At MorningStar, Every Day is Veterans Day
We are privileged to count among our residents many veterans from all five branches of the military service. Words fail us when we sit at their feet, and hear stories of raw courage and self sacrifice—all in the name of Country and Honor and Duty.
As we come to know new families interested in MorningStar Senior Living, and learn of their veteran status, we are pleased to direct them to local resources that can ease and quicken the application process for “Aid & Attendance,” the monthly benefit payments extended through the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs to certain wartime Veterans (and to their survivors) with financial need who have physician orders for regular assistance with the activities of daily living.
Qualifying veterans must have served at least 90 days of active duty, with at least one day served during a period of foreign war, and the discharge must be something other than dishonorable. Beneficiaries need not have served overseas, retired from the military or seen combat. (A Surviving Spouse must have been married to the Veteran at the time of death and never remarried.)
This Special Pension will pay up to: $2,084/mo for Veteran with Spouse; $1,758/mo for single Veteran; $1,130/mo for Surviving Spouse; $2,790/mo for two Married Veterans; $1,380/mo for when Veteran is healthy and the Spouse requires care. Funds can be used to pay for any kind of assistance, including assisted living. The pension is a tax-free benefit paid directly to the qualified applicant. The National Care Planning Council (www.longtermcarelink.net) estimates that up to 25% of seniors could potentially apply for Aid & Attendance.
In preparing a claim for Aid & Attendance, Veterans deserve the best and most educated advisors, ones legally authorized to give such specialized advice. In other words, they deserve VA accredited individuals. Accreditation means the authority granted by the VA to representatives, agents and attorneys to assist claimants in the preparation, presentation and prosecution of claims for VA benefits. Federal law dictates that no one may help a veteran in the preparation or an initial claim for VA benefits until that person is accredited.
Every state has a Department of Military/Veteran Affairs staffed with Veteran Service Officers (VSOs). Their assistance in completing the 41-page Aid & Attendance application is free of charge. When done properly, the process takes 3-4 months. However, in our experience, often VSOs will not help seniors whose net worth exceeds $70,000, advising them to wait and apply after some period of spend-down.
For this reason, there remains need for a VA Benefits Consultant who, by rearranging assets, can enable vets to qualify immediately, regardless of net worth. Remember there is no “look-back period” for this benefit as there is with Medicaid. The VA only cares what your financial snapshot is the day you apply.
Unfortunately, many organizations who purport to help veterans with their claim have ulterior motives. While they may have patriotic names, many are backed by financial companies with products to sell.
Others, however, are independent, accredited A&A benefits consultants. They charge a flat, one-time fee (typically around $900), and should also be able to explain Medicaid eligibility, if that need ever arises. Typically, such consultants offer a one-hour free consultation at which families should have handy their financials and discharge papers.
Please ask us about how best to secure your well-deserved, tax-free benefits. It’s our pleasure to present options, though, of course, we leave the chosen course entirely up to you.