly 1 out of 4 seniors in the U.S. could qualify for the aid and attendance benefit under the right conditions. That's how many war veterans or their surviving spouses there are. Only about 5% of U.S. seniors are actually receiving this benefit. It can pay up to $2,120/month for a couple, $1,788/month for a single veteran and $1,149 for a single surviving spouse.
State Veterans Nursing Homes
State veterans homes are a joint venture between state veterans departments and VA. Subsidies come from the state, VA and other sources. The majority of state homes are nursing homes for veterans but some homes may also provide assisted living and other care. Most states have anywhere from 2 to 5 or more homes. Typically there is a waiting list to get in.
Health Care Benefits
The VA healthcare system is the largest single provider of healthcare in the United States. It has also been noted by numerous surveys as being one of the best providers of health care as well. Not all veterans can receive care in the system. Eligibility requires either service-connected disability, special service recognition or low income and less than $80,000 in assets.
Dependents Indemnity Compensation is payable to eligible survivors of a military service member who died on active duty or whose death after service resulted from a service-connected injury or disease. DIC currently pays $1,254 a month to a surviving spouse and additional amounts if there are dependent children or if the spouse needs aid and attendance.
Money is available for burial costs for veterans who were service disabled, receiving pension or died under VA care. If the death was a result of service-connected disability, $2,000 is available. If the death was non-service related, up to $600 is available for plot allowance and burial and funeral expenses. Veterans also receive free burial in state VA cemeteries.
Compensation & Special Benefits
Disability compensation is a tax-free benefit paid to a veteran for service-connected disability that happened as a result of active duty, active duty for training, inactive duty training or injury from VA healthcare. Special benefits like car allowances, housing allowances, clothing and so on are payable for severe service connected disabilities.
Long Term Care Benefits
Besides the additional income available from VA aid and attendance pension to cover long term care benefits, the VA healthcare system also offers a variety of long term care services. This could include nursing homes, assisted living, home care and so on. Eligibility requires enrollment in VA health care and preference is given to a priority list of conditions.
Appealing an Adverse Decision
A veteran or eligible dependent has up to 1 year from an adverse VA decision on any benefit to appeal that decision. VA decisions regarding health care are not appealable. After filing a Notice of Disagreement with the Regional Office, a person making an appeal can pay a fee to an accredited agent or attorney for representation before the Board of Veterans Appeals.
Accreditation and Fees
No person may help a veteran with an initial claim for benefits unless that person is accredited through VA. Additionally, no fee may be charged that is directly related to the filing of an initial claim. Doing so is illegal. Many members of the SVSA are accredited and no member of the SVSA charges a fee that is directly related to the filing of an initial claim. Continue reading...
"Intent to File" & Effective Dates
Before applying for benefits a veteran or the surviving spouse of a veteran (in either case, the claimant) may wish to establish an Effective Date by means of an "Intent to File" (formerly known as an Informal Claim) even though they are not yet prepared to apply. This is done to 'lock-in a date' (for purposes of recieving back-pay) while the claimants are gathering supporting evidence to include in their application. Continue reading...
- About Accreditation & Fees
- Accreditation News
- Appealing a bad VA Decision
- CLE to Maintain VA Accreditation
- Correcting Your Military Discharge
- Find Home Care / Assisted Living
- Find Hospice Care
- Help finding a LTC Facility
- Help with Care Management
- Help with Elder Law
- Help with Estate Planning
- Help with Disputes / Mediation
- Help with Financial Planning
- Help with Medicaid Planning
- Help with Tax Planning
- Informal Claims / Effective Dates
- Service Connected Disabilities
- State VA Nursing Homes
- VA Aid and Attendance Benefit
- VA Burial Benefits
- VA Healthcare System
- VA Help - Surviving Spouse
- VA Home Renovation Grants
- VA Long Term Care Benefits
- VA Pays Family for Eldercare
- VA Regional Offices