Often times I meet with veterans that are already receiving service related benefits in the form of disability benefits. It is important to understand that often times if you are already receiving disability benefits it is not likely you will be eligible to receive improved pension benefits, notably, aid and attendance benefits.
Here is an example. I recently met with a Sterling Heights family that was encouraged by a financial planner to apply for VA benefits by moving to a senior living center in Macomb county. The planner failed to realize that the veteran already was receiving a military disability pension for injuries sustained in WWII which later manifested after he retired. The veteran, according to the VA was 100% disabled. As a result, he was already receiving approximately $2,900.00 per month as a service related pension benefit–far more than the maximum allowed A & A benefit of $1,900.00 per month. Due to the design of VA benefits, this veteran was unable to collect additional benefits in the form of aid and attendance. As a result, the family is barely getting by with the cost of upkeep of their home and their monthly costs at the senior living facility.
Had the family worked with an accredited advisor or done some simple research, they could have avoided this problem and engaged in a different type of planning to ensure that they could receive the greatest care possible and yet preserve their assets to supplement their lifestyle or their quality of care.
If you are a veteran and are considering applying for benefits, make sure that you seek the advice of a qualified elder law attorney that also has expertise in VA benefit planning, or is also accredited with the VA.