If you served your country in the United States Armed Forces, or you are a surviving dependent of someone who did, the country owes you a huge debt of gratitude. Although that debt can never be repaid, the government does make an effort to give back to veterans and their dependents by providing them with a variety of veterans benefits. If you are a veteran, you may already know about many of the benefits to which you are entitled. To make sure you are receiving all your benefits, the Kansas City veterans benefits attorneys at Parman & Easterday explain some of the common benefits to which you may be entitled.
The veteran’s pension program provides monthly benefit payments to certain wartime veterans and their survivors with financial needs. The veterans pension program is a needs-based benefit paid to a wartime veteran and his/her survivor(s). A veteran may be eligible if he/she:
- was discharged from service under other than dishonorable conditions, AND
- served 90 days or more of active military, naval or air service with at least 1 day during a period of war, AND
- countable income is below the maximum annual pension rate, AND
- meets the net worth limitations, AND
- is age 65 or older, OR is shown by evidence to have a permanent and total non-service connected disability, OR is a patient in a nursing home, OR is receiving Social Security disability benefits.
Note: Veterans who entered active duty after September 7, 1980, must also have served at least 24 months of active duty service. If the total length of service is less than 24 months, the Veteran must have completed his/her entire tour of active duty.
Veterans Aid and Attendance Program
The Veteran’s Aid & Attendance (VA&A) program is the program that administers the Veterans pension. It provides monetary assistance to veterans to help cover the costs of activities of daily living, such as dressing, bathing, medicating, transporting or cooking should he or she need to hire someone to help or requires assistance in a community setting, such as in an independent or assisted living facility, memory care unit, or nursing home. As of 2020, the VA&A program pays up to $2,266 per month to an eligible veteran with a spouse or dependent (or up to $1,228 per month to the widow/widower of a veteran) who is in need of aid and attendance from a health care provider. To be eligible for VA&A benefits as a surviving spouse you must be eligible for DIC benefits, be 65 or disabled, your spouse cannot have been dishonorably discharged, and you must have been living with the veteran at the time of death and single at the time of your claim.
Medicare and Veterans Benefits
It is possible to qualify for both Medicare and veterans benefits. Medicare does not pay for any care received at a VA facility. For Medicare to cover your care, you must receive care at a Medicare-certified facility.
Surviving Spouse Benefits — Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)
The most well-known benefit available to a surviving spouse is Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC). Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a tax free monetary benefit paid to eligible survivors of military Servicemembers who died in the line of duty, or eligible survivors of Veterans whose death resulted from a service-related injury or disease.
- To be eligible as a surviving spouse:
- You must have been married to a Servicemember who died on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training, OR
- Validly married to the Veteran before January 1, 1957, OR
- Married to the Veteran within 15 years of discharge from the period of military service in which the disease or injury that caused the Veteran’s death began or was aggravated, OR
- Married to the Veteran for at least one year, OR
- Had a child with the Veteran, AND
- Cohabited with the Veteran continuously until the Veteran’s death or, if separated, not be at fault for the separation, AND
- Not currently be remarried
The current basic monthly rate of DIC is $1,340.14 for an eligible surviving spouse and this is tax exempt income. The rate is increased for each dependent child and if the surviving spouse is housebound or in need of aid and attendance.
Contact an Kansas City Veterans Benefits Attorney
For additional information, please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have questions or concerns about veteran’s benefits, contact the experienced Kansas City veterans benefits attorneys at Parman & Easterday by calling 405-843-6100 or 913-385-9400 to schedule your appointment today.
Yes. Most veterans program that provide a monetary benefit set an amount that applies when both spouses are veterans.
Yes. In most cases, there is a procedure in place that allows you to appeal if you were denied benefits. You may need to do so within a short time frame though.
Housebound benefits are part of the Veterans Aid & Attendance program. The qualification requirements are similar; however, as the name implies, housebound benefits are available if the applicant is housebound and meets all other eligibility requirements.