VA Benefits: Is Santa being nice to aging veterans this year?

As children eagerly await Santa’s arrival, aging veterans wonder what the upcoming year holds for them on the financial front.

Will food and gas prices hold steady? Will they rise? By how much? What about Social Security benefits? Will they increase in 2018? If so, how much? Are VA benefits included?

The short answer is yes. Veterans Pension and Social Security benefits will see a COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) increase in 2018. The increase is 2%, reported to be the biggest increase since 2012. It’s also been reported that it might not be enough to offset rising costs. Maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to thank Santa.

What benefits are available for aging veterans?

Not everyone knows this, but veterans over the age of 65 and their surviving spouses might be eligible for tax free pension benefits, along with something called Aid & Attendance. Sometimes referred to as A&A, Aid and Attendance refers to getting help from someone else with regular daily activities like bathing, dressing and feeding.

This table gives you an idea about the potential benefits:

How do you start getting benefits?

Benefits are not automatic, and not all qualify. The application is extensive and complex. No surprise there, but the effort might be worthwhile, depending on your situation. To qualify, several points are considered. The veteran’s service record, income, net worth, expenses, and so on. A good deal of information has to be compiled. It’s not for the faint of heart.

Why get an attorney involved?

Remember the last time Santa brought a gift that required assembly? Maybe the instructions felt like reading a foreign language. Maybe they were translated from a foreign language… poorly. Now think about government forms. Yeah. That.

Surely, Aid & Attendance benefits are helpful. For most, every bit of income matters. Properly applying and qualifying for those benefits, however, is an unhappy challenge. And if you get it wrong, your claim will be denied. It’s like getting a lump of coal, even though you haven’t been naughty.

Work with a VA accredited attorney

The attorney you choose is critical. As is often true in life and business, there are specialties within the legal profession. In this case, using a VA accredited attorney means that you’ll be able to easily work through the process without getting a lump in your throat. Or your stocking.

With Quinn Estate & Elder Law, you can be confident, knowing that you’re working with a that a VA accredited attorney. With help from us, you can be sure that all your assets are in order to prevent a denial of your claim. We will also help you put plans in place to make sure that your estate, asset protection and long-term care goals are met.

Do attorneys charge for the application process?

Attorneys aren’t allowed to charge for making application for VA Benefits, including Aid & Attendance. There are, however, the normal fees associated with creating wills, trusts and related documents. And it’s this kind of planning that all families should be doing, whether they’ve served in the military or not.