Understanding Veteran’s Benefits

Understanding Veteran’s Benefits

Although millions of American veterans, disabled veterans, and their families qualify for veterans’ benefits, few receive them. What accounts for this tragedy? This is due in part to confusion over the benefits and eligibility requirements as well as the complexity of the application and approval process. Understanding veteran’s benefits in Florida can be complicated, but we are uniquely qualified to help!

Amy B. Van Fossen is a Florida veterans’ benefits attorney accredited by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for the preparation & presentation of aid and attendance (A&A) claims. She has the professional license to assess your situation and help determine if you may be eligible. If so, she will guide you through the process with consideration and respect, working hard to make sure you receive the maximum benefit amount available for your military service.

CLICK HERE FOR Florida VA Benefit Information

Variety of Veteran Benefits Available in Florida

Depending on your eligibility, it is possible that you may qualify for some or all of the additional benefits and/or supportive services listed below:

    • Military and Veterans Assistance Program
    • Financial Literacy and Insurance Assistance
    • Agriculture and Consumer Services for Veterans
    • Salute our Soldiers Military Loan Program
    • State Women Veterans’ Coordinator
    • Florida’s Homeless Veterans
    • Florida State Veterans Home
    • Florida Educational Benefits
    • Florida Property Tax Exemptions for Veterans
    • Florida Burial Benefits for Veterans
    • Florida Memorial Benefits for Veterans
    • Motor Vehicle Licensing and Fee Exemptions for Veterans
    • Recreational Discounts and Fee Waivers
    • Veterans Florida (to start a business or new career)
    • Florida Employment Benefits for Veterans
    • Florida Legal Services for Veterans

Veterans’ Pension A&A Benefits Can Change

Elderly veterans with service during a wartime period may be entitled to vital pension benefits to cover expenses under the Veterans Aid and Attendance (A&A) pension program. A surviving spouse of a military veteran may also qualify for pension benefits. Unfortunately, the Department of Veterans Affairs is constantly considering changes that can impact eligibility rules and the calculation of benefits. We are well-respected for our dedication to protecting the interests of seniors in all manner of long-term care planning matters. With the potential changes to the A&A laws, it is more important than ever for military veterans to seek the help of a qualified elder law attorney who has knowledge of the rules and experience to make the request for benefits.

Changes to A&A Law

The VA defines a veteran’s net worth. However, these rules can occasionally change their calculation of “countable” assets and income. Additionally, A&A may have “countable” requirements related to one’s primary residence and the amount of land it sits upon.

It is important to consult with your attorney regarding any current penalties for transferring assets prior to applying for pension benefits. Depending on the “look-back period” for asset transfers, there could be a delay in pension benefits. Given the seriousness of these potential penalties and/or delays, it is vital for eligible veterans or the surviving spouse of a veteran to speak with a VA-accredited elder law attorney for guidance before making any decisions that could create a costly mistake.

Additionally, beware of untrustworthy annuity advice. Florida teams with annuity salesmen and saleswomen, offering veterans’ benefits and planning assistance. However, their goal is often a quick sale at the expense of the veterans’ long-term financial needs. Purchasing an annuity within the “look-back period” may delay your entitlement to pension benefits.

Because our lawyer is VA-accredited, you can feel confident that you and your family will receive knowledgeable, reliable advice that will help protect your assets — not squander them. Even many members of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs do not fully understand the intricacies of veterans’ benefits law, so consult an attorney who concentrates in this area of practice.

Veterans’ Aid & Attendance Benefits

Providing the Money You Need to Pay for Health Care

The VA Aid and Attendance program provides pensions to help qualified veterans or eligible widowed spouses pay for health care. It also allows for a family member, such as a son or daughter, to provide this care. The Aid and Attendance program can be used to help pay for in-home skilled nursing care, medical care, assisted living rent, medical insurance premiums, prescription drug co-pays, and much more.

