Clients often have questions about the effect of gifts and jointly-owned property on eligibility for benefits, including Base Pension, Housebound and Aid and Attendance, from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Below I’ve collected some of the federal regulations governing how gifts and joint property will affect VA pension benefits. The authorities cited show that.. read more →

Senate Bill 748, entitled the “Veterans Pension Protection Act,” was introduced on April 17, 2013. The bill directs the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to consider the resources of individuals applying for VA pension that were disposed of for less than fair market value when determining the eligibility of applicants for pension benefits, including Homebound.. read more →

Fully Developed VA Claims The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has implemented a new process designed to expedite claims for VA benefits having all information required by the agency and all required supporting  evidence. The new process, officially titled in 38 CFR §20.1509(a) as the “Expedited Claims Adjudication Initiative-Pilot Program,”  is unofficially called the Fully.. read more →

Several months ago, I presented a program on Veterans Benefits and Social Security Disability Benefits at the Elder Law College, a seminar on Elder Law and Special Needs Law presented each year by the New Jersey Institute of Continuing Legal Education. I wrote a blog post summarizing the seminar material  presented at the Elder Law.. read more →

In recent years, applicants for Medicaid benefits in New Jersey have been incorrectly denied eligibility as a result of including as “countable income” the applicants’ Veterans Administration Improved Pension (“VAIP”) benefits awarded pursuant to 38 U.S.C. § 1541(d)(1) for unreimbursed medical expenses (“UMEs”). New Jersey’s Medicaid agency, the Department of Medical and Health Services (“DMAHS”),.. read more →

On Saturday, April 27, 2013, I presented a session on the impact of elder law issues on divorce mediation at the 2013 Annual Divorce Mediation Seminar by the New Jersey Association of Professional Mediators. The topics covered in my session included Social Security, including retirement, disability and survivors benefits, Supplemental Security Income benefits, Medicare, Medicaid,.. read more →

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is causing Medicaid applicants to be incorrectly denied benefits due to the way the federal agency is reporting the VA pension benefit to state agencies for the purpose of determining Medicaid eligibility. In that regard, the VA is issuing letters to state Medicaid agencies which breakdown the VA benefit.. read more →

In August, the VA’s inspector general said the weight of paper files at the agency’s Winston-Salem, N.C., office had compromised the structural integrity of the building. Photo Credit: Office of the Inspector General/Department of Veterans Affairs and the Center for Investigative Reporting read more →

It IS possible for a surviving veteran to receive Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) Benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) based on the deceased spouse’s military service as well as a VA Pension Benefit based on the survivor’s own military service, but any DIC award based on the deceased spouse’s service will be.. read more →

For years, clients have asked about pension benefits available from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Because of this consistent client interest, I’ve written about VA pension benefits with Housebound or Aid and Attendance Supplement in many blog posts over the years. However, one issue I haven’t blogged about yet involves calculating the amount of.. read more →

Must I be living in a care facility or receiving care at home before I apply for VA benefits? No, it is not necessary to be living in a care facility in order to apply for VA benefits. However, if you are in need of personal assistance, a protective environment and your doctor confirms your.. read more →

Veteran, Widowed Spouse, and Dependent or Disabled Child May Be A Claimant for VA Pension Benefits Veterans must have served ninety (90) days on active duty, one day of which was served during wartime. (Note: Those who enlisted after September 7, 1980 have a different active duty service requirement.) Veteran cannot have had a dishonorable.. read more →

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced it is cutting red tape for Veterans who receive VA pension benefits by eliminating the need for them to complete an annual Eligibility Verification Report (EVR). VA will implement a new process for confirming eligibility for benefits, and staff that had been responsible for processing the old form.. read more →

(I recently presented a program on Veterans Benefits and Social Security Disability Benefits at the Elder Law College, a seminar on Elder Law and Special Needs Law presented each year by the New Jersey Institute of Continuing Legal Education. A summary of the seminar material is presented below.) VA BENEFITS Veterans and their families should.. read more →

Following are the increased rates paid by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)  beginning in 2013 for Base Pension benefits, with Housebound and Aid and Attendance supplements. The higher rates include a 1.7% cost of living increase. For the Veteran Monthly VA Base Pension Benefits: Without Dependents: $1,037 With One Dependent: $1,359 Monthly Housebound Benefits:.. read more →

On October 26, 2012, David McLenachen, Director of the Pension and Fiduciary Division, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), issued Fast Letter 12-23. Described as a clarification of VA policy, this fast letter actually substantially tightened the eligibility criteria for veterans and others residing in senior or independent living facilities who apply for needs-based VA pension.. read more →

A variety of the benefits sought by disabled veterans through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) require the veteran to establish a connection between the veteran’s present disability and an event that occurred during the veteran’s active duty service. This is called establishing “service-connection.” Following is a list of the types of VA claims that.. read more →

Aid and Attendance is a benefit that is available through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to a qualifying veteran whose net worth is not “excessive” and who: is bedridden, or requires the aid of another person to perform activities of daily living, or is a nursing home resident, as a result of mental or.. read more →

New veterans are going online to find camaraderie or get their questions answered. Some websites utilized by new veterans follow: Community of Veterans: Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America: Veterans Aid: Veterans of Foreign Wars: VFW Post 1: American Legion: Department of Veterans Affairs: VA Health Care: read more →

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) pension program is intended to provide money benefits to wartime veterans in financial need. It is available to veterans aged 65 and older and those with non-service connected disabilities, as well as to their surviving spouses and dependent children. To be eligible for VA pension benefits, a claimant must.. read more →

Last year, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that “the VA’s failure to provide adequate procedures for veterans facing … delays in the delivery of mental health care violates the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment [of the Constitution].” In addition, the Court found stark evidence.. read more →

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently announced the release of 68 new forms that the agency anticipates will help speed the processing of veterans’ disability compensation and pension claims. These forms can be completed by private physicians, eliminating the need for a VA clinic examination in certain circumstances. “VA employees will be able to.. read more →

1. 2012 Maximum Pension Rates for VA Base Pension Plus Aid and Attendance Supplement Single Veteran – $1,703.00 Per Month or $20,447.00 Per Year Married Veteran – $2,019.00 Per Month or $24,239.00 Per Year Surviving Spouse – $1,094.00 Per Month or $13,138.00 Per Year Veteran Married to Veteran (Both A & A) – $2,631.00 Per.. read more →

Who Can Help Me Fill Out the Forms? Any non-accredited individual may assist with completing the forms; however, this individual is allowed to assist ONLY one person. A VA accredited agent or a service organization, such as your local State Veterans Office, VFW, or American Legion may help you, as well as a VA accredited.. read more →

Veterans and their families should be aware of the various benefits that may be available to them through the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”). I.       GENERAL HEALTH AND OTHER PROGRAMS The VA offers many special programs for veterans, among which are the following: Benefits for returning veterans: Health care for 5 years.. read more →