As you age, long term care costs can add up quite quickly costing you and your family a huge dent in your income. However, what many veterans and their surviving spouses don’t know, are the benefits that they are entitled to for long term care needs.
Whether you are a veteran or a surviving spouse who are in need of in home care or are in a nursing home, the Veterans Administration have an underused pension benefit called Aid and Attendance.
If you are familiar with the Veterans Administration or have tried to receive benefits before and were denied due to your income being above the VA’s legal limit, you may still qualify for assistance. If you have reoccurring medical bills that you do not receive assistance on then you might be in luck. According to the Aid and Attendance qualifications, income does NOT include welfare or supplemental security income. While the VA’s legal limit states you must have an income under the Max Annual Pension Rate listed below, medical bills paid out of pocket that you do not receive reimbursement from your insurance on need to be deducted first.
How it works:
According to the Veterans Administration, the amount you receive in benefits depends on your income. This means that the VA will pay the difference between what your annual income is and the Max Annual Pension Rate.
Max Annual Pension Rate
Single Veteran: $21,531
Veteran with one Dependent: $25,525
Surviving Spouse: $13,836
Surviving Spouse with one Dependent: $16,506
If Beverly, a surviving spouse, receives Social Security of $17,500 a year and a pension of $4,500 a year, her total income would be $22,000 a year. Which by first glance would exceed the VA’s Max Annual Pension Rate for a surviving spouse. However, let’s say she pays $18,000 a year for home health care, $1,500 a year for Medicare and $1,200 for supplemental insurance, her total medical expenses would be $20,700. This means that if she subtracts her medical expenses from her income ($22,000 – $20,700), Beverly’s countable income would only be $1,300. According to the rules and regulations for the Aid and Attendance benefit, Beverly could qualify if you take the VA’s Max Annual Pension Rate for a surviving spouse and subtract her countable income ($13,836 – $1,300). According to these calculations, that means Beverly could be eligible for $12,536 in Aid and Attendance benefits.
However, the Veterans Administration do have other qualifications such as:
· You must have less than $80,000 in assets (excluding your home and vehicle)
· The veteran must have at least 90 days of wartime
· Need assistance for everyday tasks (including but not limited to bathing, feeding, dressing, using the bathroom etc.)
*Note: you do not need to have a disability to qualify*
The VA’s rules also state that the medical expenses that are being calculated for must be unreimbursed. Any medical expenses can include Medicare, Medigap and long-term insurance premiums.; long-term care costs; nursing home fees; regular doctor visit fees; in home care for medical or nursing services; the cost of an assisted living facility; over-the-counter medications recommended by your physician and other reoccurring medical expenses. Any calculated expense must not include what your insurance pays or reimburses you for.
So, if you do meet the Veterans Administration’s qualifications and have an income under the Max Annual Pension Rate after recalculated your countable income, you could be receiving benefits.
To apply today visit a VA office near you or visit their Aid and Attendance benefits page at www.veteranaid.org