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 preserve their money for their spouses, loved ones, or charitable bequests.

Veteran Pensions differ from Medicaid in a variety of ways.  VA pensions can be used to pay for at-home care, an assisted living facility or other unreimbursed medical expenses; whereas Medicaid pays only for nursing home care.  Additionally, if you need to divest assets to qualify, the VA uses a 3-year "look back" period instead of a 5-year period.

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.