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What Veterans benefits are available if I wasn’t injured in the military?


Even if you were not injured while on active duty with the military, you may still qualify for certain Veterans benefits. These little-known benefits can provide you with monthly payments to help pay for medical expenses, even if your injury or illness was not received while on active duty.

For veterans, and their surviving spouses, who have medical need that requires at home or nursing home care, whether or not the medical need arises due to an injury or illness received while on active duty, there is a Special Monthly Pension, sometimes called a “Housebound” pension or “Aid and Attendance” benefit. To be eligible for the Aid and Attendance Benefit there are specific requirements for the veteran’s time of service (must have at least one day of service during a “time of war” and 90 days of active duty service), medical need (either 65 years of age or older or able to show permanent total disability) and financial need.

The Special Monthly Pension is not just for those veterans who were injured while on active duty. Many veterans and their surviving spouses are now reaching old age, along with some of the debilitating illnesses that occur with old age. If the veteran or his or her surviving spouse can demonstrate financial need, they may qualify for up to $1,949 in monthly benefit.

This is different than Disability Compensation, which is a monthly income benefit for a veteran who was injured or who obtained a disease while on active duty (a service-connected disability). The monthly income paid through Disability Compensation is based on the extent of the injury or disease. To receive the compensation benefit, the veteran’s injury must be reviewed and determined as to its level of severity from 0% to 100% in 10% increments. A key point to note is that the Disability Compensation benefit is not reduced by the veteran’s income, either earned or unearned, or by the veteran’s net worth.

There are a number of benefits available to veterans who served our country, but finding your way through the maze of the Veterans Administration can be a challenge. As with all veterans’ benefits, it’s important to seek the guidance of someone who knows the ins and outs of the system.

Only employees of the Veterans Administration, an authorized representative of a veteran’s service organization such as VFW, or is an attorney accredited with the VA who is also licensed in your state can provide you with advice and guidance about veterans benefits.  You may also benefit from the advice of an estate planning or elder law attorney and a CPA, who can help you structure your assets and income to best meet your health and financial well-being. But be aware, not all estate planning attorneys are accredited with the VA, but many attorneys accredited with the VA are also elder care or estate planning attorneys.

Finally, it’s important to note that under federal law, no one can charge to assist you with completing VA paperwork. You can search the VA web site for a VA-accredited attorney in your state at:http://www.va.gov/ogc/apps/accreditation/index.asp

If you are in the Lubbock, TX or West Texas area, give us a call and we will be happy to discuss your situation.