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.