VA Benefits Basics, Part 1

If a veteran or surviving spouse meets certain requirements, they can receive up to $2,120 (in 2017) per month, tax free. The amount of maximum benefit depends on their scenario.

  • Married Veteran- $2,120/mo
  • Single Veteran-$1,794/mo
  • Sick spouse of a healthy Veteran $1,404
  • Surviving Spouse $1,153

To receive these benefits, there are five requirements:

1. 90 Days Active Duty:  The veteran must have at least 90 days of active duty time with the military.  Those 90 days do not need to be consecutive.

2. One Day During a Period of Conflict:  One of those 90 days of active duty needs to be during a period of conflict, such as WWII, Korea, Vietnam, etc.  The best way to figure out if there is one day of active duty is to look for a DD214 or the veteran’s separation papers from the military. The periods of conflict are as follows:

  • World War I (April 6, 1917 – November 11, 1918)
  • World War II (December 7, 1941 – December 31, 1946)
  • Korean conflict (June 27, 1950 – January 31, 1955)
  • Vietnam era (February 28, 1961 – May 7, 1975 for Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period; otherwise August 5, 1964 – May 7, 1975)
  • Gulf War (August 2, 1990 – through a future date to be set by law or Presidential Proclamation)

3. Cannot Be Dishonorably Discharged  

4. More Long Term Care Costs than Income. The veteran (or surviving spouse) needs to have more long-term care costs going out than income coming in from social security and pensions.  The amount of long-term care costs going out needs to exceed the income coming in by 5% to receive the full maximum benefit.  To qualify as a long-term care cost a doctor needs to sign off on the claimant needing assistance with daily living activities or “ADLs” (at least 3) and someone else or a facility must be providing that assistance with ADL’s.

5. Asset Test.  The VA currently has an asset test where if a married veteran has more than $80,000 in assets or a single/widow with more than $40,000 has more in assets, they will not qualify.  A VA application cannot be submitted until a veteran is below the asset test.

If you know a veteran who could benefit from extra income to cover their care costs, please contact our office to arrange an appointment.