People that serve in the United States Armed Forces for a minimum of 20 years receive “retired pay,” which is the term that is used in military circles to describe a retirement pension.
In addition to this benefit, there is a Veterans Pension for wartime veterans that were not necessarily careerists.
The Aid and Attendance Veterans Pension is an enhanced version that is available to some former service members, and we will provide an overview in this post.
The Veterans Pension without the Aid and Attendance designation is available to veterans that are 65 years of age and older, even if they do not need help with their activities of daily living.
To qualify for the Aid and Attendance version, you have to be able to prove that you need living assistance, and there is a length of service requirement for the Veterans Pension in general.
If you joined the service on or before September 7th of 1980, you need 90 days of service with at least one day beginning or ending during wartime. For others, the threshold is 24 months unless you completed an official tour of duty that did not span 24 months.
This benefit is for veterans with financial need, so there is a net worth limit. The hard limit is a relatively new development that came about via legislative mandate in 2018. In 2021, the limit is $130,773. It encompasses most of your assets and your income.
The good news is that your home and one motor vehicle are not countable assets, and appliances and any other items that you would not bring along if you moved are not counted.
Divestitures and Look-Back Period
You could potentially divest yourself of assets to qualify for this pension, and it was very easy to do prior to the changes that were implemented in 2018. Someone could give away assets today and apply for eligibility next week, and the assets would not count.
Since this was not consistent with the spirit of the program, a look-back period was put in place. These days, you have to complete all gift giving at least three years before you apply for the Veterans Pension.
If you violate this rule, you are deemed ineligible for one month for every $2295 that you give away.
2021 VA Aid and Attendance Pension Rates
During the current calendar year, a single eligible veteran can receive a benefit that can be as high as $23,238. If you are an eligible veteran with a spouse or another dependent or dependents, the maximum benefit is $27,549.
In some cases, two veterans that are eligible for the Aid and Attendance pension are married to one another. Under these circumstances, the max benefit is $36,861 this year.
For the standard Veterans Pension, the top benefit for a single person is $13,931, and it is $18,243 for people with at least one dependent.
There is a third designation for housebound veterans that cannot qualify for Aid and Attendance. Single housebound veterans can receive up to $17,024 a year, and the figure goes on to $21,337 for veterans with dependents.
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- How Estate Planning for a Family May Trap the Unwary Practitioner - August 31, 2022
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- Understanding Tax Apportionment Clauses - August 17, 2022