It’s that time of year again: Veterans Day! Veterans Day is a day of celebrating those who honorably served our country at home and abroad. On Monday, the annual Veterans Day parade will be held in downtown San Diego, specifically highlighting Vietnam veterans and commemorating 50 years since the war. Vietnam veterans have had particular difficulties due to the nature of the conflict and it’s important to recognize the unique benefits available.
For wartime veterans who are over age 65 and need help with daily tasks, VA Aid & Attendance Non-Service Connected Disability Pension benefits can be invaluable for helping to cover the cost of needed care. The benefit will potentially pay more than $24,000 per year toward service to help you. Additionally, veterans who are under age 65, but who are totally and permanently disabled may also take advantage of the benefit. In order to qualify, veterans must meet certain income requirements and should plan their estates so that they may maintain eligibility long-term. Certain major actions, such as selling a home, may disqualify veterans for the benefit. Proper planning, such as the creation of a QVap Trust, can avoid disqualification. Although there is not currently a lookback period for V.A. benefits, it’s important to plan early!
Additionally, veterans may take advantage of a number of other benefits provided by the VA. Planning ahead for long-term care and burial is essential to ensuring that your wishes are carried out. In particular, burial in National Cemeteries such as Arlington must be arranged after death. If it is your wish to utilize these spaces, you should make your family aware of those wishes before the need arises. Otherwise, it is possible that your family will make other arrangements in the rush following your death.
Furthermore, surviving spouses of veterans may take advantage of many benefits, including survivor benefits and Aid & Attendance. These frequently overlooked advantages can provide significant help to a spouse who requires assistance with daily living even if the spouse never served in the military. We recognize that military spouses also make their share of sacrifices for the benefit of the country!
Although it was a long time coming, the VA has recognized exposure to Agent Orange as detrimental to Vietnam veterans. The VA presumes that certain disabilities and diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, Hodgkin’s disease, and many cancers, were caused by Agent Orange if the veteran can show that he or she was exposed to the poisonous herbicide. For Vietnam veterans in particular, disability compensation may be paid to those exposed to Agent Orange. Also, children of Vietnam veterans may receive certain benefits if they suffer from birth defects attributed to Agent Orange, such as spina bifida. Veterans of the Korean War also qualify for benefits related to Agent Orange exposure.
If you are considering planning for or applying for VA benefits, make sure you see an accredited advisor. Do not consult anyone who has not been accredited by the VA! I hope everyone has a happy and safe Veterans Day weekend!