Central Coast Law Feb. 27, 2017

VA Pension Benefits

Knowing What is Available, How to Qualify and Who to Trust with Assistance

The VA Improved Pension provides financial assistance to qualified veterans and their spouses.

The pension is a benefit that veterans earn due to their service to our country, but few have ever heard about it. We hope to change that and assist veterans and their families with their financial needs.

Learn who qualifies, the steps necessary to apply, and how to get knowledgeable assistance. Give us a call to learn if you or a family member qualify: Bartlett & Herrington Attorneys at Law 805.576.7693.

What is the VA Improved Pension?

The VA Improved Pension was established to provide financial assistance to veterans and their spouses, allowing them to live out their lives in dignity and can afford basic necessities.

This benefit is not dependent upon service-related injuries. It helps cover the cost of qualified un-reimbursed medical expenses, including in-home care and assisted living facility care.

Though it has been in existence for decades, most veterans and their families have never even heard about it, and if they have, they are not given guidance on how to qualify.

The Basic Criteria for Qualifying:

  • Veteran served at least 1 day during a qualified war period

  • Veteran served at least 90 days of active duty

  • Veteran received a better than dishonorable discharge

  • Claimant is over the age of 65 or permanently or totally disabled

  • Veteran or spouse is a surviving spouse of a qualified veteran and has not remarried

  • Veteran or spouse needs assistance with daily living requirements

VA Pension Amounts for Qualified Veterans & Surviving Spouses

The VA pension can significantly improve the quality of life for veterans and their surviving spouses. Here are the current maximum VA pension amounts, which are based on claimant needs:

Single Qualified Veteran:

  • Basic Improved Pension: $1,075/month

  • Pension with Housebound: $1,314/month

  • Pension with A&A: $1,794/month

Qualified Veteran with Spouse:

  • Basic Improved Pension: $1,408/month

  • Pension with Housebound: $1,647/month

  • Pension with A&A: $2,127/month

Surviving Spouse (Death Pension):

  • Basic Improved Pension: $721/month

  • Pension with Housebound: $881/month

  • Pension with A&A: $1,153/month

Knowing Who to Trust and How to Get Knowledgeable Assistance

Financial planning decisions are some of the most important decisions a person makes in their lifetime.

These decisions have a significant impact on the quality of care an individual receives as well as the financial picture of their family. We believe all citizens, and especially those that have served our country, deserve adequate care in their later years.

Managing one’s financial picture can be a balancing act. An advisor needs to know how to meet the needs of the family, protect their assets, ensure that there are adequate funds to cover basic living expenses and medical cost, while allowing the clients to qualify for the assistance of Medi-Cal and the VA pension, if possible. It is a balance that an experienced elder law attorney is accustomed to managing.

There are many advantages to hiring a trained attorney for VA pension planning. They are qualified in many ways where financial professionals are not. An accredited VA planning attorney takes a comprehensive approach, ensuring the client is protected, not just their money. They are trained in managing the complexities associated with qualifying, while protecting clients from financial hardships in other areas.

Hire An Accredited VA Planning Attorney

It is very important that you hire an experienced and accredited VA planning attorney. Qualifying for VA pensions can be difficult if not properly handled.

An accredited VA planning attorney:

  • Is legally obligated to act in the best interest of the client.

  • Must be knowledgeable of current IRS rules and regulations and how IRAs can be problem assets.

  • Must be knowledgeable of trust laws and when and how to move money appropriately. Can draft the appropriate trust to allow an applicant to meet the asset requirement.

  • Must be knowledgeable of income, estate and gift tax implications for transferring assets.

  • Can prepare real estate documents to allow an applicant to meet the asset qualifications.

  • Can prepare a Medi-Cal compliant caregiver agreement to allow an applicant to meet the income requirement.

  • Does not look to make a commission sale; but looks for long-term clients that they can assist throughout their life.

  • Cannot give a finder’s fee to a referral, but can give clients confidence and peace of mind.

We Are An Estate Planning and VA Planning Law Firm

Neal E. Bartlett, Attorney at Law is a Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law and is dedicated to helping Veterans and their spouses navigate the VA Pension process.

Neal Bartlett grew up in Simi Valley, California, and received a B.S., from California Lutheran University where he studied Business Administration and Finance.

Neal received his J.D. from the University of Oregon School of Law. During law school he served as a student prosecutor for the Douglas County District Attorney’s office.

In 2012 Neal and his business partner Stefanie Herrington established Bartlett & Herrington, P.C. in Carpinteria, California.

In 2016 Neal was certified by the California State Bar, Board of Legal Specialization, as a Specialist in Estate Planning, Trusts, and Probate. He is accredited by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs and regularly assists veterans and their families with their legal needs.

Give us a call to learn how we can help you and your family: 805-881-3281.