We’ve been discussing a little-known benefit available for qualifying veterans during the past few months. Keep in mind that I am not an expert on this benefit, but there are many people who are.
I would encourage you to talk with your financial planner, elder law or family attorney or a representative from the local Veterans Administration office to answer specific questions and to help you with the application process. The Internet also has a lot of information online, so use these resources to explore this valuable option that can help subsidize healthcare costs.
Many families that I’ve worked with are surprised at the monthly benefit that can be awarded, making it well worth the time and effort to be approved.
• How much can I receive?
Qualified applicants may be entitled in 2013 of up to:
• Surviving spouse of a veteran: $1,113.
• Veteran with no spouse or dependent children: $1,732.
• Married couple where the veteran requires care: $2,054.
• Veteran is healthy, but spouse requires care: $1,360.
The amounts listed above are the maximum that can be obtained, but individual awards will vary depending on demonstrated need.
• Who do I contact?
The veterans website is: http://www.benefits.va.gov/pension/. (Click on Aid and Attendance and Housebound)
The VA regional office is located in Des Moines. Their contact information is:
Des Moines VA Regional Office
210 Walnut St.
Des Moines, IA 50309
The veterans office can also provide you assistance with getting copies of various military forms that will be needed if you do not have those on hand. You should also be able to get copies of other legal documents (marriage, death certificates etc.) from the county courthouse of origin.
Don’t let the daunting paperwork overwhelm you. Use resources that are available, or “divide and tackle,” delegating amongst family members.
Once everything is ready to submit, be sure to make photocopies of all the documents (you certainly don’t want to have those somehow “lost” and gather all that paper work all over again) and send the information registered mail.
I wish you well, and a sincere thanks to the veterans who have served this country so selflessly.
Information provided by Shelly Charter, Valley View Village, 2571 Guthrie Ave., Des Moines, 265-2571.