Getting the word out about the Aid and Attendance Pension Benefit

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Little-known benefit makes a big difference
by Debbie Burak

There is a well-hidden benefit through the Department of Veterans Affairs called S-38, Aid and Attendance Pension Benefit. It can represent up to $20,000 a year to help take care of our parents, as many of us are now faced with acting in the capacity of caregivers. If one or both of your parents were in either the Korean War or WWII, this information could prove to be a vital resource for you.

I discovered this benefit at the passing of my father, when I had to move my mother to another assisted living facility. Had I known of this benefit during the seven years both my parents were in assisted living, it could have represented well over $160,000 to help meet their needs, which exhausted family members who had to step up.

The day I learned of this benefit, I fell to my knees in gratitude, as my sister and I were at our wits end trying to cover the $1,000 a month my mother was short for all her care. And we had no place to turn…

     

A high percentage of the elderly in this country today served in the Korean War, or even WWII, and that means there is an extraordinary number of individuals who are eligible for this benefit, which might explain why it is kept so quiet and away from those who stand to benefit the most.

We talk about honoring our veterans, we build memorials, we have parades … but then we withhold critical information that would allow most to live above their current standard. Where is the dignity in all this?

The requirements for eligibility are:

Any war veteran with 90 days of active duty, at least one day beginning or ending during a period of war, is eligible to apply for the Aid & Attendance Special Pension. The surviving spouse (marriage must have ended only due to death of the veteran) of a war veteran may also apply. The individual applying must qualify both medically and financially.

To qualify medically, a war veteran or surviving spouse must need the assistance of another person to perform daily tasks, such as eating, dressing, undressing, taking care of the needs of nature, etc. Being blind or in a nursing home for mental or physical incapacity, or residing in an assisted living facility, also qualifies.

To qualify financially, an applicant must have less than $80,000 in assets, EXCLUDING their home and vehicles.

I personally filed for and was awarded this benefit on behalf of my mother, the widow of a WWII veteran. In memory and honor of my parents, I created a website dedicated to this benefit with the hope of being able to make a difference for someone else. I’ve walked in these shoes, and know the heartache when faced with these difficult decisions.

If you think you might be able to take advantage of this benefit, please visit www.veteranaid.org for a more detailed explanation of the benefit, and how it works.

It is my sincere hope that you, or someone you love, will find you have better choices that honor service and sacrifice.


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