When seniors and baby boomers begin making decisions once their current home becomes a burden, often the amount of money available limits choices. These very same people, however, were the ones who volunteered or were “volunteered” into the armed forces so many years ago. One common misconception about veterans benefits is only those injured qualify. That is simply not true and with some careful planning, you could qualify and receive a wartime service pension.
In order to qualify for this pension, Veterans must be 65+ served during a period of wartime (even if it was not actually on the field of battle.) World War II, Korean and Vietnam veterans, must have had 90 days of active duty with at least one of those days served during a declared time of war and have been discharged under any circumstance besides dishonorable.
Two years of active duty is required for Veterans serving during the Gulf War.
According to a recent article in FOX Business (published December 4, 2013,) this pension is the “Government’s Best-Kept Secret.” To be clear, veterans who are 65+, disabled Veterans and their spouses can (and must) apply for the benefit.
According to the article, “Veterans and their spouses can quality for a pension called the Special Monthly Pension with Aid and Attendance. It is designed to help elderly Veterans and widows pay for costly home care, assisted living expenses and/or nursing home costs.” As with any type of government benefit, however, financial qualifications must be met.
At this time of life, many veterans have accumulated assets. There may be a need to restructure these assets, like selling a home. It is necessary to complete the restructuring of assets prior to applying for the pension to avoid being denied this benefit.
There is also an application outlining the monthly, non-reimbursed, recurring health care expenses for the veteran or spouse. Additional forms outlining the monthly and yearly expenses need to be completed and sent in with the application. Other itemized forms from your doctor and/or facility are also required.
Once the proper paperwork has been completed and sent in, it could take one to six months to be approved. Obviously, if it is not done correctly, it could be denied and the entire process would have to be repeated, which further delays the approval process.
Obviously, completing the paperwork correctly the first time is essential. Veterans can contact their county Veterans Service Officer or go to the VA website, www.VA.gov.
As with any major change, it is always best to consult an expert on the subject rather then completing all the paper work alone and risking being denied for incorrect paperwork. No person or company is permitted to charge to help with the application process. You should always ask the agent or service if there will be a charge to the family for this assistance prior to the application process. An expert such as Kevin Gibson of Veterans Financial, Inc., can guide you through the daunting process The best way to start is by contacting Veterans Financial, Inc. at 1-800-835-1541 or visiting their website www.VeteransFinancial.com.
If you think you might be entitled to this pension, now is a perfect time to consult an expert. Once you are preparing for the application process, you can also contact a real estate problem solver to sell your home to make your transition easier. You’ve given a great deal for our country, now it’s our turn to take care of you.