Virginia Beach Veterans Benefits Lawyers
A Personal Approach to Meeting the Needs of Veterans and Their Families
Millions of veterans and their families—our nation’s greatest heroes—are eligible for Veterans Benefits but do not take advantage of them. Why? Many reasons are likely to blame, including confusion over the benefits available, eligibility requirements, and the complexity of the application process itself. The Law Office of Angela N. Manz is here to help. Attorney Angela Manz is the daughter and wife of military veterans; she knows firsthand how valuable veterans benefits can be and how difficult they can be to obtain. Don’t delay in getting the help you and your family need and deserve. Contact our experienced Virginia Beach veterans benefits lawyers today.
Veterans Aid and Attendance: A Crucial Program for Affording Long-Term Care
Veterans and civilians alike rightfully worry about the possibility they will need long-term care as they get older, whether that means residence in a skilled nursing home, an assisted living facility, or support at home with a home health aide or round-the-clock caregiver. The costs for these services are truly astronomical, currently ranging from $5,000 to $9,000 a month in Virginia, depending on the level of service needed. Statistics show that two out of three families run out of money in the first year of paying for long-term care.
To afford long-term care without becoming impoverished, many families turn to costly long-term care insurance or seek the help of an estate planning attorney to achieve Medicaid eligibility while protecting assets through Medicaid Asset Protection Trusts and other means.
Veterans have another valuable tool that is available specifically to them based on their veteran status: the Aid and Attendance program. For eligible veterans or their widowed spouses, the VA Aid and Attendance pension program pays a benefit of up to $2,642 for a married veteran and over $1,432 to the spouse to assist with medical expenses and the cost of long-term care.
The A&A benefit can help a veteran or widowed spouse pay anyone, including their child, for home care. It can also be used to help pay for professional care in the home, assisted living rent, nursing care, prescription drugs, insurance premiums, copays and much more. The flexibility built into the Aid and Attendance Program allows a veteran or widowed spouse to pay for care whether in their home or at an assisted living community, and helps them stay out of a nursing home and preserve their assets for as long as possible.
If you are a military veteran or spouse, Aid and Attendance can be a key component of your estate plan. Working with a skilled estate planning lawyer who is versed in veterans benefits helps ensure A&A and other programs will mesh seamlessly with your overall needs and goals.
Comprehensive Support in the Full Range of Veterans Benefits
Aid and Attendance is only one of many veterans benefits that can help vets and their families with financial assistance and services during the veteran’s lifetime and beyond. Our dedicated VA lawyers can help you understand the full range of benefits you may be entitled to and help you navigate the complex process of obtaining and maximizing your benefits. Some of the benefits and services that may be available include:
- Dependency and Indemnity Compensation
- Special Monthly Compensation
- Survivor Benefits
- Veterans Health Care
- Veterans Life Insurance
- Burial and Memorial
- Death Pension
Why Choose the Law Office of Angela N. Manz When It Comes to Veterans Benefits in Virginia Beach?
Given the importance of the Aid and Attendance benefit in coping with the high cost of long-term care, along with the value of other important veterans benefits, you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to work with a lawyer who is highly focused on this complex and often neglected area of the law. You’ll find that lawyer at The Law Office of Angela N. Manz in Virginia Beach.
Angela Manz is a VA accredited attorney. This means she has been granted the authority by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to prepare, present and prosecute claims for Veterans Benefits before the VA. Her extensive experience can streamline the process and help you obtain benefits quickly with minimal stress. She can help you receive the maximum amount of benefits your service entitles you to and quite possibly help you receive benefits even if you have been denied them in the past.
Although people who work for the VA may mean well, they do not know the intricacies of the laws surrounding veterans benefits and cannot give you specific legal advice on how to obtain the maximum benefit. Angela Manz does. Veterans benefits law is a primary area of her practice, and she is 100 percent dedicated to making sure veterans and their families receive all of the benefits they deserve.
