Attention Veterans - $2000 Tax-Free Dollars Every Month! Do you Qualify?

Posted on

Feb 06, 2018

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Its hard to imagine that there is a pension benefit available to veterans that is largely unknown to the veteran population. Less than five percent of our veterans know about it, and less than two percent ever get it. Its one of the most under-utilized federal pensions, and is available to many veterans. Congress has budgeted as much as $22 Billion USD for the program and, only about $330 Million USD of that amount is used. Thats amazing, when you consider that the maximum benefit to a married couple is more than $2000 a month, TAX FREE!
So, who qualifies? The Aid and Attendance Pension benefit is available to both single and married Veterans and/or their surviving spouses. If an honorably-discharged veteran served more than 90 consecutive days of active duty, and if just one of those days was during a declared war, that veteran meets the service requirement for this vastly under-utilized program. Combat is not required. Veterans should be aware that the service requirement is different for those who have served more recently in the post-Vietnam period. In those instances, the veteran needs to have served 2 years of active duty or the entire time required, if called up from reserve duty.

There IS a medical requirement, too. The veteran, to qualify, must be over the age of 65 (or, if younger than 65, must be totally and permanently disabled. Additionally, the veteran must need assistance with at least two of the activities of daily livingwalking, eating, toileting, bathing and dressing. Some other physical challenges, like poor vision, may meet the medical threshold, if they are severe enough.

The Aid and Attendance pension is designed to ensure that veterans have a certain amount of disposable income after an adjustment of unreimbursed medical expenses. If the veterans unreimbursed medical expenses equal 1.05 times his or her income, and the hosehold net worth is $80,000 or less, they qualify for the entire amount.

Suprisingly, many veterans find that they qualify when they are considering moving into assisted living. Thats because the VA regards any fees paid to an assisted living community as unreimbursed medical expenses. That fee is often the largest unreimbursed medical expense and often offsets a retired veterans entire income. Medicare premiums, co-pays and other expenses are also allowed deductions or adjustments to the household income.

If you wonder about your own qualifications for this terrific benefit, you should consult with a qualified elder attorney. If you qualify, the application process can be daunting and frustrating. Its wise to enlist the help of a trained professional who understands the rules and processes.

Editors Note: This article was submitted by Clark Wilcox, Elder Law Attorney with Whatley Wilcox PLLC.

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