Veterans Tip of the Week – VA Pensions
Important for the Older Veterans in our Lives
This little known and often misunderstood earned VA benefit is a last line financial safety net for older, low-income veterans.
Essentially how it works is that Congress establishes an annual income limit and eligible veterans making below that limit in “Countable Income” are plus’ed up to the annual limit through 12 payments throughout the year.
The amount for 2019 is $13,535 for a single veteran and $17,061 for a veteran and dependent (usually a spouse). Countable income is the adjusted income after subtracting all un-reimbursed medical expenses. So, as a made up example, if a veteran makes a based income of say $25000 annually, but pays $15000 in nursing home expenses, their countable income would be $10000. Since this is below the annual amount set for a VA pension of $13,535, the VA would pay the veteran $3,535 annually to make up the difference. In this example that’s an additional $294.50 each month, tax free that goes directly to the veteran. If the countable income is above $13,535, the veteran would not be eligible for the program. A countable income of $0 is possible, and the VA would make up the full amount.
The other part of the means test for this program requires veterans to not have total assets above $127,061 (no idea where they got this number from). So this would be savings, retirements accounts, dividends, annuities, and countable income combined.
To be eligible for the program, a veteran also needs to have served at lead 90 days active duty, with at least one day during a “wartime period.” So for most veterans this would be Vietnam, Korea or WWII. And be one of the following:
• Age 65 or older, OR
• Totally and permanently disabled, OR
• Patient in nursing home receiving skilled nursing care, OR
• Receiving Social Security Disability Insurance, OR
• Receiving Supplemental Security Income
Medical expenses burn through assets and income like nobody’s business. So this earned benefit would apply to many of the older veterans in our lives. Here are some links to learn about the program.
Or go to a great overview here: https://www.veteransaidbenefit.org/veterans_aid_attendance_…
This includes a discussion of the Aid and Attendance Special Pension which is an add on benefit to the VA Pension.
As always, please feel free to PM me if you have questions regarding you VA Benefits. If I don’t know the answer, we will find it together. #gogetrated
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Greetings my name is Rich,
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