Finally – Disabled Children of Military Retirees Can Receive the Parent’s Pension AND Keep Public Benefits
September 23, 2016
** This post applies only to families of military RETIREES – not enlisted soldiers. **
Upon retiring from the military, an employee has earned a pension. For a retiree with a disabled child, she has been able to designate that upon her (the parent’s) death, the disabled child could continue to receive the parent’s pension. The problem with this has been that the additional income resulted in a loss of SSI, Medicaid, and a host of other benefits for the adult disabled child.
Finally, after ten years of work by devoted advocates, we have the Disabled Military Child Protection Act signed into law. This law allows a parent to direct that after she dies, her pension will flow not to the disabled child, but to a special needs trust for the benefit of the child. The result will be that the child will have the pension income building up in the trust, which can be used to supplement her needs, and she will also keep her various public benefits.
In order to qualify, the special needs trust needs to have very specific language. If this scenario applies to you, be sure to speak with a special needs planning attorney before signing your retirement papers.
Veterans: Are You Getting Older, Need Care, and Want to Stay at Home?
February 27, 2014
Good news! The VA has several programs designed to assist elderly and/or disabled veterans who want to stay at home for as long as possible. Listed below are some of these programs. They each have different eligibility tests regarding income and assets, minimum age, level of disability, service-connected rating, and geography. If you are interested in any specific program, talk to the outpatient social worker at the VA clinic that you use.
1. Three hours of home health aides per week.
2. Skilled care at home.
3. Adult Day Health – the VA has contracts with many local adult day health programs.
4. TeleHealth (a computer in your home permits a remote nurse to monitor basic health indicators on a daily basis).
5. Home-Based Primary Care. For the truly home-bound, veterans can receive home visits from a team consisting of the PCP, occupational therapist, physical therapist, social worker, and more.
6. Veterans Independence Plus Program (VIPP) provides a budget for a veteran to bring in the care he needs to stay at home, including home health aides, grocery delivery, snow shoveling, visiting nurses, etc.
7. Respite care, meaning that the caregiver can take a break while the veteran stays at the Brockton Community Living Center for 9, 16, 23, or 30 days.
These programs are available only to the veteran. If the spouse or widow of a veteran needs help staying at home, she should look into Aid & Attendance. If you would like further help exploring these programs or other resources to help you stay at home for as long as possible, please contact our office to schedule a Planning Session.
Aid & Attendance
February 20, 2014
Most of my clients need a little extra help around the house but aren’t sure how to pay for it. When we look at their savings and project how long those funds will work for them, the bottom line is usually this: If the client had just a little more cushion, they could stay at home with the proper supports for longer. But where can they find the money?
For many of the Greatest Generation, the answer lies in Veterans’ Benefits. There is a fantastic program that few seniors and their families know about: Aid & Attendance. Once you qualify, the VA will send a monthly check that you can use to pay caregivers, buy medical equipment, remodel a bathroom to be wheelchair accessible, pay rent at assisted living – whatever you decide is the best and most effective use of that money. This is the most logical, pragmatic long-term care program I know of. It helps seniors stay at home or in an assisted living residence – and out of a nursing home – for longer. All without limiting you to certain home health aide agencies, rolling deductibles, and a lot of the impediments that come with other support programs.
For 2014, the figures are as follows: If the veteran needs assistance, the maximum amount that he or she can receive is $1,759 per month. If the spouse is the one who needs help at home, he or she can receive up to $1,380 per month. A widow can receive at most $1,130 per month. If you both need care, you can receive up to $2,085 per month. These funds can help supplement home care, and they can also be very useful if you move to assisted living.
The application process for the A&A program is not for the faint of heart. There are reams of papers to fill out (of course), and it can take at least six months to receive approval. More to the point, the VA regulations are hard to find, and if you can find them, impossible to understand. More than almost any other government program, you will need an elder law attorney or a qualified veterans’ representative to walk you through the planning process. Without this help, it is very difficult to obtain the maximum benefits you are entitled to.
In order to assist you, an attorney must be “certified” by the VA and take requisite training. I have made it my business to become certified and receive the necessary education so that I can help my clients stay at home for longer.
If you would like to explore whether A&A can help you pay for your care, please call our office.
Veterans Fair This Saturday in Hull
March 10, 2010
Come out to beautiful Hull this Saturday for a Veterans Health and Wellness Fair. This is being put together by the Hull Board of Health and the Hull Veterans Council, and it is shaping up to be a great event.
There will be blood pressure checks, immunizations, even yoga and reiki! They will also have a skin analyzer machine. There will be education on legal issues and general health matters, as well, and much more.
The event is open to the public – veterans of all ages and non-veterans alike. Refreshments and children’s activities, too!
Taking place at the Memorial Middle School on Saturday, March 13 from 10a – 2p. The school is on Nantasket Ave., behind the L Street playing fields – you can’t miss it.
Massachusetts Expands Veterans Benefits
November 12, 2009
On Veterans Day 2009, Governor Patrick signed into law a range of new or increased benefits for veterans. One component is additional “welcome home” bonuses for soldiers completing multiple tours of duty. Until now, they received a bonus only upon returning home from the first tour.
A forward-thinking provision is to allow veterans to use some of the education and training they received in the military to count towards state requirements when seeking certain state permits or certifications.
The law also allows the state to be more proactive in preventing veteran homelessness, by working with vets before they become homeless and by providing more housing.
Perhaps one of the most important provisions is increased social support to returning veterans and their families. Spotting needs due to mental health issues or physical impairments – and many of both can go undetected for some time – is critical to keeping vets and the families caring for them from unraveling. I hope that the state makes some real advances in social services and can become a model for other states.