As lawyers who represent personal injury clients and Social Security disability claimants, we sometimes come across veterans and their families who need financial help with long-term medical and nursing care.
In a recent article, the Dallas Morning News explained a little-known long-term care benefit available to some veterans and their spouses.
The benefit is named the “aid-and-attendance” pension benefit. It pays up to $1,470 a month to a qualifying veteran, $945 a month to a surviving spouse, or $1,743 a month to a couple, to defray the expense of long-term care.
To qualify, veterans must:
- Have served in wartime, though they didn’t have to see combat.
- Have no more than $80,000 in assets, not counting the family home, car and personal possessions.
- Prove financial need, usually by demonstrating expenses exceed their income.
- Show they need someone to help them with basic activities of living, such as bathing, grooming or eating.
The monthly benefit pays up to:
- $1,470 to a veteran.
- $945 to a surviving spouse.
- $1,743 to a couple.
The biggest drawback is the complicated application process, which can take up to six months to complete. The Department of Veterans Affairs requires many detailed documents, including military discharge papers and a medical doctor’s written evaluation. Some applicants may need help in completing the forms.
Fortunately, there are agencies available to help veterans with this process, and with other matters. They include:
- County veterans service offices: Collin County (972-881-3060), Dallas County (214-819-1885), Denton County (940-349-2950) and Tarrant County (817-531-5645)
- Department of Veterans Affairs: 1-800-827-1000 or www.va.gov
- Texas Veterans Commission: 1-800-252-8387 statewide or www.tvc.state.tx.us
- Veterans of Foreign Wars: 1-800-839-1899 or www.vfw.org
- Veterans may get military discharge documents at vetrecs.archives.gov.