Our law firm has assisted veterans and their widowed spouses in Brevard County to preserve their assets and remain in their own homes for as long as possible by using other financial resources, such as the VA Aid and Attendance pension program.

Eligibility for VA Pension Benefits

You may be eligible if you did not receive a dishonorable discharge and your income limits meet those set by Congress.

And, at least one of the following is true:

  • You were an active duty service member before September 8, 1980, you served at least 90 days on active duty with at least 1 day during wartime
  • Your active service as an enlisted person began after September 7, 1980, you serve at least 24 months or the full called or ordered active duty period with at least 1 wartime day
  • As an officer, you began active duty after October 16, 1981 and had not previously served on active duty for at least 24 months

And, at least one of these are true:

  • You are 65+ years old
  • You are permanently disabled
  • You are in a nursing home or long-term living facility due to liability
  • You are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income

Eligibility for Aid & Assistance Benefits

Additionally, the A&A program will provide financial assistance to qualifying veterans and the widowed spouses of veterans via a monthly benefit if they meet at least one of the following requirements:

  • Daily activities like bathing, feeding, and dressing require the help of another person
  • Illness requires you to stay in bed or spend the majority of your day in bed
  • The loss of mental or physical abilities due to disability has you living in a nursing home
  • Limited eyesight such that with glasses or contact lenses, you have only 5/200 vision or less or a visual field of 5 degrees or less

Eligibility for Housebound Benefits

If you have a permanent disability that requires you to spend most of your time in your home, you may be eligible for housebound benefits. Please note, A&A and housebound benefits cannot both be received at the same time.

Do not assume that your net worth or income is too high to qualify for a pension. Talk to Melbourne Veterans’ Aid and Attendance attorney Amy B. Van Fossen to see if you are eligible to make requests for benefits. Learn more about VA Benefits at our Seminars.

This article was originally published in April 2021 but has been updated for accuracy and freshness. 

Know the Differences in Medicare and Medicaid

Know the Differences in Medicare and Medicaid

Medicare and Medicaid are two essential ways that people obtain health coverage and other important financial coverage. But, because they are both government health insurance programs and sound similar, it can be hard to remember which is which. If you or your loved one is planning for their golden years in Florida, it is important to know the differences in Medicare and Medicaid.

What is Medicaid?

Medicaid is a government program that operates jointly between the federal government and the state. The purpose of Medicaid is to help with medical costs for those who qualify based on limited income. The reason it is a joint federal and state program is that the federal government has general rules that all states must follow, however, each state is responsible for running its own program. Coverage for people here in Florida may differ from those in other states.

Medicaid Eligibility, Costs, and Benefits

As mentioned, the Medicaid programs in each state differ and, they can change each enrollment period. If you are interested in considering the eligibility requirements in Florida you can view the current standards here. If an individual is eligible for Medicaid, they will have no out-of-pocket costs for covered services. This includes inpatient and outpatient hospital care, doctor visits, prescription drugs, preventive care, diagnostic, and screening services, and coverage for nursing home facilities.

Upon the 65th birthday, individuals who are eligible for Medicaid can then become dually eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare.

What is Medicare?

Medicare is a federal government health care program. The purpose of Medicare is to provide health insurance for individuals 65 years of age or older regardless of household income, as well as people under age 65 who have certain conditions or disabilities. Unlike Medicaid, where health care costs and coverage may vary from state to state, Medicare coverage is the same in every state.

The 4 Parts of Medicare

Medicare is a broad term that covers four plan options for medical care that may be needed. Note, Medicaid Parts A and B are often referred to as “Original Medicare.”

  • Medicare Part A: Hospital insurance or inpatient care

  • Medicare Part B: Medical insurance or outpatient care

  • Medicare Advantage Parts C: Voluntary private insurance

  • Medicare Part D: Private prescription drug coverage

Can I Have Medicaid and Medicare at the Same Time?

Yes! A person who has both Medicaid and Medicare for health care needs is known as being “dual eligible.” When this occurs, Medicare is typically the primary health insurance with Medicaid providing subsidized benefits through Medicare Savings Programs.

