One very important part of our law practice at Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates is providing assistance to veterans and their surviving spouses by helping them obtain VA benefits. While the Department of Veterans Affairs is made up of three areas, our firm’s focus is with the Veteran’s Benefits Administration.
Recent statistics compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures show that there are more than 23 million veterans; state legislatures continue to deal with issues of veteran employment, education programs, mental health,\ housing, and benefits for personnel, veterans and their dependents.
Meanwhile, the Paralyzed Veterans Association works with policymakers to ensure that paralyzed veterans and their dependents have access to healthcare and, for aging veterans, access to non-institutional long term care.
Here at Geyer Law, we continue to find that many veterans and their families are simply unaware that, even if they did not directly retire from the military or suffer injuries in the line of duty, they might still be eligible for certain benefits. Given our experience in the field, we know there will be many hurdles and barriers to encounter along the way to being approved for those benefits.
As very brief overview, there are two types of “allowances”, either of which can result in the veteran (or the survivors) receiving more than just basic pension benefits:
- The claimant is unable to leave the house for employment purposes
- The claimant requires assistance with at least two Activities of Daily Living or must need to reside in a protective environment.
In terms of estate planning, there are specific benefits for which veterans qualify, with the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs offering to pay:
- up to $300 for burial and funeral expense
- up to $300 for a plot/interment allowance
As our attorneys work to explain elder law matters, claiming these special benefits plays an important role for clients who are veterans of the armed forces.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has formulated a Fiscal Year 2018-2024 Strategic Plan, based on the Veterans Administration’s strategic goal of “providing excellent care and services to the Veterans who courageously undertook the mantle of defense of the United States of America.”.
Meanwhile, our goal at Geyer Law is to use our experience and skill to help veterans navigate the system and prevent disqualification due to mistakes. Even more important, we consider this aspect of our estate planning work to be our way of saluting those who’ve served our country.
– by Cara M. Chittenden, Associate Attorney with Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates