A little known benefit for veterans and their spouses
The veterans of our country are entitled to health benefit programs from our federal government; however few take advantage of the Non-Service Connected "Improved Pension" benefit, commonly referred to as the Aid and Attendance benefit. The program's purpose is to assist veterans, as well as spouses, widows or widowers of veterans, with paying out-of-pocket medical expenses. This little known veterans' benefit could potentially become a significant source of financial aid for long-term care services provided either at home or in a facility. Unfortunately, most veterans do not know about it, or how to apply.
Though nearly 1/3 of veteran seniors qualify for the Aid and Attendance benefit, government statistics show that only 5 percent are actually receiving it. Mark Fried, Accredited Veteran Service Officer, Registered Investment Advisor and President of the TFG Wealth Management, an independent financial planning firm based outside of Philadelphia, recognized the lack of benefit information available to veterans in the community. Fried has taken action to not only bring awareness to this underutilized benefit, but is also
responsible for helping more than 50 veterans and their spouses receive in excess of $500,000 this year. These benefits will continue for as long as the Veteran or their spouse is living. "It is unfortunate that most eligible veterans do not know that the Aid and Attendance program even exists," states Fried. "I've personally worked with veterans who have struggled to pay the high costs of assisted living or home health care, and have gladly helped them attain the benefits entitled to them. This program offers veterans up to $1,949 per month in assistance for their out-of-pocket medical costs."
Fried and his staff are on a mission to create awareness about the Aid and Attendance program, and have outlined the specifics below...
WHO IS ELIGIBLE?
To qualify, the veteran must be at least 65 years of age or have a medical qualification of disability, meaning he or she requires the regular assistance of another person to perform daily tasks. The veteran must have served 90 days or more of active duty for any branch of the armed services with just one day served during an official war time period, as designated by Congress. Veterans who were dishonorably discharged do not qualify. Widows or widowers of veterans are eligible to participate in these benefits, if they qualify medically and/or financially. Applicants may only receive the Aid and Attendance benefit if they are no longer actively serving.
WHAT TO EXPECT
The Aid and Attendance benefit can provide up to $1,632 per month to a veteran, $1,055 per month to a surviving spouse, or $1,949 per month to a couple, in addition to monthly pension rates. It takes 4 to 6 months on average (depending on volume) to process an application. Applicants who are 70 years of age or older may request that their application process be expedited.
HOW TO APPLY
Applicants must complete the VA Form 21-526 (veterans) or VA Form 21-534 (spouses). This form is available at www4.va.gov/vaforms/. The applicant must also include a letter, all required documentation and evidence of their age or disability. For additional information visit http://www.vba.va.gov/VBA/ or call 1-800-827-1000.
If you require assistance with the application process, a qualified veterans' benefits consultant can help you apply for benefits. Start by contacting your regional VA office. This is the office that has jurisdiction over the claim.
Fried has helped numerous veterans and their families to apply, re-apply or correct their application to ensure they are receiving the maximum benefits for which they qualify. In honor of Veterans Day, anyone who has additional questions about the Aid and Attendance benefit program may contact Mark Fried or his staff. They are available to answer any questions regarding the qualifications and application process. Call his office at 866-296-8156 or visit www.tfgforveterans.com.
Fried is also available to speak in front of community groups, at senior centers, retirement communities, assisted living and nursing homes.
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