Veteran Benefits Planning
Thousand Oaks Elder Lawyer
If you or your spouse served a minimum of 90 days in the armed services and at least one of those days was during any U.S. wartime, you may be able to collect a veteran's benefit pension. This is a non-service connected pension, which means that the veteran is not required to have a disability related to their military service. These non-service connected pensions, including the underlying health benefits, are not widely known and therefore are under-utilized.
The levels of pension are generally classified as basic, housebound, or regular aid and attendance. Monthly pension payments increase depending on which of these classifications the veteran meets. While the calculation used to determine the exact benefit amount is somewhat complicated, in 2013 it could be as much as $2054 per month for a disabled veteran and his or her spouse, or $2,631 per month for two married veterans both receiving regular aid and attendance pension.
If you are interested in determining if you qualify for veteran benefits, please contact Pederson Law Offices at (805) 495-3444.
How can you determine if you qualify?
Three basic hurdles exist in order to determine if you are a candidate for one of these types of pensions:
- Medical Qualification - In order to receive "basic pension", the veteran must be permanently and totally disabled. All veterans age 65 and older are considered automatically to be permanently disabled, even if they are not. To receive "housebound" pension, the veteran or surviving spouse must not be able to leave the home unattended, or leaves unattended only for medical appointments. For "aid and attendance," the veteran or surviving spouse must require ongoing assistance with activities of daily living, as prescribed by a physician.
- Income Qualification - Without elaborating on the extensive calculations utilized to determine eligibility, the basic formula is that the annual income from all sources, less annual unreimbursed medical expenses, must not exceed the Maximum Annual Pension Rate the veteran or surviving spouse would be entitled to. The pension benefit the veteran or surviving spouse will receive will only be as large as is required to bring the veteran up to Maximum Annual Pension Rate.
- Net Worth Qualification - There is no set limit as to the amount of net worth the veteran or married couple may have. Rather, when analyzing the application, the VA representative is charged with determining whether the countable assets of the veteran and spouse are "such that under all the circumstances, including consideration of the annual income of the veteran, the veteran's spouse, and the veteran's dependent children, it is reasonable that some part of the corpus of such estate be consumed for the veteran's maintenance" CFR Chapter 38, Section 3.274(a). Experience of many practitioners find that the general limit for married couples is $80,000, and for a single veteran or surviving spouse may $50,000 in countable assets. However, these are just guidelines and are not to be relied upon in planning for eligibility as many other factors come into play.
Contact our Ventura County attorney!
We have the ability to help clients discover if they meet the requirements, and which type of pension they may receive, based on their qualifications. Our lawyers have been serving Ventura County since 1978, and we are constantly assisting new clients with their veteran benefits needs.
For those who wish to determine if they are eligible for veteran benefits, please contact our firm today at (805) 495-3444 to schedule your initial consultation.