You have to try to accept some inconvenient truths when you are planning ahead for the future. After your active retirement years start to wane, it may become harder and harder for you to go about your activities of daily living.
At some point, assistance may be needed, even if it is hard to envision it right now. Just over 50 percent of seniors need some type of paid care eventually, and many others get the help they need from unpaid family members and friends.
When it comes to the financial part of the equation, long-term care is very expensive, even if you are receiving it in your own home. Medicare is not the solution, because it does not cover custodial care.
Fortunately, there is a partial solution for some veterans in the form of the Aid and Attendance Pension.
You have probably heard about the retirement pension that military veterans can receive after a minimum of 20 years of service. The VA Aid and Attendance Pension is entirely different.
In order to qualify for this benefit, you must be able to prove that you need help with your day-to-day needs. The length of service requirement is 90 days for someone that began their service prior to September 7, 1980. It is 24 months of active duty for those that joined at a later date.
This is a benefit for wartime veterans, so in addition to the length of the tour, at least one day of wartime service is required.
Of course, since the Aid and Attendance Pension is intended for people with disabilities, you have to be able to prove that you need assistance with your activities of daily living.
The pension was created for veterans that have a certain level of financial need, and in 2018, a hard asset limit was established. There are annual adjustments to account for inflation, but in 2023, the net worth limit is $150,538.
Your net worth is calculated by adding your income to your assets that are considered to be countable. If you are a homeowner, the property would not count, and one motor vehicle is also exempt along with items in your home that would not be moved if you relocate.
You cannot find out that you need living assistance and give assets to your loved ones so you can qualify for this pension immediately. There is a three-year look back period, so divestitures must be completed at least three years before you submit your application.
If you violate this rule, you are not permanently ineligible. Your eligibility would be delayed by one month for every $2,642 that you transferred.
2023 Veterans Aid and Attendance Pension Rates
A veteran that does not have any dependents can receive a maximum benefit of $26,752 in 2023. For a married person or someone with another dependent the benefit tops out at $31,714 this year.
In the unlikely event that you are a qualified veteran that is married to a former service member that qualifies for the pension, the max benefit would be $42,433.
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