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Veterans Benefit Helps Pay for the Cost of Care in a Facility or at Home

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In our financial planning practice, we frequently meet with seniors and their family members who have health issues that make it difficult to live independently. The challenge is that many seniors cannot afford the cost of care and Medicare has very limited benefits payable for this type of care. Now there may very well be help available from an unlikely source.

There is a little known resource for wartime Veterans. Few know about this excellent source of funds for paying for care in an assisted living facility, nursing home, or even your home. The benefit is for seniors who are Veterans, or for surviving, unmarried spouses of Vets. 

This Veterans Affairs benefit has nothing to do with having a service-connected disability. I am discussing the “aid-and-attendance” or “housebound” program available to a Vet who requires assistance in daily living. A doctor must certify that the applicant has health conditions requiring aid and attendance of another person or care center in order to live safely.

The monthly benefit amounts are up to:

Married veteran:    $1843
Single veteran:        $1555
Surviving Spouse    $967

A Vet must have served at least one day during wartime. They must be determined to be “permanently and totally disabled” or over age 65. The VA generally accepts a letter from the person’s doctor as to their disability.

The VA considers the assets of the applicant and may deny the application if the net worth exceeds a certain level. However, the Vet may immediately transfer assets to satisfy the maximum net worth requirement. Unlike Medicaid, there is no “look back period for transfer of assets.” The Vet’s residence is not considered as a countable asset.

The Vet may transfer assets directly to family members or an irrevocable trust. There are many advantages to using an irrevocable trust rather than a direct transfer, namely asset protection (including creditors and divorcing spouses), probate avoidance, estate tax planning, and overall peace of mind.

Applications will be denied if the married Vet’s income exceeds the maximum level for a married Vet in need of assistance. However, “out of pocket” medical expenses, including the cost of care in a facility or in-home aid are deducted from income.


For more information about this, call Frank Scotto: (720)530- 2823, or email Brian Marston: b.marston@lifecertain.com.

For more information on transfers of assets to family members or trusts, call James Morgan, Esquire (303) 779- 3596.