I am interested to know whether anyone can give me accurate information about WHO is eligible for VA benefits. My husband has dementia and, undoubtedly, I will need some help. I prefer (doctor does as well) to keep him at home as long as possible. Several people have suggested that we apply for VA benefits for help in caring for him at home, as he was in the Army. He was not involved in a war, although I'm quite sure his Army stay overlapped with the Korean War. He has no service-related disability. At least two persons continue to insist that we apply for these benefits, stating that he does not matter whether he was in service during wartime, whether or not he has a disability, AND that current income does not matter. We have been told by the local office (without an application) that his income/resources are too high. He has the normal retirement that a State employee has (was a teacher). Both individuals who insist we make an application have more income/resources than we. I agree with others I've seen on this website - the VA or any other government programs are (intentionally, I think) difficult to understand and, seemingly, hard to apply for or receive. Any thoughts or helpful suggestions?

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Sherry, thanks for taking the time to offer suggestions. I appreciate the thoughts!

Dad's assets have been in a revocable trust for years. It's the value of the assets that triggers the VA threshold limits. This gets technical, so I will check it out when we see our EP attorney in the next month or so, but my uderstanding is that since my father is the Settlor of his Trust, the assets are attributable to him whether they're in trust or not.

Our attorney told me that income taxes are prepared the same way as if no assets were in trust. I take that to mean that the value of the liquid assets, which generate the income, would also be attributable to him for tax and therefore VA qualification purposes.

I will qualify this issue though; it's a good point that you've raised.

I've called the VA in Virginia as well as spoken to local reps in the county VA office as well as one of the VA hospitals. The professional advocates I've met and with whom I've spoken use VA qualification as an excuse to find out what his portfolio is, and make suggestions to restructure it, so I have very strong negative feelings about them.

It's kind to think about my mother, but she died in 2002.

The other issue is that my father's still active enough to make Aid & Attendance a questionable need. I feel he needs help; he doesn't, and the doctors joke that they hope they're as strong as he is when they're 95.

Again, I appreciate your concern.
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When i applied for my mother, i was told that my father had to have been in combat duty in wartime. I had to prove it through father's naval records. Also, it took over a year to get an answer from the va. I had to get help from a state senator to get any response from them. Good luck!
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Dear Garden Artist, In my understanding the VA isn't like Medicaid with a look-back period. He can put his assets into a revocable trust and draw benefits that way as long as the income from the assets of the trust don't exceed the income limits. I'm not an expert on this, but there should be a professional advocate out there somewhere who can help your dad get the $1800 per month and probably something for your mom.
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Not only is current income a factor, but so are household assets, which includes stocks, bonds, IRAs and other financial products.

My father is a WWII vet but doesn't qualify for assistance because of his assets - he saved frugally during married life to have an old age fund, which now prevents him from getting VA assistance. Go figure.

Contact your local county office to determine if they have a VA office. In my experience and in my area, these folks are very, very knowledgeable. The office is tasked with helping veterans, they will prepare the application and supporting data for you, and they don't charge.

If you like geometry, you can wade through the VA website. Determining qualification is much like a geometry problem: If A, then H, I J, K or L. If not A, then M, N, O, P...and so on. It's a nice mental workout.

There's also an excellent publication, "Federal Benefits for Veterans Dependants (sic) and Survivors". I have the 2012 Edition; I don't know if there have been subsequent updates.

It's published by the VA, for sale through the US Superintendent of Documents, 866.512.1800 (as listed in the booklet; I haven't checked to see if there's been an updated phone number.)

There's a document number, which I believe is the ISBN: 978-0-16-090303-8.

I got a copy of this at a county VA booth at one of the AAA Expos, held annually in my area. I've also found it at the township senior citizens center.

Elected officials, especially any on armed forces or related committee, might have copies available for free.
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Income does matter! I am not sure how much money he draws, but my mother couldn't get my father's VA until she divested herself of most of her savings. He can own his home. I'm not sure of the income limits, but they take into consideration his medical bills which they use to offset income. Medical bills can also include a sitter or nurse. You need to find a VA consultant. I'm not sure if the VA will furnish you with one or if it's a private service. A friend of mine has someone handling her dad's VA application and it seems to be helping out a lot because the VA doesn't want to pay out anything but they have to if the numbers are right. You might have to hire the person and pay them to take care of him so that you can get a letter from this person that you pay him/her X dollars. That's what I had to do with my mother. My father was a WWII vet.
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