Veteran Pension Planning

In recognition of their service, older veterans or their surviving spouses may be eligible for a monthly pension, which can be used to offset medical expenses. To qualify, the veteran must have served at least one day during a recognized period of war as part of a ninety-day active deployment. In addition, the applicant must be over 65 years of age or permanently and totally disabled. There are household income and asset limits to qualify; however, with proper estate planning and utilization of the available exclusions and deductions, many applicants are capable of receiving this benefit, which would allow them to save a significant amount of money annually. Rather than allowing medical bills deplete their life savings, veterans can stretch their money to ensure quality of life for themselves and their spouses.

This benefit differs substantially from Medicaid. It is tax-free funds that are deposited into the applicant’s bank account. The recipient can then use those funds to pay caregivers in the home, an assisted living or skilled nursing facility, or many other recurring medical expenses that might otherwise be difficult to afford. Unlike Medicaid, there is no recovery by the state for funds provided after the applicant dies, even if the person has been receiving payment for years. Finally, there is a three year “look-back period” on planning for VA benefits, which is shorter than the five-year “look-back” period for Medicaid.

The Veterans Administration requires any attorney who provides counsel in the preparation, presentation, or prosecution of claims to be accredited. Be certain that your attorney is accredited to provide advice in this area, as not all attorneys who practice long term care planning have the training to assist you with VA benefits. All the attorneys at Hooper Law Office are accredited by the Department of Veterans Affairs.