Virginia Veterans Benefits FAQs
Answering Frequently Asked Questions by Veterans in Virginia Beach
Our comprehensive Virginia Beach elder law and estate planning practice at The Law Office of Angela N. Manz includes veterans benefits planning and estate planning for military families. Attorney Angela Manz is both the daughter and wife of military veterans, so she knows on a personal level how important veterans benefits like Aid and Attendance can be. We also know how thoroughly bureaucratic, complex and frustrating it can be to apply for the benefits you need and are entitled to. Below we attempt to answer some of the questions we get most often from military families when it comes to veterans benefits. If you have other questions or need help getting the benefits you earned, call our office to speak with an experienced and dedicated Virginia Beach veterans benefits lawyer.
What is Aid and Attendance?
Aid and Attendance is a monthly pension available to veterans or their surviving spouses who need assistance with activities of daily living (like bathing, dressing, cooking, or cleaning). A married Veteran could receive up to $2,642 per month of tax-free income to assist with unreimbursed monthly medical expenses. A single Veteran could receive up to $2,229 per month and a surviving spouse could receive up to $1,432.
What are the eligibility requirements to qualify for Aid and Attendance?
In order to qualify for Aid and Attendance, veterans or surviving spouses must meet several requirements:
- They must be 65 or older, or if under 65, they must be permanently disabled.
- They must have recurring monthly medical expenses that meet or exceed the monthly gross household income, such as prescription drug costs, home care costs, assisted living costs, or nursing home care costs. Paying a child for care is also considered a medical expense.
- They (or their spouse) must not have been dishonorably discharged from the military (medical discharges or “other than honorable” discharges will not cause a veteran to be disqualified from receiving the pension).
- They (or their spouse) must have served in the military for at least consecutive 90 days, one day of which must have been during a predetermined wartime period. However, it is not necessary for the veteran to have served in combat.
Who can help me with my application?
Professionals must be accredited to be legally permitted to help you with the VA application. The VA recognizes three types of professionals who may become accredited: attorneys, agents, and representatives of service organizations. Those applying for accreditation must submit an application and must meet certain character requirements. Additionally, all professionals except for attorneys must pass an exam that tests knowledge about all types of veterans’ claims and benefits.
How long will it take for my application to be approved?
Most applications take six to twelve months to get approved, but only if the VA does not encounter any problems with your application. The VA makes the application decision in three phases: first, it receives and reviews the application, requesting any additional information it needs to make its decision. Next, it decides whether the veteran or surviving spouse is eligible, and if so, how much of the pension he or she should receive. Finally, the VA reviews the application to make sure no errors were made during the decision phase and notifies the veteran or surviving spouse of the decision. Because this process is so lengthy, it is important to start the process of applying as promptly as possible and to make sure that your initial application includes all of the information and supporting documentation required by the VA.
What if I’m no longer married to a veteran?
If you’re no longer married to a veteran, the rules can become quite complicated. If you are a widowed spouse of a veteran who has not remarried, you are still eligible for the pension. However, if you are divorced from the veteran or if you have remarried since the veteran’s death, the rules for eligibility vary depending on several factors, including when the marriage took place, how old the spouse was when they married, when the VA application was filed, and when the marriage ended. These laws change frequently, so it is important to work with an accredited professional who knows the latest rules regarding remarriage.
What are the income and asset limitations for the pension?
There is no single income limit for this benefit. Veterans or widowed spouses must show that a large portion of their income is being spent on medical and/or care costs in order to qualify. Countable income includes earnings, disability and retirement pensions, and interest and dividends income from business. However, income from unreimbursed medical and care expenses is deducted from the countable income.
The VA has set an asset limit of approximately $150,000. All personal goods, such as the home and a small amount of land around the home, one vehicle, and jewelry, clothing and furniture are exempt from being considered part of the net worth. If your net worth is too high for the benefit, remember that there is a penalty for transferring assets. Many families are able to transfer assets outright or to an irrevocable trust and then become eligible for the VA benefit. It is best to speak with an experienced elder law attorney to discuss your specific family situation and how you can qualify for benefits.
