Veterans

Are You a Veteran or Surviving Spouse?

By Greg Starrs, Owner/President, StarResource, L.L.C.

 

First, thank you for your service (or your loved one’s service). My father is a Korean Conflict (War) veteran, so from first-hand experience, I can say that it is difficult to know about the benefits available to veterans and surviving spouses.

 

There are, at least, two (2) benefits that many don’t know about-and they can be difficult to understand and apply for.

 

The first is the Home Health Aide Program.

  • Authorization is started by your VA physician referral (a non-VA physician cannot make the referral) to the VA Home Health Aide Program.
  • The Home Health Aide Program will assess and authorize for personal care/homemaker services.
  • Your provider will receive reimbursement from the Veterans Health Administration.
  • Note-the authorization will typically be for a small amount of hours per week or per month.

 

The second benefit, which many don’t know about, is the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Benefits Administration, Aid & Attendance and Housebound Pension Benefit. Note-Important changes happened with this benefit during October 2018.

  • A pension benefit, with monthly payments that may be up to $34,837 per year.
  • Visit https://www.benefits.va.gov/pension/aid_attendance_housebound.asp for detailed information.
  • Recommend talking with a VA Service Officer or experienced professional for detailed information.
  • What is it?
    • A special pension benefit which is used to pay for a caregiver to assist in the daily activities of living, including eating, bathing, dressing and mobility. Includes care in the home and in assisted living communities. Sometimes it includes care in a nursing home if the patient is blind or has mental or physical incapacity.
  • Who Qualifies?
    • Veterans who served in the following war time periods (includes spouse/surviving spouse). Veteran must have served 90 consecutive days active duty, with at least 1 of those days during a war time period, even if they were not in a combat zone.
      • World War II: 12/7/1941-12/31/1946 (90 days active duty)
      • Korean Conflict: 6/27/1950-1/31/1955 (90 days active duty)
      • Vietnam Era : 8/5/1964-5/7/1975 (2/29/1961 for veterans who served “in country” (Vietnam)
      • Persian Gulf War: 8/2/1990-
    • Financial Qualifications:
      • Limits on assets (excluding home and vehicles) and income/expenses. This is where important changes happened during October 2018.
    • How to apply:
      • Assisted by Veteran Service Organization/Service Officer-no fees-referrals provided.
      • Assisted by professional-such as elder law attorney-no fee to collect, complete and submit forms-they may be able to provide other services (POA, wills, trusts, estate planning) that they will charge for-referrals provided.
      • Assisted by private company-no fee to collect, complete and submit forms-once benefit is received may be fees to coordinate and administer services.

 

Questions? You should have plenty! These are difficult benefits to understand and apply for. StarResource assists veterans, surviving spouses and family members with information and referrals to help. Call us at (314) 432-7827 to get started!

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