The Two Most Important Things To Remember When Dealing With Veterans’ Benefits
Is your loved one a veteran moving into or already living in Assisted Living? If so, he or she may be eligible for Aid & Attendance. The Aid & Attendance Pension provides benefits for veterans and their surviving spouses who can establish that they need daily assistance from others to dress, bathe, eat, or other everyday activities. Assistance with all of these is not required – there simply must be adequate medical evidence from your physician stating that you cannot function completely on your own. Blind individuals, patients in skilled nursing due to mental or physical incapacity, and those using assisted care in assisted living facilities also qualify.
You may already be overseeing medical expenses and other finances, in addition to acting as a caregiver, so being stuck on hold with the VA for hours may sound daunting. Debbie Burak, founder of VeteranAid.org, offers the following advice for staying sane while dealing with the VA.
1. Get EDUCATED
Take the time to read the material that’s out there. They say knowledge is power, and that is certainly the case in dealing with the VA. Get online and educate yourself on the basics – What about divorce? What benefits are available? What about other assets?
By teaching yourself this information, you’re empowering yourself to help the veteran in your life. Burak cautions against financial advisors and other experts: “There is a lot of misinformation out there and oftentimes the ‘expert’ can be the one giving you the most inaccurate information, due to a lack of training on the pension side.” Also be wary that these advisors are concerned about getting their placement commission – not necessarily about the long term situation for your loved one and what happens when the money runs out. By arming yourself with knowledge beforehand, you’ll be aware of what benefits are out there, preventing you from being in a situation where you’re so grateful for expert help that it establishes relief and immediate trust in someone who may not have your best interests in mind.
2. Do NOT Give Up
So, who can you turn to for help? Others who have gone through the exact same thing.
Burak strongly encourages veterans and their caregivers to join the forums on VeteranAid.org. With 3,500 registered members, Burak says it’s the singular best resource for you to find both emotional and real, practical support from others who are in your position or who have been and now want to help others. “It’s a great place to find you’re not alone,” Burak says. Ask a question and you’ll find someone who already went through that and has suggestions. Burak monitors all the forums to make sure no questions go unanswered.
Get educated, and do not give up. What other tips do you have for those dealing with veterans’ benefits?
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