Can I still get Medicaid if I’m getting the VA pension?
In Virginia, income received from the VA Aid and Attendance Pension may potentially be counted as income for Medicaid purposes. Therefore, while it is possible for someone to receive both Medicaid and Aid and Attendance at the same time, but it is best to speak with an experienced elder law attorney to ensure that you qualify for one or both benefits.
What about disability benefits?
If you are already receiving payments from a service-connected disability, you cannot also receive payments from a non-service-connected disability (i.e. Aid and Attendance). However, if you apply for Aid and Attendance and the amount you are awarded is greater than the monthly service-connected disability pension you have been receiving, the VA will pay you whichever amount is greater.
Do I need to hire a caregiver to become eligible for the pension?
To receive the VA pension, applicants must show that they require assistance with several activities of daily living. The VA application has a section for caregivers to give statements regarding how they provide assistance to the veteran or surviving spouse. However, many people do not realize that even if they do not live in a nursing home or assisted living facility, go to adult day care, or have professional caregivers coming into the home, they may still have caregivers – the friends and family who help them on a daily basis. An experienced professional who is accredited with the VA can help veterans and surviving spouses determine if their friends and family provide enough services to be caregivers.
Do I have to “requalify” for benefits every year?
At this time, the VA does not require that everyone recertify annually. However, the VA is allowed to request medical expenses and essentially audit a claim to make sure that person still qualifies for benefits. This is done on a random basis and many folks find that they receive this audit every 3-4 years.
Are you or a loved one eligible for Aid and Attendance benefits? Please take a moment to review the following questions.
Did the veteran serve on active duty for at least 90 days, one day of which was served during wartime? (Those serving as Merchant Marines or in the Coast Guard during WWII may also qualify.)
Applicable Wartime Periods
Declared Periods of War
|World War I
|April 6, 1917 through November 11, 1918, extended to April 1, 1920, for those who served in Russia.
Service after November 11, 1918 and before July 2, 1921 is considered World War I service if the veteran served in the active military, naval, or air service after April 5, 1917 and before November 12, 1918
|World War II
|December 7, 1941 through December 31, 1946, extended to July 25, 1947, when continuous with active duty on or before December 31, 1946
|July 27, 1950 through January 31, 1955
|August 5, 1964 – May 7, 1975, and
*November 1, 1975 – May 7, 1975 (for those who were in Vietnam)
|Persian Gulf War
|August 2, 1990 to date yet to be determined.
*For services beginning on or after September 7, 1980, the veteran must serve 24 months in order to be eligible.
Did the veteran leave the service with a discharge other than dishonorable?
Does the claimant require the regular assistance of another person with some activities inherent in daily life (examples include tasks such as bathing, dressing, preparing meals, or administering medication)? Does the claimant require a protective environment due to dementia or other debilitating mental illnesses? Can a physician verify these requirements?
Is the claimant spending money each month on long-term care, such as assisted living, a nursing home stay, prescription drugs, insurance premiums, or home health care? Does the claimant have a child who is providing care?
Are you concerned that the costs of these long-term care expenses may drain your loved one’s financial resources?
If you answered “YES” to the above questions, you or your loved one may be eligible to apply for the Veterans Aid and Attendance pension. This benefit provides a monthly maximum tax-free benefit of $2,642 for a married veteran, $2,229 for a single veteran and $1,432 for a surviving spouse.
To schedule a consultation with Ms. Manz and to determine the precise amount of benefits you may be eligible to receive, contact us today.
Or, if you are unsure about any of the above questions, please email us to discuss whether you or your claimant may qualify. Never assume that your loved one is not eligible.
Contact The Law Office of Angela N. Manz for Help With Veterans Benefits in Virginia Beach
At The Law Office of Angela N. Manz, we can quickly determine if you are eligible for veterans benefits and guide you through the complicated application process from start to finish. Unlike some of the people out there who may only be interested in selling you a financial product, our goal is to help you obtain the Veterans Benefits you deserve and protect your assets for as long as possible.