Two little-known benefits available to vets or their widows are the Improved Pension and the Aid and Attendance Program.
The Improved Pension is an asset and income based program available to vets or their widows whose assets and income are below certain levels as adjusted annually for inflation.
The Aid and Attendance Program provides additional benefits if the vet or widow is age 65 or older and is permanently and totally disabled. Anyone requiring nursing home care is automatically considered disabled for purposes of qualifying for this program.
Eligibility for either program requires the vet to have served 90 days of active service with at least one day of service during wartime with no dishonorable discharge. Vets who entered service after September 8, 1980, may have a longer minimum period of service.
The benefit levels for 2011 are as follows:
- Up to $1,644 per month for a single veteran
- Up to $1,949 per month for a married veteran or a veteran with one dependent
- Up to $1,057 per month for an unmarried widowed surviving spouse
These are valuable benefit programs for American vets. If you or someone in your family is eligible for these enhanced VA benefits, the VA will assist in helping you qualify.
For more information, go to www.vba.va.gov/
- James M. O'Reilly, Certified Elder Law Attorney