As I have traveled around the country sharing key concepts out of my book, “Transitioning Your Aging Parent”, one resource that attendees consistently share about is that of VA (Veterans Adminimstration) benefits. But, did you know, there is not just one benefit?
When we hear about VA benefits for the elderly, we often hear about the Aid & Attendance Award. While that is a very important and valuable benefit, I want to share some other benefits, one in particular that elder attorney Victoria Collier calls a “secret.” This secret has the power to impact the quality of life for your aging parent.
This week I have the privilege of interviewing elder attorney Victoria Collier on my radio show. Victoria has a unique blend of experience and expertise. She worked in a nursing home, served in our military and is a veteran. Now, she is an attorney specializing in elder law and VA benefits. She has helped many veterans (and their spouses) understand and attain benefits that they have “earned” through time in service. She shares much of her knowledge in her excellent book, “47 Secret Veterans’ Benefits for Seniors: Benefits You Have Earned …but Don’t Know About!”
Here are some of the things I learned from Victoria during our radio interview. Hopefully, the information will help your parent and perhaps yourself!
- Your aging parent can qualify for a VA pension even if their income exceeds the limits. How? Victoria shared that when a veteran calls the VA to question eligibility, they are often just asked about income level and then told they don’t quality based on gross income figure. This is not correct. The qualifying income should be based on gross income minus non-reimbursable, re-occurring medical expenses. (This can even include the cost of Assisted Living!)
- Veterans can obtain their prescriptions from the VA for $9 or less for a 30 day supply. You have to be enrolled in the VA health care system. If enrolled, the veteran’s private physician writes the prescription; and the VA can mail the prescription to the veteran. This is very helpful for those who no longer drive or live a distance from a VA clinic. This can translate to a large amount of money saved!
- If a veteran served in Vietnam (even as Victoria said, “set a boot on the ground” there) anytime during Feb. 28, 1961 and May 7, 1975 and later develops certain diseases, then they are presumed to be exposed to Agent Orange. They are then deemed to have a service disability, and are eligible for disability and health care benefits. Surprising to me, Parkinson’s and Ischemic heart disease are 2 of the diseases.
- Did you know a healthy veteran with a spouse (in need of care) can get VA benefits? Yes. As long as the veteran is older than 65, he is considered disabled, and is then eligible for Low Income Pension if he and his wife’s monthly income is depleted after deducting the expense of Assisted Living.
Victoria share much more excellent information in her guest spot on our show. I encourage you to listen to the archived recording.