VA Pension is a benefit from the federal government that pays for the long term care for veterans and their surviving spouses. This benefit pays monthly cash payments to veterans and their surviving spouses that can be used to cover a broad range of medical expenses, including assisted livings, independent living, and at home health care. The benefit is not dependent on a service connected injury, but rather looks to the current medical needs of the veteran or surviving spouse. The maximum benefit per month ranges from $1,159 for a widow to $1,788 for a single veteran to $2,120 for a veteran with a spouse.
Like many federal programs that cover the cost of long care, the VA Pension has asset and income tests that applicants must meet to receive the pension. An experienced elder law firm can provide assistance in planning to meet the asset and income rules using a customized approach that preserves the applicant’s assets, while making them eligible for VA pension. This process can involve the use of annuities that convert that which the VA will classify as an asset into an income stream. This is an useful tool for qualifying a senior for VA pension, but it is not the only tool that should be considered.
Many of the companies that advertise assistance with qualifying for VA pension only use the annuity to make the senior qualified. While such planning does make the senior qualified for VA pension, it often unnecessarily restricts the assets of the senior. Seniors are well advised to seek the counsel of a VA accredited attorney that can advise on all the options for qualifying for VA pension.