What the veterans in our nation have done for us is without compare. Our daily Iives are made possible by the sacrifices of these brave men and women. When it come to helping our veterans when the return home or as they age, how much do you know about the services available to them?
I find most of my clients, even my veteran clients, don’t know the full extent of the benefits the Department of Veterans Affairs has for them. For example, they know that if they are injured while in combat there are benefits to compensate the. They don’t know, however, that there may be benefits available if they were injured while on active duty but not in combat. The seniors I work with also don’t know that there are medical conditions that occur later in life that due to wartime service automatically qualify them for benefits.
Disability compensation is only piece of the puzzle. It remains the benefit that y clients are most knowledgeable about but can be one of the harder to obtain why we can discuss compensation benefits and if they apply to your situation, here are three benefits I want to bring to your attention as well.
1. Funeral benefits. While many of my clients have heard there are funerals benefits, such as an honor guard at the ceremony or a marker for the headstone of their veteran loved one, they don’t know what the full benefits cover or how to apply for them. The VA offers extensive services you can learn more about at Burial and Memorial Benefits you can learn more about by clicking this link.
2. Pension benefits. Pension benefits may be the most misunderstood of all the Veterans Affairs benefits. I still often hear it referred to as the “widow’s pension” and I believe this is because it is available to the surviving spouse of the veteran. Pension is an amount paid to veterans with qualifying active service during statutory periods of war. This determination has nothing to do with active service but there is a disability requirement to qualify for it. What surprises most of my estate planning and elder law clients is learning that the Department of Veterans Affairs presumptively considers them “disabled” by turning age 65. These benefits are increased when there is a need for housebound or aid and attendance benefits. There are health, income and asset qualifications to receive VA pension and the amount changes slightly every year.
3. Long-term care benefits. A little heard of benefit with the VA are the long-term care and geriatric services available to veterans. This is region specific, and you would want to check with your local VA office to determine what is available, but there may be respite care, home health services and supportive programs for diseases like Alzheimer’s available in your area. You can learn more about Geriatric and Extended Care Services by clicking here.
As Abraham Lincoln said: “Honor to the soldier and sailor everywhere, who bravely bears his country’s cause. Honor also to the citizen, who cares for his brother in the field and serves, as best he can, the same cause.” Let’s learn about the services available to the veterans around us so we can better support them.