Critter Corner: Veteran’s Benefits for Spouses

Dear Hayek,
 
Welcome to the Critter Corner team! I’m hoping you can help answer my question about veteran’s benefits. My wife was a veteran before she passed away last year. I miss her dearly and am just getting around to figuring everything out. I am wondering if you can tell me what veteran’s benefits are available for spouses.
 
Thanks for your help,
Ben A. Fitz
Dear Ben,
I am so sorry for your loss.
Many people are aware of benefits available for veterans but, unfortunately, spouses and eligible family members often don’t realize that benefits exist for them, or know how to obtain them. I’m hoping I can help!
There are three pension benefits available that provide monthly payments to surviving spouses who have low income and/or long-term care needs:
Basic Pension: This is a monthly cash payment to surviving spouses of “qualified” veterans, who are at least 65 or “permanently and totally disabled”, and have limited income and assets. A “qualified” veteran has at least 90 days of active duty service, at least one day of which was during a recognized “wartime period” (established by the VA). The veteran also must have been discharged other than dishonorably.
Housebound Allowance: This benefit provides a slightly higher monthly payment to surviving spouses who are confined to their home for medical reasons.
Aid & Attendance: This benefit provides the highest payment to a surviving spouse who requires assistance of another person to perform activities of daily living, is blind or nearly so, and includes anyone who is a patient in an assisted living facility or nursing home. This is the most widely-known and talked-about benefit. Learn more about this benefit on our firm’s website here.
Financial eligibility requirements for these benefits are very complex and take into consideration the applicant’s net worth, income, and unreimbursed monthly medical expenses. 
The application process is extremely difficult and confusing for all of these benefits. If you or someone you know may be eligible, you should seek the assistance of an experienced elder law attorney who is accredited with the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs, such as Mr. Farr.
Hope this is helpful,
Hayek
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