“We want you to know how VBA is performing on behalf of our nation’s Veterans, their families, and their survivors” is the opening sentence on the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs website. Here’s the big picture, according to the VBA:
- VBA currently serves nearly 4.5 million Veterans who receive either compensation or pension benefits.
- In the past four years alone, VBA has added more than one million Veterans to its compensation rolls (which is more, the website points out, than active duty Army, Navy, Marine and Coast Guard combined).
- In 2015, VBA delivered more than $63.5 billion in compensation and pension benefits.
As a very important aspect of our law practice at Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates, we assist wartime veterans and surviving spouses of wartime veterans obtain the VA benefits they deserve. As Tevye remarks ruefully in “Fiddler on the Roof”, though, “It isn’t easy!
- Many veterans and their families are simply unaware that they could be eligible for a wide range of benefits through the United States Department of Veteran Affairs even if they did not directly retire from the military or suffer injuries in the line of duty.
- Similar to the process of claiming Medicaid benefits, there are many hurdles and barriers along the way of qualifying for benefits under the VA programs. Experienced legal advice from professionals with special VA benefits training can help streamline the very cumbersome VA benefits claims process.
As an overview of the program, Basic Pension benefits are for wartime veterans or their surviving spouses who meet the following criteria:
- The veteran served at least 90 days active service with at least one of those days served during a wartime period.
- The veteran was honorably discharged.
- The claimant has limited income and assets.
- The claimant is over 65 or has a permanent and total disability not caused by willful misconduct.
There are two allowances that can increase the amount of the basic benefits. (An individual can qualify for either allowance, but not for both.)
1. Housebound Allowance: Claimants are unable to leave the house for employment purposes.
2. Aid & Attendance Allowance: Claimants require assistance with at least two activities of daily living or require residence in a protective environment.
Just as the VBA wants you to know how it is performing on behalf of our nation’s Veterans, their families, and their survivors, we at Geyer & Associates want you to know how to claim the benefits you may deserve.
– by Ronnie of the Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates blog team