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I know they are entitled to what ever they decided on the SBP, spousal benefit plan and the medical benefits, but how does social security come into play, since once the veteran is gone, so is the veterans retirement pay. How does all this work?

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Don't forget about the incredible benefit called "Aid & Attendance". It is a benefit that is earned by our vets and widows once he/she has served at least 90 days of active duty and one of those days during wartime (WWII, Korea, Viet Nam and Gulf War (2 years of duty for Gulf War Vets). This 'New' Improved Pension has been around since 1952, and is available for those who are medically needy and spending ALL of their income on medically related expenses (including in-home care provided by an adult child). Most adult children would never dream of 'charging' mom and dad for in home care support, but if they did, and then used the money to pay mom and dads' bills......the benefit could possibly be made available. For 2013, the preliminary monthly pension benefits (COLA of 1.7% increase) are as follows: Married Vet: $2,053....Single Vet: $1,732...Unremarried Surviving Spouse: $1,113. There is an additional "asset & resource" formula that applies, but rarely causes a disqualification.
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Allieboy....I have 2 accredited VA representatives, a 22 years retired VA Service Officer and an Elder Law Attorney who shares an office in my complex. I am a securities licensed Investment Advisor Representative and talk show host in Sacramento CA. I discuss this subject often on my show and have a great deal of concern about potential financial elder abuse. This benefit has given birth to hundred of Insurance Marketing Organizations teach agents how to use it to sell annuities for large commissions. There other options and my listeners appreciate the information I provide on my program.
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Keep in mind that the Aid & Attendance benefits are capped at the levels I mentioned above. The 'improved pension' plan is supposed to help you pay for normal everyday living expenses ONCE you are spending ALL of you income on 'medically related' expenses such as In-Home Care, Assisted Living, Board & Care or simply living in an adult community that provides a 'protected environment.
It's not a medical reimbursement benefit, it's an additional pension to help pay bills etc. This has been and remains one of the VA's 'best kept secrets' and now that the word is getting out, the VA is considering making it a 'means tested' entitlemant. This would make it more difficult to qualify and help contain costs so that our government can utilize the funds for less 'sacred' causes. We owe our Vets, their spouses, their widows and their families a great deal of gratitude...Shame on our Government for not getting this job done. At last count, we're losing 640 WWII veterans each and every day. More than 16 million served and we own 'em!! Even Korean Vets are now in their mid 70's to mid 80's...and let's not forget about their surviving spouses....God Bless all of you for your sacrifice. I tried to serve our country in 1969, but was denied entry due to Spina Bifita spine issues. Was assigned perminemt 1-Y classification. I am a military service "brat" and my father ( who passed away on June 8th of this year) served in WWII and Korea then went on to serve 26 years of duty to our country. God rest his soul.
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My father was a WWII vet and he passed away in 2003. My mother just turned 91 and is still living on her own in her home. Her only source of income is social security. I had to get her a reverse mortgage in order to pay her bills. Is she entitled to any money from the VA? If so, how can I expedite it?
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My mom is 91 and needs in home care. I have been caring for her for almost 3 years. My husband and I moved to Florida when she broke her hip. It has been a financial hardship for us as I could no longer work and care for her. My question is, for her to receive the $1,113 per month for help, does she have to have no assets. She owns her condo and has some small investments. She does not want to sell her place. She wants to stay in it for as long as possible then possibly assisted living as last resort. We have an appt. with an elder law attorney that will cost a few thousand dollars to figure it all out.
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As far as social security, you can choose to keep yours, or drop yours and collect your husband's if he has been receiving more than you. Concerning a veteran's widow's benefits, you might get some info at va.gov and check with a VA representative. Your local Va clinic or Va Medical Ctr should be able to put you in contact one.
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Regarding the VA: IF he was a wartime ERA Vet, WWII, Korea, Viet Nam
You might, depending on amount of Pensions & Assets you are recieving/have each month, be eligible for improved pension if Assited living is needed down the road.
Now is good time to to consider a IRGT (trust) for your home . and proper planning regarding assets.
The VA CANNOT provide the financial info you need.
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Hi Ed. Are you VA accredited?
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Thanks for everyone's answers. My husband served from 1976 to 1994. So he will definitely qualify under the War era qualifications. He is currently 70% disabled and there are other disabilities pending, but being addressed. I am curious about the IRGT (Trustt). I found IDGT trust, but not the other.
Ed, thank you very much for your information. We live in Acworth, Ga and are currently able to live comfortably on my husbands military and disability retirement. We have a good rainy day fund, very good term insurance that we can draw on immediately, should one of us become terminally ill and we invested wisely through the years, with the uncertainty of our nations SS system. It's great to know that you have some good VA knowledge in your firm, as well as elderly experience.
We have learned over the many years, that "don't ask, don't tell," means if you don't ask, they won't volunteer the information. The problems is there is no "guide book" for you to make sure that you request all of your possible entitlements. Some find out the hard way and others suffer needlessly. The TriCare system alone had to give back millions of dollars that they did not spend. When I think of all of the military and retirees that could have benefited from those funds, I find it infuriating!
We just don't know what to ask.
Thanks,
S.
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Cissorhand, you can start here, by reading other posts on VA assistance for widowers:

https://www.agingcare.com/search.aspx?searchterm=VA+assistance+for+widowed+spouses

Other actions are to research the CA website to determine if there's a CA veterans agency which offers advice and/or help; do a similar search for your county. Our county office was quite helpful with information as well as assistance in document preparation and submission.

In past years I picked up a very thorough and helpful book on benefits, distributed through local VA reps at Area Agency on Aging caregiver expos held in the fall. It's published by the Government Printing Office and is available for $8.00. (I got it for free at the expo.) Or you could call your legislative reps; sometimes they distribute them at conferences as well.

Should you wish to order the booklet:

https://bookstore.gpo.gov/catalog/health-benefits/federal-benefits-entitlement-programs/veterans-benefits-health-issues. It's the first booklet, with the iconic photo of Uncle Sam and his "I want you" pose.

I spent considerable time trying to navigate the VA qualification criteria, but eventually decided to let the pros handle the application. Our county VA service office did that for us.
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