The Financial Benefit of Applying for Aid & Assistance or Housebound Pensions

By: | Tags: | Comments: 0 | June 28th, 2017

If you have a pension through the Department of Veterans Affairs, either as a veteran or as a survivor, there are two other potential levels of pension depending on your medical needs. An additional Aid & Attendance allotment for qualified medical conditions that require assistance for day-to-day activity or live-in care, and a pension supplement designated as ‘Housebound’ for disabilities that limit your mobility to your home. If you or a loved one qualify for either of the additional levels of pension (and individuals can only qualify for one at a given time, not both), then the VA will send you an additional non-service connected pension to help with related medical expenses.

This additional pension can be a great asset when selecting what medical care you need and can afford, and can help supplement your income so you can consider a larger variety of medical options for yourself or your spouse.

How much can you receive through these additional pension levels?

A veteran with no dependents can receive up to $12, 868 under the basic pension plan, but, under Aid & Attendance and Housebound benefits, an eligible individual can receive up to $15,725 or $21,446 respectively.

However, you will receive only the difference of your income subtracted from the total possible benefit amount, enough to raise your total recorded income (pension included) to the respective amounts of $12,868, $15,725, or $21,446. In order to make the augmented pension more useful, the Department of Veteran Affairs allows applicants to make several deductions to what is considered income included within the limit. These deductions can include:

  • medical-related expenses, including assisted living and homebound expenses, for you and your spouse
  • SSI and welfare benefits
  • insurance premiums
  • the value of your home and vehicles when you calculate overall assets and net worth

However, you should include information related to bank accounts, investments, and secondary property, because these elements will be factored into the VA’s decision.

Ultimately, the Department of Veteran Affairs is trying to conclude, through your assets or income, how much you may need through an additional pension in order to take care of yourself and your spouse. If you’re not sure how to best document your assets, or your assets or net worth is over $50,000 it is recommended that you consult with a pension planner to see how you should best organize your application to get the pension plan.

How can you use additional benefits under the Aid & Assistance or Housebound pensions?

Just like with health insurance, take note of what medical expenses count as deductible while you’re applying for additional benefits and which ones do not. This is one of the more complicated parts of applying for the benefits, as you have to secure proof of any listed medical expenses so the Department of Veteran Affairs can determine whether those expenses are likely to extend into the future. But deducting medical expenses completely and accurately can make a significant difference to the total amount of additional pension you receive.

One overlooked aspect of medical expenses is the payment of caregivers. Provided your primary medical caregiver is not your spouse because income is reported by household, then you can hire your children or grandchildren as a caregiver and deduct that medical expense from your income. This can help you focus supplementary pension funds on nurses and medication, at-home medical expenses such as ramps and safety equipment, and secondary caregivers.

If you’d like to learn more about how to secure veteran- and survivor-specific pension benefits for medical expenses, please contact ActiveCare Home Care here.

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