02- Aug2016
Posted By: Tony Fischer

How To Pay For Long Term Care: Veteran’s Benefits

Over the years the Veterans Administration has had more than its fair share of controversy.  Media reports about substandard hospitals and long waiting periods for benefits has pressured to congress to reform the system while putting the system under an enormous amount of stress.

Adding to the pressure is a rapidly aging baby boomer population starving for healthcare options and funding. Meanwhile the veterans who bravely served our country in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam are facing the same challenges as their baby boomer brethren.

As it relates to long-term care being a veteran has its benefits.  A little known benefit is helping veterans and their spouses pay of long-term care at home while aging in place. The Veterans Aid and Attendance benefit can provide some relief from the cost of long term care if they qualify.

Like any government benefit the Veteran must meet a series of criteria in order to become eligible.  Sherpa Certified Elder Law Attorney, Christopher Berry of The Elder Care Firm has a great page that breaks down the requirements for eligibility.

Requirements for Eeligibility

The first set of criteria is the service requirement:

  1. 90 Days Active Duty
  2. One Day During a Period of Conflict
  3. Cannot Be Dishonorably Discharged
  4. Long-term Care Costs

Then there is an asset limit:

  • Married Veterans can receive $2,085 per month
  • Single or Widowed Veterans can receive $1,732 per month
  • Surviving Spouses of Veterans can receive $1,113 per month

Overall the benefit is modest but can really help those in need. Qualifying veterans can receive up to $23,000 a year to pay for long-term care costs at home.

Another major advantage to the Veteran’s benefits is the absence of a look back period.  A look back period allows the government to look back over your finances to determine if the claimant moved assets in order to become qualified for benefits. Other government programs that subsidize long-term care have a look back period to verify eligibility but the VA has never used such a method.

In the very near future that may change.  Several bills have been offered this year to attach a 3-year look back period to the Veterans Aid and Attendance benefit. Although they have failed, don’t expect the government agencies to stop trying as they scramble to find away to pay for the increasing cost of long term care.

There are ways to plan and use the Veteran’s Benefits but you should do it on your own. Contact a Certified Elder Law Attorney before you start planning.  You can find a list at the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys or NAELA.

In Michigan contact our Sherpa Certified provider The Elder Care Firm. They are Certified Elder Law and Veterans Attorneys and can get you started with a solid plan.