Philadelphia VeteransBenefits Lawyer
Philadelphia Veterans Benefits Lawyer
The US was built through the efforts and dedication of its military, which is why it can be disheartening when veterans experience challenges in getting the benefits they need for care and financial support. According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), there are approximately 820,000 veterans currently living in Pennsylvania, and more than 55 percent of them are 65 years or older. Within this age group, around 7 in 10 will require some form of long-term care services. Because monthly costs for a private nursing home are around $11,000 and $4,500 for in-home care, it is understandable that you have concerns about how veterans’ benefits might apply.
Our team at Scott Counsel, P.C. is dedicated to helping our respected veterans navigate the complicated process of dealing with the VA. We have in-depth knowledge of the laws, which enables us to develop sound strategies to overcome challenges. Our attorneys focus on seeking your hard-earned Aid and Attendance and pension benefits, but we are prepared to advise you on related perks. Please contact us to schedule a consultation with a Philadelphia veterans benefits lawyer who can explain the details. It is also helpful to review some background information.
Summary of VA Pension Benefits
There is a wide range of benefits available to honorably discharged veterans regardless of age, including no income tax, property tax exemption, and pensions for service members who are blind or paralyzed. However, as you grow older, you might focus on some of the benefits for retirees and the elderly. Retirement benefits work differently than for civilians, so you can start collecting a pension as early as age 37. Veterans also enjoy a cost of living adjustment each year, and the COLA for 2022 is substantial. Even surviving family members can draw a portion of your retirement in some cases.
For those who retired after January 2018, your pension works according to the Blended Retirement System (BRS). This approach draws from two potential sources of income:
- The annuity that you receive if you remain in the military for more than 20 years; and,
- The Thrift Savings Plan is a government-operated 401(k) account that allows you to invest and receive a contribution from your employer.
Another important benefit for veterans relates to health care, and every package is different. You may be entitled to treatment for medical conditions, future health issues, and other care that enhances your quality of life.
Special Considerations on Veterans Benefits for Long-Term Care
Two specific programs should be of interest to elderly veterans who are eligible or already receiving a VA pension:
- Aid and Attendance: If you are facing financial woes and struggling with the high costs of long-term care, the Veterans Aid and Attendance (A&A) benefit could alleviate the strain. The amount would be in addition to the monthly VA pension you receive. To qualify, you must meet one of the following criteria:
- You need someone to help with your daily routine and activities, such as personal care, hygiene, and feeding.
- You are required to remain in bed or stay in bed for hours out of the day because of illness.
- You are a patient in an assisted living facility after losing mental or physical capabilities related to a disabling medical condition.
- You have substantial vision issues, which means you only see at 5/200 or less in both eyes after corrective lenses.
Surviving spouses of eligible veterans may also qualify for A&A for their own needs, which is considered a non-service-connected pension because the need for care does not stem from serving in the military.
Note that A&A may go by other terms, such as:
- VA assisted living benefit;
- Veteran long-term care; and
- Veteran eldercare benefits.
A closely related concept is Housebound benefits, intended to provide financial support for veterans who mostly stay at home because of a permanent disability. Rules prohibit veterans from receiving both A&A and Housebound benefits at the same time.
- Pension Benefits: If you qualify, you may be able to receive monthly payments on top of your pension – often why pension benefits are referred to as “improved” pension. You may be eligible if:
- You did NOT receive a dishonorable discharge.
- Your income and assets fall below the threshold established by law. All personal property is included when calculating net worth, but you do not count your home, vehicle, and furnishings.
- You are at least 65 years old, suffer from a permanent, total disability, or receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
There are additional criteria if you meet these threshold requirements, and they relate to your military service during wartime. The details vary based upon when you served in active duty, how long, your position, and other factors.
Legal Assistance with Veterans Benefits
Though having a lawyer does not make the VA work faster to approve your claim for benefits, you gain an advantage and reduce hassles when you have representation. Our Philadelphia veterans benefit attorneys at Scott Counsel, P.C. are ideally positioned to help because we handle these matters frequently. Our experience enables us to develop strategies and employ tactics that open the door to prompt approval. We are prepared to:
- Gather medical evidence and other proof you need to establish eligibility;
- Help with forms;
- Address issues and follow up with the VA;
- Challenge disability ratings you believe were issued in error; and
- Advocate on your behalf during hearings and proceedings before the US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC).
Trust a Philadelphia Veterans Benefits Lawyer to Protect Your Rights
At Scott Counsel, P.C., our commitment to estate planning and elder law make us uniquely positioned to assist veterans in dealing with the VA as they grow older. If you are a veteran or caretaker seeking additional information about Aid and Attendance, please call (856) 672-7248 or go online to reach our firm. We are happy to set up a consultation with a Pennsylvania veterans benefits attorney. Once we learn more about your circumstances, we can advise you on options and discuss strategy.
– When my son, who has Cystic Fibrosis and CF related diabetes, was suddenly and unexpectedly removed from his Medicaid program, we were devastated and frightened not knowing where we would get the resources to pay for his extremely high priced prescriptions. Justin was the attorney who handled our case. From the very beginning, he proved to be very thorough and experienced with navigating the process of reversing the Medicaid decision. However, it was his apparent kind, caring nature that made us feel the most at ease. Justin was successful in securing a continuation of benefits for my son, and we are extremely grateful for having his expertise during this most stressful ongoing process. Thank you, Justin!
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