From Nikki’s interview for the Masters of Estates & Probate series on ReelLawyers.com.
At Mitchell, Brown & Associates, LLC in St. Louis MO, our attorneys are knowledgeable and experienced in Veteran Benefits Planning and are ready to assist clients in obtaining VA benefits.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides wartime veterans and the surviving spouses of deceased wartime veterans a special monthly pension called Aid and Attendance. This pension may be available to wartime veterans and their surviving spouses who have in-home care or who live in assisted living facilities or nursing homes. To be eligible, the following requirements must be met:
- Veteran must have served at least 90 days of active military service, one day of which must be during a period of war (as defined by the VA); and
- Veteran must have been discharged under conditions other than dishonorable; and
- Veteran must be permanently and totally disabled or over 65 years of age;
- The permanent and total disability must not be due to willful misconduct of the veteran; and
- For surviving spouses, the surviving spouse must have been married to the veteran at the time of the veteran’s death, must not have remarried and must have been married at least one month prior to the veteran’s death or have a child by the veteran.
- The claimant must require the “aid and attendance” of another person to perform their activities of daily living, such as bathing, feeding, dressing, toileting and protecting himself from the dangers of his daily environment, or
- They must meet the net worth requirements.
- The claimant is bedridden, or
- The claimant is a patient in a nursing home because of a physical or mental incapacity, or
- The claimant is blind or nearly blind in both eyes; and
- The claimant must have a limited income and net worth.
Aid and Attendance is awarded along with the service benefit or the housebound benefit. The application process can take as long as six to eight months. If the claimant qualifies, however, the pension award is effective from the first date of the month following the VA’s receipt of the application. The laws governing VA benefits are complex, and filing a claim can be time consuming and confusing.
We encourage you to contact our St. Louis attorneys to get the advice you need. Together, we can discuss your long-term goals and advise you on planning that will allow you to reach those goals.