"My mother lives in an assisted living community and at times money is tight. My father died several years ago and was a Veteran, having served during World War II. We are hearing from advisors that come into the assisted living community that Mom may be entitled to VA benefits. Is this correct?"

Answer:  The VA will pay tax free income called “low income pension” to veterans or their widows, if they are disabled or over the age of sixty and have limited income and assets.  If the veteran is confined to the home (housebound) or in need of the assistance of another person to help them with their activities of daily living (walking, bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring, medication monitoring, etc.) or if they need supervision to keep them safe in their environment (aid and attendance), then the VA will pay an even higher amount of income to that person.

 All of the following criteria must be met before a veteran or widow(er) of a veteran can receive Improved Pension benefits:

1.   The veteran must have served at least 90 days of active service with at least one day of service during a wartime period.

 WWII                December 7, 1941 thru December 31, 1946         

Korean War        June 27, 1950 thru January 31, 1955

Vietnam Era       August 5, 1964 thru May 7, 1975 (if serving anywhere)

                       February 28, 1961 thru May 7, 1975 (if in Vietnam)

Persian Gulf       August 2, 1990 thru the present               

2.   The veteran must have received a discharge that is other than dishonorable.

3.   The claimant must have limited income and assets available.

4.   The claimant must have a permanent and total disability, and the disability was caused without willful misconduct of the claimant.

Assuming the criteria above are met, the VA can pay as much as $1,949 per month to a veteran who is married.  A widow can receive up to $1,056 per month.  Receiving this additional income can make the difference of whether a person can remain in their home or assisted living versus having to prematurely move to a nursing home on Medicaid due to lack of money to pay for private care.

Victoria L. Collier, Attorney at Law
The Elder & Disability Law Firm of Victoria L. Collier, P.C.
Decatur, Georgia
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