Veterans Benefit

Sent to us by Frank Roche


 "Aid and Attendance"
 Regardless of your personal status, consider passing this along  to all veterans, families of veterans or

individuals with  veterans in their family.
 "Aid and Attendance" is an underutilized special monthly pension
 benefit offered by the Veterans Administration for veterans and
 surviving spouses who require in-home care or live in nursing homes.
 To qualify, a veteran (includes the surviving spouse) must have
 served at least 90 days of active military service, one day of
 which is during a period of war, and must be discharged under
 conditions other than dishonorable.
 The veteran's benefit is $18,234 annually (paid monthly) and
 increases to $21,615 if a veteran has one dependent.
 The surviving spouse alone is $11,715 annually.
 For more information, call  1-800-827-1000  1-800-827-1000

 A little-known veterans' benefit for long-term care expenses is
 available to wartime veterans and their spouses. But the benefit
 is being overlooked  by thousands of families, industry observers say.' Aid and Attendance&OVKEY=veteran aid and attendance&OVMTC=standard&OVADID=21594888521&OVKWID=196955357021
 The Special Pension for Veterans' Aid and Attendance pays up to
 $1,644 a month, $19,736 annually, toward assisted living,
 nursing homes or in-home care for veterans 65 and older who
 served at least 90 days and one day during wartime - stateside
 or overseas. Veterans and their spouses can receive up to
 $23,396 annually and spouses of deceased veterans, $12,681.
 Yet, an estimated $22 billion a year goes unclaimed, said Don
 Soard, a volunteer with Operation Veteran Aid in Oklahoma City .
 In 2007, only 134,000 seniors nationwide received the benefit,
 which was established in 1952. "Literally hundreds of thousands
 don't even know about it," Soard said. "Due to incomplete
 information, many disqualify themselves on income or assets or
 find the paperwork too burdensome."
 Streamlined process -
 Soard helps families complete the necessary forms, so that
 approval comes in four to six months. The process is streamlined
 for vets who are blind or have memory issues and widows with
 medical needs, he said. Most applicants qualify and payments are
 retroactive, Soard said. The few who are denied on excessive
 liquid assets can seek financial advice to qualify, he said.
 Soard started his volunteer mission two years ago, following the
 deaths of two family members who served in WWII. "If they'd
 known about this benefit, they'd have a much better quality of
 life in later years," he said. "Without it, many vets are forced
 to go on Medicaid."
  Oklahoma is one of nine states where the welfare program doesn't
 cover assisted living costs. Assisted living often can be an
 alternative to a nursing home when 24-hour skilled care is not
 an absolute need, said Willie Ferguson, executive director of
 Legend at Rivendell in Oklahoma City . "But if someone just has
 Social Security and a small pension, it's not enough to live
 here," Ferguson said. According to a 2008 MetLife survey,
 assisted living in Oklahoma averages $2,346 a month, while
 nursing homes cost $153 a day for a private room. Of 73 Legend
 residents, nine receive the veterans' special pension, including
 Tom Bowen, 77, of Moore . Until I toured this operation, I had
 no idea the benefit was available," said Bowen, a retired
 engineer technician from the Federal Aviation Administration
 who served stateside during the Korean Conflict. Bowen recently
 moved into the Legend facility following several mini strokes
 and a diagnosis of short-term memory loss. "It's been pretty
 hard trying to handle expenses on my own and being able to
 replace savings," said Marie Bowen, his wife of 57 years.
 Finding a nearby facility and learning about the special
 veterans' pension has been a godsend, she said.