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  • Social Security and VA Pension benefits: A winning combination for long term care costs

Most seniors receive some form of Social Security or government pension from their working years. This monthly payment is an average of $1,328 a month for 2015. The average amount paid for assisted living per month nationally is $2,880 a month. This leaves the senior with a shortfall gap of $1,552 that must be taken from the savings of the senior or be a contribution from family and friends.

The VA Pension (“Veterans Improved pension with aid and attendance”) is a program from the VA that pays a monthly tax free payment to veterans and their widows to cover the cost of long term care. For 2015, a widow of a veteran can receive $1,149 a month and a veteran can receive $1,788 a month. This money can be used to close, or even eliminate, the shortfall gap. For a widow of a veteran, that shortfall gap of $1,552, to only $403 a month making the care much more affordable. For a veteran, the shortfall gap is completely eliminated, resulting in a positive amount of income after expenses of $236 a month.
As is clear from the examples, for many veterans and widows, receiving VA pension benefits can cover all or a significant part of long term care costs. There are several qualification requirements to receive VA pension, and detailed information about these requirements can be found under the VA pension tab on this website. As the planning involved touches on many issues, including tax and the availability of other long term care benefits, it is advisable that you consult an attorney who is experienced in elder law.