Medicaid and Medicare are similar to one another in both name and purpose but they also have some key differences regarding age, income eligibility, state differences, etc. If you or your loved one are seeking to understand how Medicaid and/or Medicare may be able to help you obtain the healthcare coverage you need, contact our knowledgeable elder care lawyers today.

3 Reasons the VA May Terminate Benefits

3 Reasons the VA May Terminate Benefits

Veterans who have served our country deserve to be rewarded for their service and cared for in the years after. This is why benefits awarded by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs are so crucial to so many. The VA may award benefits directly to veterans or to spouses and dependents. Regardless of what kind of benefits you are receiving, you likely want to ensure that nothing will interrupt them.

According to the Washington Times, the VA mistakenly canceled benefits for thousands of veterans and their families. Errors such as this one make it necessary that you know why benefits may be stopped and what to do if yours are. Consider the following three reasons why the VA may cancel your benefits.

  1. Clear and unmistakable error

If the VA awards benefits as a result of a clear and unmistakable error, the discovery of this error would trigger the cancellation of any benefits you were receiving. Such errors are typically quite rare, but when they happen, it can be a complex situation. The VA might mistakenly award benefits to the wrong person, for example, at which point the agency would revoke the benefits.

  1. Discovery of a fraudulent claim

Any benefits that the VA has awarded on the basis of a fraudulent claim will, of course, be subject to cancellation. There are many factors that might constitute fraud, but one of the most common is falsely claiming injury or disability as a result of service. A fraudulent claim might also include claiming nonexistent dependents or simply exaggerating one’s disability.

  1. Discharge disqualifications

There are some types of discharge that may disqualify you from receiving VA benefits. If you received a dishonorable discharge or your discharge is under investigation, you may be ineligible to receive benefits, and the VA may cancel them. Any dishonorable discharge conditions will prohibit you from receiving VA benefits of any kind—including payments and home loans.

Errors occur. In these moments you’ll be thankful you’re working with a VA-accredited lawyer. Amy B. Van Fossen will ensure you and your family have access to knowledgeable, reliable advice that will help protect your assets — not squander them.

Medicaid Planning 101

Medicaid Planning 101

With Americans living longer than ever before, nearly half of all women and one-quarter of all men will likely live in a nursing home or long-term care facility at some point in life. Considering the high cost of such care and the fact that Medicare will not pay for it, the unfortunate reality is that the majority of men and women go broke within the first year of entering a nursing home. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid this scenario.

At the Florida law firm of Amy B. Van Fossen, P.A., our Melbourne, Florida, Medicaid planning attorney can make sure you get the care you need without losing all of your life savings. One way we can help you accomplish this is through what is known as non-crisis Medicaid planning.

If you are healthy now but want to ensure that you have a plan in place to protect your assets if you do become incapacitated, this may be the route for you. Life estates, annuities, promissory notes, and trusts are just some of the tools we can put to work on your behalf. It is important to remember that the sooner you contact our Melbourne Medicaid planning attorney, the more options we have to assist you.

Let Us Help You Deal with A Crisis

If a loved one was recently admitted to a nursing home after an unexpected medical crisis or hospitalization, you may have been told that he or she has too many assets and is, therefore, not eligible for Medicaid assistance.

However, our lawyer’s job is to understand the complex laws surrounding Medicaid eligibility. We may be able to help you qualify for this financial assistance and protect your assets even if social workers, nursing home staff, and others say it cannot be done.

Learn More From Our Florida Nursing Home Care Lawyer

Is a loved one facing a Medicaid crisis situation, or do you simply want to create a plan for nursing home care in the future? Either way, our Brevard County Medicaid health plan lawyer is here to help. Arrange an initial consultation by calling us or send an e-mail. We will put all our knowledge and legal tools to work for you and your family.

Medicaid Planning 101

Medicaid Planning

Medicaid Planning

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