As a Veteran (Captain, U.S. Air Force JAG) and military brat (His Dad was active duty for 22 years), Mr. Petersen is passionate about working with Veterans and their surviving spouses to maximize benefits that may be available to them and enhance their lives. This, in turn, gives comfort to their families, knowing that loved ones are receiving better care. He has worked on behalf of his parents, both World War II veterans, to obtain this benefit for them.
Many families struggle to provide necessary care for aging or disabled Veterans or their surviving spouses. Unfortunately, many veterans, their families, attorneys, and other client advocates are either unaware such programs exist or are unable to successfully navigate the VA bureaucracy. It is important to incorporate VA planning into estate, incapacity, and long-term planning.
Did you know that if a veteran served at least 90 days of active duty, one day of which was during wartime, they or their surviving spouse could be eligible for a VA pension to help offset the costs associated with assisted living, home health care attendants, a nursing home stay, prescriptions, or other health care issues? Their disability does not have to be service-connected. They did not have to retire from the military. They did not have to actually be in combat or even overseas. They simply have to meet the income and net worth criteria, and need assistance with their medical expenses. This is a little known and little-utilized benefit that veterans have earned and deserve.
What if you meet the service requirements and are medically eligible, but have too many assets or too much income to qualify? You may consider rearranging your assets and/or income to qualify, which may include re-titling or giving away assets, or establishing a Veterans Administration Aid and Attendance Pensions Benefits Trust. In our office, we call these trusts, "VA Asset Protection Trusts." Making these types of changes is perfectly legal, but doing so properly can be complicated. There are also many tax minimization or elimination steps that must be recognized and considered. Beware that some actions taken to qualify for VA benefits could create a penalty period, or perhaps even disqualify you entirely from receiving Medicaid benefits should they be needed. We can help you coordinate your VA benefits with Medicaid benefits.
Our office assists our clients with this application process. Application for Aid and Attendance Benefits is a complex and lengthy process. The forms are available for you to do this yourself, but be advised that if you apply and your application is denied, you must wait a year before you can reapply. For these reasons, many people seek our assistance in qualifying for the benefit and completing the application. Whether or not you use us to apply, we can help you to best plan in order to qualify for this benefit, while considering all other possible options such as other government programs such as Medicaid, Hospice, long term care insurance, or self-paying.
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