Location - Williamsburg, VA: One of the Veterans Administration's best kept secrets is a non service connected pension to help pay for assisted living, home health care and even nursing home care. Most Veterans think VA pensions are only for service-connected disabilities. However, there is a service connected pension available to pay for disabling conditions such as Alzheimer's, Dementia, MS, Parkinson's and blindness. This can be a great benefit for Veterans, their spouses, widows, and widowers.
For Veterans 65 years of age or older: If you are housebound or in assisted living and over age 65, the VA presumes you to be in need of "Aid & Attendance". NOTE: you do not need to be helpless, only in need of the help of others.
For Veterans under the age of 65: You must be totally and permanently disabled if you are under age 65 to receive this pension. "Aid & Attendance" is a part of this pension that is very important. Simply put, if you need the aid & attendance of another person in order to live in a safe and healthy environment (for example you need someone else to help you bathe, dress, ambulate or prepare meals you could be entitled to this benefit.
The maximum benefit amounts for 2010 are: Veteran with spouse $2,047.00 per month, Veteran only $1,794.00 per month and a surviving spouse $1,100.00 per month TAX FREE. This is not a Medicaid program. Medicaid benefits are part of the welfare system with strict income and asset limits. VA non-service connected pensions are an entitlement because you served your country. They have been around since 1951. You do not have to be broke to qualify for this pension. There are limitations that can be very confusing. Your income must be less than the maximum allowable pension. Income can be reduced by recurring, non-reimbursable monthly medical expenses. This includes the cost of assisted living or home health care. Therefore income is not typically a problem for qualification.
A Veteran over age 65 with $1,500.00 per month of income and $2,500.00 per month cost of care would be entitled to a pension of $1,646.00 per month due to income being reduced to zero. This is only one example. Each client has a different set of circumstances requiring a different approach to qualification and the calculation of benefit amount. There is no established asset limit for benefit entitlement. Again the VA has various calculations that apply depending on individual circumstances. Note: the value of your home is not included as an asset.
To apply for this pension, it is advisable to seek the help of an experienced VA advisor. A VA advisor can provide pre-application consultations to determine the steps that must be taken in order to determine if you should apply for this benefit.