The VA to the Rescue

Shirley and her daughter Betsy recently visited the office of an elder law attorney. Betsy was concerned because her mom recently entered an assisted living facility and did not have sufficient income to pay the monthly cost. Shirley only had $90,000.00 in assets and her monthly shortfall to the assisted living facility was $1,100.00. Shirley knew her assets would not last long and she wanted to make sure she had as many options as possible.

After a brief conversation with the attorney, she discovered that Shirley’s husband was a veteran of World War II who had served for two years. Even though Shirley’s husband died eight years ago, the attorney was excited to tell them that Shirley may be eligible for a little known but important benefit of up to $1056.00 per month from the Veterans Administration. Shirley was confused as her husband was not retired military. She had talked to the Veterans Administration and was advised no benefit was available to her. The attorney explained that the benefit was for veterans or their surviving spouse to help pay medically-related expenses, and while Shirley was not currently qualified for the benefit, the attorney told her that with some simple planning, she could be eligible in less than 30 days.

In order to qualify for this benefit, three criteria must be met. First, the veteran (Shirley’s husband) must have served a minimum of 90 days in active duty. Shirley was confident this requirement had been met. The second requirement was that at least one of the 90 days of active duty must have been served during wartime. Since Shirley’s husband served in World War II, she was confident he had met that condition. The third requirement was that Shirley must be able to meet certain income and asset criteria. Shirley became concerned because the attorney told her that she had too much money to qualify, however, he assured her that with some simple planning, she would be eligible within 30 days. Shirley was ecstatic. She began planning with the attorney immediately and he assisted her in applying for benefits the next month. Shirley now receives $1,056.00 each month from the Veterans Administration to help pay for her assisted living care. Shirley was relieved to know that the benefit would continue even if she was able to return home. Both Shirley and Betsy were thrilled that they were able to preserve Shirley’s assets and provide her with many options for the long term.

A surviving spouse, who qualifies for this Veterans’ Aid and Attendance Benefit, normally would receive $1,056.00 per month as a surviving spouse of a veteran. A single or widowed veteran may receive up to $1,644.00 per month. If the veteran is married, he or she can receive up to $1,949.00 per month.

Only an attorney or agent who is accredited with the Veterans Administration can assist with the application for benefits. As an accredited attorney, he/she is unable to charge Shirley for any work assisting with the application. The McCoy Law Firm, LLC has attorneys with the Veterans Administration who are ready to help you determine if your client qualifies for these benefits.

If this type of planning is interesting to you, please call our office to set up a time to discuss VA planning.