Veterans Benefits for Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Q. I read that Veterans who experienced brain trauma in the course of their service are at a 60% higher risk for developing dementia, while those who have experienced PTSD are twice as likely.

My father is a Vietnam Veteran who suffers from PTSD. His family also has a history of dementia. With his risk factors increased to such a degree and with his memory dwindling about certain things, we should probably plan ahead. Are there any veteran’s benefits can help us with the financial burden a dementia diagnosis can bring? Thank you for your help!

A. This Veteran’s Day, and every day, we are grateful to your father and other veterans and active military for their service to our country.

As you can imagine, a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia can be overwhelming for those who are diagnosed and their loved ones. As you mentioned, the debilitating disease is more common in veterans who suffered from brain trauma or PTSD, but fortunately there are benefits for veterans and other ways to plan.

For veterans with dementia, as they progress to the middle or late stages of the disease, extensive care will likely be needed, including assistance with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, and toileting. This level of care will often require more than a family caregiver is able to provide. With increased risk factors for veterans, it is important that veterans and their families plan ahead for the benefits they deserve, to help to pay for long-term care when the need arises.

Know and Claim Your Well-Earned Benefits

Most veterans who are disabled during their time in service or aware that there are disability compensation benefits available for disabled veterans, and most disabled veterans in this category receive those benefits because the VA is good at making disabled veterans aware of this benefit. However, most veterans are completely unaware of certain special pension benefit available to them, typically called Veterans Aid and Attendance, that can provide over $26,000 per year of tax-free income to a qualified veteran. More than 1/3 of Americans over the age of 65 are wartime veterans or the spouses of wartime veterans, potentially qualifying them for this special Veterans Aid & Attendance pension.

The New Three-Year Look back Rule Makes it Harder to Qualify for Veterans Aid and Attendance

The Veteran’s Aid and Attendance Pension Benefit helps pay for unreimbursed medical expenses for veterans and their surviving spouses. Aid and Attendance is an incredibly valuable program for those veterans who need assistance with the activities of daily living.

However, new rules by the Veterans Administration went into effect on October 18, 2018. These rules make qualifying for the Veteran’s Aid and Attendance pension benefit more challenging than it has been. Click here for the new rule changes that recently took effect.

New Pension Amounts Will Begin on 1/1/19

The VA Pension amounts will increase starting January 1, 2019 by 2.8% (amount might vary slightly depending on how the VA rounds dollar amounts.) The new amounts are listed below:

Here at the Farr Law Firm, we work with veterans and their spouses to evaluate whether they qualify, or may potentially qualify in the future, for the Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefit and/or Medicaid, and we deal with all the paperwork. Although there are new rule changes that make qualifying more challenging, you can rest assured that the Farr Law Firm Elder Law experts are at the forefront of working through the new VA regulations and implementing the newest asset protection strategies that are required to help our clients obtain these important benefits that they have earned by serving in the United States Armed Forces.

Living Trust Plus for Veterans

Since Aid and Attendance is harder to qualify for now with the newly enacted three-year lookback rule (similar to the five-year look back rule for Medicaid), the Living Trust Plus™ asset protection trust is often the best option for veterans asset protection plan, as well as Medicaid asset protection planning. The Living Trust Plus™ is a very special type of irrevocable asset protection trust that you create while you are living that allows you to retain full control over all of the trust assets, including the right to live in or use any trust-owned real estate. Read more about Living Trust Plus here.

Applying for veteran’s benefits can be confusing and arduous. Here at the Farr Law Firm, we work with veterans and their spouses to evaluate whether they qualify or may in the future qualify for the Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefit and/or Medicaid, and we deal with all the paperwork. As a Certified Elder Law Attorney and an Accredited Attorney with the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs, I understand both the Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefit and the Medicaid program and the interaction between both entitlement programs — and this interaction between the programs is of crucial importance because most veterans who start off needing Aid and Attendance will eventually need Medicaid, so all asset protection planning that is done to make a veteran eligible for Aid and Attendance must take future Medicaid benefits into account. Please call us at any time to make an appointment for a consultation:

Veteran’s Aid and Attendance Attorney Fairfax: 703-691-1888
Veteran’s Aid and Attendance Attorney Fredericksburg: 540-479-1435
Veteran’s Aid and Attendance Attorney Rockville: 301-519-8041
Veteran’s Aid and Attendance Attorney Washington, D.C.: 202-587-2797

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About Evan H Farr, CELA, CAP

Evan H. Farr is a 4-time Best-Selling author in the field of Elder Law and Estate Planning. In addition to being one of approximately 500 Certified Elder Law Attorneys in the Country, Evan is one of approximately 100 members of the Council of Advanced Practitioners of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is a Charter Member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners.