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New Jersey Veterans’ Aid & Attendance
“People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”– RichardGrenier
Night after night, as we go to sleep, there are men and women who stand guard in defense of our freedom. Veterans have fought in wars, risking their lives in order to defend and preserve freedom for the country. If not for them, we would not be where we are now. It is therefore imperative that we remember their sacrifice and give the gratitude and honor due to them and their families.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers our veterans many benefits, including the Improved Pension consisting of three tiers:
- Basic Pension. A wartime veteran who reaches the age of 65 is considered disabled by the Veterans Affairs, even without a disability. To be eligible for pension, a veteran must be honorably discharged and must have served 90 days or more of active duty, with at least one day during a period of war. A veteran must also have a countable family income below a law-mandated limit.
- Housebound Pension. This is the second level of the Improved Pension for veterans. This pension is for veterans and their surviving spouses who wish to remain in their own home or in the home of a family member. It is applicable for those who need regular assistance, but are not as limited as those who would qualify for the third level, Aid and Attendance. To be eligible, a claimant must have care provided by caregiver agencies or family members who must be reimbursed for their services and care. Claimants for this pension are also required to present a physician’s statement to certify the state of their health and an accurate accounting of expenses incurred for their care.
- Aid and Attendance Pension (A&A).This is the highest level that can be granted to a veteran or a surviving spouse who needs assistance with their daily needs like bathing, dressing, feeding, adjusting prosthetic devices and other daily activities.Veterans who are bedridden, blind and those who are living in a nursing home due to mental and physical incapacity are also eligible for this kind of pension. Applicants for this pension must submit a detailed physician’s report regarding their medical condition, and how this condition affects the applicant’s daily activities. This report should also state in detail how well the applicant goes about a typical day.
(*It is to be noted that veterans who are not eligible for the Basic Pension because their countable income exceeds the set limit may apply and be eligible for either the Housebound Pension or the Aid and Attendance Pension based on the conditions they are in.)
Maximum Monthly Pension Rates (effective December 1, 2014)
Veteran With One Dependent (Married Veteran)
Basic Pension $1,403.00
Basic Pension plus Housebound Benefit $1,642.00
Basic Pension plus Aid and Attendance Benefit $2,120.00
Veteran With No Dependents (Unmarried Veteran)
Basic Pension $1,072.00
Basic Pension plus Housebound $1,310.00
Basic Pension plus Aid and Attendance $1,788.00
Surviving Spouse (Did not remarry)
Basic Pension $719.00
Basic Pension plus Housebound $879.00
Basic Pension plus Aid and Attendance $1,149.00
Veteran Spouses Who Apply Together
Basic Pension $1,403.00
Basic Pension plus Housebound $1,642.00
Basic Pension plus Two Housebound Veterans $1,880.00
Basic Pension plus A&A $ 2,120.00
Basic Pension plus One Housebound & One A&A $2,357.00
Basic Pension plus Two A&A Veterans $2,837.00
A child financially dependent onthe parents before their 18th birthday
$183.00 (per child)
Service Dates Eligible for Pension
- World War II – December 7, 1941 to December 31, 1946
- Korean War – June 27, 1950 to January 31, 1955
- Vietnam I (must have served “in country”) – February 28, 1961 to August 4, 1964
- Vietnam II – August 5, 1964 to May 7, 1975
- Mideast Conflicts – August 20, 1990 to Present
Unfortunately, most veterans miss out on claiming these benefits because they do not have enough information about those that they are eligible for. For instance, most families fail to take advantage of the A&A Pension simply because the veteran himself is still physically and mentally well, even if he has a spouse who is ill. In this situation, the veteran can apply for the pension as Veteran with a sick spouse if the medical expenses incurred due to the illness drains their combined family income.
The A&A Pension can aid in veterans’ families expenses for care in the home or assisted living facilities like nursing homes, so even surviving spouses can apply and be eligible for it. It must be noted that pension is a benefit and does not depend on injuries sustained by the applicant during his active service.
As reported, many veterans are being denied health care benefits due to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ efforts to curb the increasing cost of health care. However, according to Veterans Affairs officials, veterans need only to tap into the A&A Pension benefit to help them offset medical expenses. A study conducted by the VA yielded information that only a fourth of eligible veterans nationwide and only 17 percent of eligible surviving spouses are taking advantage of the pension. Those who qualify for A&A will also get full health care and prescription benefits, as the A&A pension program tallies all unreimbursed medical cost against a claimant’s income.
However, in a survey conducted by the VA office a few years back, it was suggested that most veterans all over the nation do not understand the benefits they can apply for – be they college tuition or pension, medical care or disability payments. Moreover, most veterans encounter many challenges completing VA applications, as they do not get enough support they need. Yes, there are veteran service officers (VSOs) employed to aid veterans in understanding and applying for benefits, but there are some VSOs who are not fully equipped to help the vets.
Giro Elder Law, LLP can help you with your pension application and other needs. Our attorneys are well versed with the intricacies of pension benefits application and are ready to provide you and your family comprehensive consultation. We will carefully analyze your income and expenses to prepare a pension plan tailored to give you maximum benefits allowable. We will represent your party in the entirety of the application process.
Help us help you! Please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also drop by our office at 90 Main Street, Hackensack, New Jersey, 0760. Telephone number 1-201-932-0203.
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