The Elder and Disability Law Firm, APC Dec. 5, 2017

California veterans and their spouses might be eligible for a benefit to help to pay for their long-term care. Only 5 percent of the money that is set aside for this benefit is accessed because many eligible people simply do not know that the program exists.

Called the Veterans Aid & Attendance Pension benefit, the program provides monthly benefits to eligible people that they can use to pay for their long-term care needs, including in-home care, private-pay nursing home care, board and care or assisted living communities. The benefits are paid on a tax-free basis and may be used in addition to other types of benefits for which the recipients might also be eligible.

In order to receive the benefits, applicants must meet certain eligibility guidelines. Veterans must have served in the military on active duty for a minimum of 90 days with at least one day occurring during a qualifying war. The veteran or his or her surviving spouse must meet a means test. Under this test, the assets held by the veteran or the surviving spouse must total $80,000 or less, which does not include the family home or car. People who are approved for the program may receive monthly tax-free benefits in different amounts. Veterans may receive up to $1,794 per month; their spouses may receive up to $1,153 per month and couples may receive up to $2,127 per month.

There are several different types of veterans' benefits for which people may be eligible. An experienced disability lawyer may guide clients through the application process. If they are denied, the attorney may help them with their appeals of the denials. People who have served in the military and their spouses may be eligible for benefits because of their service to the country, and an attorney may help clients to access the benefits that they deserve.

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