Veterans Affairs
Pension Benefits Planning

Veterans Affairs veterans affairs

Many veterans and their families are surprised to hear that there are sometimes generous benefits available to them for their present and long-term care. 

Furthermore, the spouse of a deceased veteran may also qualify for benefits.  It’s something the United States offers as appreciation for those who served our country during times of war.

Stinson Law Firm can help you review your eligibility for these benefits.  In particular, Stinson Law Firm can review your eligibility for a little known cash benefit available to veterans and surviving spouses.

Known as “pension” and more often referred to as “aid and attendance,” this benefit is generally not related to a service-connected disability.

The pension benefit is income tax free and can help pay for long-term care, especially alternatives to nursing home care like assisted living and home care.

How to Qualify

In order to qualify, the applicant must be a veteran that meets certain service requirements (the surviving spouse must be widowed from such a veteran), must be disabled, and must meet strict income and asset limitations.

Financial barriers to eligibility can be overcome with a comprehensive legal plan.  We can outline your options and assist you in making an informed, well-reasoned decision on what approach is best for you.

Veterans Affairs veterans affairs
Veterans Affairs veterans affairs

My business is a part of me. I celebrate my clients’ achievements, and I suffer through their losses with them. They are getting a full investment out of me when they hire me. I enjoy working with folks, learning more about them, and not just focusing on the situation.

-Jeffery D. Stinson, Certified Elder Law Attorney

Veterans Affairs veterans affairs

My business is a part of me. I celebrate my clients’ achievements, and I suffer through their losses with them. They are getting a full investment out of me when they hire me. I enjoy working with folks, learning more about them, and not just focusing on the situation.

-Jeffery D. Stinson, Certified Elder Law Attorney

Frequently Asked Questions

Who gets VA pension benefits?

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides a monthly pension for qualified wartime veterans (or their surviving spouses) who are unable to work due to either a non-service connected disability or age.

Does the VA have a similar transfer of assets penalty similar to Medicaid?

VA regulations discourage individuals from certain transfers of assets to meet the maximum net worth limit. A claimant who gives away an asset (or sells it for less than it is worth) may be determined to be ineligible for VA pension for a period of time. This period of ineligibility is known as the transfer “penalty period.”

The regulation provides for a 36 month transfer review period. Transfers within the lookback period and in excess of $138,489(for year 2022) are subject to a monthly transfer of assets penalty calculated by dividing the total amount of transfers by the Maximum Annual Pension Rate (MAPR) for aid and attendance for a veteran with a dependent, or $2,431 (2022).The penalty period would begin the month after the transfer occurs and extends for the duration of the penalty period up to a maximum of five years.

What is the asset and income limit under VA pension?

The claimant must first pass the financial need test is to show that his or her household income is less than the Maximum Annual Pension Rate (MAPR). There are exclusions to income, or deductions, that may be made to reduce countable income. The most important of these deductions is a portion of unreimbursed medical expenses paid by the claimant or a member of his or her household. If a claimant’s countable income exceeds the MAPR, which is $19,320 for a claimant with one dependent, then the VA will issue a letter denying the benefit. If a claimant’s countable income is less than the MAPR, then the VA will reduce the MAPR dollar-for-dollar by the amount of the countable income to calculate the pension benefit.

For example, assume the claimant has one dependent and is eligible for the benefit. If a claimant’s countable income is $5,000, then the VA will award the claimant an annual benefit of $14,320. The VA would pay this amount on a monthly basis. So, the claimant would receive a monthly pension benefit of around $1,193.

The claimant must also show that his or her net worth is not a bar to benefits. The net worth limit is $138,489 (for year 2022). Net worth includes both the claimant’s countable income and his or her countable assets.

Can I hire someone to process my VA application?

VA law prohibits a representative to charge to process an applicant on behalf of the claimant. If a client of Stinson Law Firm requires assistance with a VA application, we will provide that service free of charge to our client.

Still have questions?

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