Can my mother receive VA benefits with my father being a deceased World War II veteran?


How much cash can she have without being disqualified?



I am a lawyer, yet spent nearly 8 months researching this issue for my 94 year old mom. I finally hired a company that specializes in getting the VA aid and attendance and other benefits. Here are some issues to remember:

The serviceman/Vet had to be on active duty during a war -- but that does not mean that they served in a War zone. My dad was a sergeant in the Army Air Corp -- and served as a bookkeeper in New Mex during WW II That was enough for my mom to qualified.
But, you have to have his actual discharge papers. If you don't have those, the VA has to look for them or re-create them. In my dad's case, as with most WW II veterans, his records had burned in the disastrous fire at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) that destroyed approximately 16-18 million Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF). 80% of the records of Army personnel discharged prior to 1960 burned.

So, then, it took VA 8 months to recreate Dad's records, and then they denied mom benefits because the staff is incompetent -- they claimed we had filed based on disability rather than the VA Aid & Dependent's pension, even though it was clearly marked. (The backstory is that VA does not like to give these benefits to widows. I mean, there's the old story that if the military wanted a vet to have a wife, they would have issued them one.)

So then, on the advice of others, I contacted my representatives in Congress -- filled out some form on line -- and you know what -- within TWO DAYS, we were notified that Mom's application -- which they wrongfully claimed we had just filed the day I contacted the rep -- had been granted. Woo hoo! $1,000 per month. But, they have not granted backpay.
Oh, and there is an asset test as well. It's not actually spelled out anywhere that i have found. And, you have to have a doctor's statement for the need for daily assistance.

All in all, it's very hard to get -- but well worth it, if your LO qualifies.
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Reply to BethandDan

Thanks everyone for the great advice
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Reply to Markstime

I have looked into this for my dad and it appears as someone here said the ceiling is 80K in assets. Which isn't much these days. My parents have more than that but not really considered rich. Nonetheless, I am a firm believer that a family should use its own assets first before depending on something else, unless it was a disability related pension. Seems like most people have 80K when you include the house. Maybe that doesn't count. Also, it appears one can apply anyway, and if it were approved for whatever reason, it is retroactive.
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Reply to Karsten

Mark, the VA would have to have more specifics to advise what benefits your mother might have. There are a few ways you can contact them, provide some of the basic answers, and determine if you can go any further to obtain benefits.

You can contact a local, county VA office, generally affiliated with or functioning as part of a local government. Same situation with state VA offices. Or you can call the VA directly, or call American Legion and/or VFW offices and ask which ones have veteran advisors.

There's yet another way: contact the VA Caregiver department. I spoke at length with them sometime ago and obtained guidance and good information. or google VA, then caregiver resources. Then click on this link on the VA Caregiver Resources webpage: "For Caregivers Only - Geriatrics and Extended Care".

Good luck.
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Reply to GardenArtist

If he was stationed n a war zone AND she is in assisted living, she will likely be qualified for Aid and Attendance Benefits. There is no specific threshold in the legislation, but the general guideline that the VA uses is $80,000 in assets.
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Reply to jjariz