dianne7769 Asked September 2010

How do I get in touch with the Veteran finacial assistance for long-term care?

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EXPERT Ralph Robbins Sep 2010
Here is the deal on VA and long-term care...

1. There are two types of VA benefits available for non-career military; compensation and pension. Compensation is what most are familiar with...a veteran is injured or disabled as a result of service and they receive a "rating" and a compensation check every month. Pension a non-service connected benefit in that the veteran's disability does not have to be service related. A veteran cannot receive compensation and pension at the same time.

2. There are three levels to VA pension benefits - basic, homebound, aid and attendance. All are needs based. Basic pension can be received without medical evidence. Homebound and Aid and Attendance do.

3. The pension (monthly maximum for vet = $1,650, for couple = $1,950, for surviving spouse = $1,056) is paid directly to the veteran. Claim can be made for virtually any service including care provided by a relative, home health aids, geriatric care management, and assisted living facilities or nursing homes.

4. To qualify the vet must have served at least 90 continuous days one day of which must have been during a TIME of combat (the vet does not have to have served IN combat). The vet must have received at least a general discharge. To be eligible for the survivor benefit, the spouse must have been married to the vet at the time of the vet's demise (no divorce).

5. You will need help to successfully apply for the benefit. You can try a local Veteran Service Office (search for National Association of Veteran Service Officers to find same near you). Keep in mind that Service Officers will not make recommendations with respect to financial planning if the claimant is "over-resourced". Also keep in mind that if the application is not done properly the first time it may take up to 9-12 months to receive an award. Although you can apply on line for veteran benefits, you cannot do so for survivor benefits.

6. Benefits will be retroactive to the month AFTER application.

7. If you use a private consultant pay a fee. Do not use one of the profilgate "we help vets for free" firms that are actually financial service firms, typically insurance brokers, looking to sell high commission annuities. My experience has been that most of these firms are woefully inexperienced in coordinating VA benefits with other public benefit programs and as a result mom's access to Medicaid may be seriously compromised.

To learn more about this benefit directly from the VA, visit here http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/pension/

By the way...qualifyng your parent for Medicaid now, even if she is home, may free up cash for other purposes. Call your local Area Agency on Aging for additional resources.

P.S. The "Checks for Vets' book is OK but really basic...doesn't really contain any information you can't find on the web for free. If your situation is complex it will be of little value.
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daylilly206 Sep 2010
Yes, spouses qualify whether vet is alive or dead providing the vet meets the standard for benefits. HERE IS A LINK TO THE SITE for you. http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/pension/vetpen.htm#7
There are conditions that must be met.
A veteran cannot receive both Aid and Attendance and Housebound benefits at the same time, but they can receive a penion and ONE of these benefits. The paperwork is extensive and you'll have to provide many documentation. Once submitted the benefits if granted are retroactive to applying because processing can easily take 6 mos. I don't recommend doing it yourself because IF THERE IS AN ERROR in the application, lacking proper documentation, or not completely filled out, you have to start all over and it is not considered retroactive anymore since it was wrong. CONTACT your LOCAL V.A they have staff that will help you. I hope this helps.
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ladyleidy Sep 2010
Each city of size has an office of assistance to vets. It might be labeled VA Advocate or VA outreach office. Check the yellow pages under Veterans. Also many Assisted Living Facilities know the name and number of the local vet assistance office. Many vets live in ALFs with assistance from the VA. There is also a book called "Checks for Vets" you can get at Amazon or Barnes and Noble for approx $27. It is supposed to give you all kinds of info on how to do anything vet benefit related. Good luck. Karen
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Yemi Jan 2014
I was transferred around my local Veterans Administration for a few years until a friend of mine who is a veteran told me the secret. The veterans service organizations--like the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and other similar organizations in your area--act as the go between. They will help you complete the paper work (which can be daunting), and perhaps, give you an expedition letter once you receive your letter from the VA stating that they are evaluating your application. Also, the U.S. congressional and representative elected officials may sponsor workshops from time to time. The ones for your district may even have a staff person dedicated to helping you navigate the Veterans Administration. Using an intermediary was a life saver for me. Trying to go directly to the VA was horrible and a complete was of time.
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