November 11th is a day that we set aside to remember those who have served our country in the armed forces. It all started back in 1919 when President Woodrow Wilson declared November 11th an “Armistice Day” to honor those who served in World War I. Eventually the name was changed to “Veterans Day” and it was to honor all veterans of all wars.
U.S concern for veterans goes back even further in our history. For example, President Abraham Lincoln once said that we must strive to care for and “to honor him who has borne the wounds of battle and his widow and his orphan.” Toward that end, in I930 the U.S. officially established the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Department, now known as the Veterans Administration (“VA”) has developed numerous programs to help veterans, their spouses and dependent children.
At the present time there are numerous veterans who served our country during wartime that are aging. Many of these aging veterans need help with long-term care and therefore the VA has provided the following benefits:
A. Free Medical Care and Prescription Drug Coverage. In a day of burgeoning health care costs Veterans should take advantage of the medical and prescription help they can get from the VA. Your local veterans service organization can provide details and help in qualifying.
B. State Veterans Homes. Each state in the union works with the VA to help build and support state veterans homes. These homes provide nursing care for those veterans struggling with long-term disabilities. Here in Michigan we have the “Grand Rapids Home for Veterans” (616-364-5400) and the “D.J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans” (Marquette, MI, 906-226-3576).
C. Veterans Disability Income Programs. If a veteran is at least 10% disabled due to an injury inflicted while in the service then that veteran is entitled to a special service connected pension. However, even if a veteran was not wounded in the service, that veteran is entitled to a special monthly pension called the “Aid & Attendance” pension. This benefit applies to those veterans who served at least one day during wartime (but not necessarily in battle). Those who are 65 and older are automatically considered “disabled” and meet the medical criteria. However, those who need help with the activities of daily living -- for example, needing home care or assisted living -- can qualify for a pension of up to $2000 a month or more. This is a tremendous help to senior veterans who struggle to pay for their expensive care needs.
To qualify for the Aid & Attendance pension the veteran must also meet an income and asset test. Those who have over $2000 a month in income or over $20,000 in assets will generally not qualify immediately. However, there are legal exceptions and options that permit almost all veterans to qualify for the Aid & Attendance pension. At Heritage Elder Law we are trained and skilled at helping virtually all veterans or their spouses -- regardless of their income or asset levels -- to qualify for this exciting and generous benefit. Moreover, we provide free help and assistance to those wishing to file an application for the Aid & Attendance pension.
Our country has honored those who have served us with a day known as “Veterans Day”. Furthermore, it has provided numerous financial and medical benefits. Our veterans deserve to be educated about the various financial, legal and medical options available to them through the VA. They deserve help in obtaining what is rightfully theirs. Heritage Elder Law is proud to be a part of that process.