April 26, 2022

Veterans' Benefits for Seniors in Florida

Posted by Bishop L. Toups | In Elder Law

Are You Caring For A Senior Veteran In Florida? They May Have Benefits

Many families in Florida who are caring for an aging Senior Veteran here in Florida are unaware of the many benefits that the Department of Veterans Affairs offers. The most important benefit that can provide monthly, tax-free payments to the Veteran is called Aid and Attendance (also known as the VA pension). In fact, there are 25 million Veterans eligible for some type of VA benefits, and the majority of them do not even know about Aid and Attendance pension benefits.

Eligible Veterans are entitled to this VA monthly pension to offset the cost of necessary health care. In order to be eligible, the Veteran must meet the following requirements:

  1. The Veteran must have served at least 90 days of consecutive active duty service of which at least one day was during a period of war; or
  2. During a period of war and was discharged or released from service for a service-connected disability; or
  3. For an aggregate of 90 days or more in two or more separate periods of service during more than one period of war; and
  4. The Veteran must have received a discharge other than dishonorable.

If a Veteran meets the above classification and also meets an income/asset test below, the Veteran can be eligible to receive up to $2,295 tax free each monthly for the rest of his or her life (adjusted for cost of living). Additionally, the Veteran’s spouse will also be eligible for the pension if the Veteran dies before the spouse.

If you’re a Veteran or are taking care of a Veteran in Florida, the skilled VA attorneys at at Daily, Montfort & Toups can help you qualify for the VA pension benefit.

We are a Veteran owned law firm and have offices in Sarasota, Venice, St. Petersburg, Osprey, and Clearwater, Fliroda. You can schedule your free consultation today.

How Much Does the VA Aid and Attendance Benefit Pay?

  • Maximum Monthly Benefit for Single Veteran: $1,936.50 (2021)
  • Maximum Monthly Benefit for Surviving Spouse: $1,294.91 (2021)
  • Maximum Monthly Benefit for Married Veteran: $2,295.75 (2021)
  • Maximum Monthly Benefit for Married Veteran Couple: $3,056.75 (2021)

All of the monthly payments are completely tax free.

Which Veterans Can Receive Aid and Attendance Benefits from the VA?

There are three major eligibility criteria that the VA looks for in approving aid and attendance benefits: service, medical, and financial.

(1) Service: The Veteran must have served for at least 90 days of active military duty and one of those days must have been during a wartime period. This doesn’t mean the Veteran needed to deploy during the wartime period—the Veteran could have served their 90 days of active military duty while here in the U.S.

Tip: Vietnam is the only wartime period that requires boots on the ground. Vietnam requires boots on the ground up until the end of August 5, 1964.

(2)  Medical: The Veteran must meet one of the following conditions below to qualify for Aid and Attendance:

  • The Veteran needs assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). ADLs include assistance with bathing, showering, toileting, feeding, dressing/undressing, incontinence, ambulating, keeping oneself clean and presentable, dressing and undressing, and adjustment of a special prosthetic or orthopedic device.
  • The Veteran is incapacitated, physical or mental, and requires care and assistance on a regular basis to protect the Veteran from hazards or dangers incident to his or her daily environments.
  • The Veteran is blind or so nearly blind.
  • The Veteran is a patient in a nursing home.
  • The Veteran is totally bedridden.

(3) Financial: The Veteran must also meet an income and asset test to qualify for Aid and Attendance. The asset test requires that the Veteran can only have $130,773 (2021) in household net worth. While $130,773 seems low, the VA excludes the value of the home, a reasonable amount of land the home sits on, and automobiles used for personal use.

The income test reduces the Veteran’s aid and attendance benefit dollar for dollar by the Veteran’s monthly income. However, medical expenses are deducted from the Veteran’s monthly income. There are a number of ways to reduce the Veteran’s monthly income so that the Veteran receives the full aid and attendance benefit.

Tip:

The VA only has a lookback period of three years (as opposed to five years fro Medicaid planning). A Veteran who is over assets but may need care in the future can take advantage of this three year look back period by transferring assets to a Veteran’s Asset Protect Trust (VAPT) that would bring the Veteran’s asset levels below the $130,773.

If you’re a Veteran or are taking care of a Veteran in Florida, the skilled VA attorneys at at Daily, Montfort & Toups can help you qualify for the VA pension benefit.

We are a Veteran owned law firm and have offices in Sarasota, Venice, St. Petersburg, Osprey, and Clearwater, Fliroda. You can schedule your free consultation today.

Bishop L. Toups

Bishop L. Toups is an estate planning, elder law, and tax attorney in Southwest Florida.

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