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Long-term care benefits for veterans

Older veterans and the surviving spouses in New York and the rest of the country may be entitled to certain long-term care benefits to which they may not be aware. These Veterans Administration benefits could help to alleviate some the financial burden brought on by long-term care expenses.

The Veterans Aid and Attendance Pensions Benefit is a program that pays up to $1,794, $1,153 and $2,217 each month to a veteran, surviving spouse and couple, respectively, to be applied to costs associated with long-term care. It can be used for board and care, assisted living, private-pay nursing home or in-home care.

This can be an invaluable help to veterans and their families as assisted living care is not paid for by Medicaid or Medicare. However, there are specific qualifications that have to be met before a veteran can apply.

The veteran is required to have had at least 90 days of active duty and must have been honorably discharged. At least one of those active duty days must have been during one recognized war.

There should also be a financial need. Specifically, the veteran or surviving spouse cannot have assets, with the exception of a vehicle and home, valued at $80,000 or more and qualify for the benefit. Income considered as assets include monthly income received by the veteran or spouse, such as IRAs, pensions and Social Security, less any expenses for in-home care or assisted living.

An attorney who practices elder law may work to assist a client with long-term care planning. The attorney may assist with submitting applications to the appropriate federal agencies that may provide financial assistance for medical costs and in-home nursing care. Assistance may also be provided for disabled persons who have to verify their disabled status to receive long-term care benefits.

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