For Vietnam veterans, this is a big week, marking the 40th year of the all-veterans reunion in Indiana. When the Howard Country Vietnam Veterans Organization was established in 1981, the purpose was to honor the 31 veterans from that county who had lost their lives in the Vietnam War, and to build a memorial in the courthouse on the downtown square of Kokomo. Today, the annual event, now open to all veterans, is the oldest veterans’ reunion in the country, gathering on the “Healing Fields” property outside of Kokomo.
It’s not just about veterans of the Viet Nam War, but all war veterans. At Geyer Law, our way of honoring veterans and their families is by helping them get the benefits they deserve. We know that Veteran’s Benefits are among the most misunderstood and underutilized resources. Our firm’s focus is with the Veteran’s Benefits Administration, one of three areas within the Department of Veterans Affairs.
For veterans in general, 2022 is special in another way. Veterans’ benefits, due to the Cost of Living Adjustment keyed to inflation, were increased 5.9%, the biggest benefit increase in more than 40 years.
There are two general types of benefits:
- disability/compensation benefits for medical conditions related to the veteran’s service in the military
- pension benefits for disabilities unrelated to the veteran’s service in the military. These benefits are in the form of cash paid monthly to the veteran or surviving spouse, and the money can be used for any purpose.
There are two basic eligibility requirements that apply to both types of benefits, as explained in the Indiana State Bar Association’s Laws of Aging:
- Active duty – the veteran must have served at least 90 days of active service with at least one day of service during a wartime period.
- Honorable discharge
All the events this week are open to the public along with veterans. There is entertainment, retail vendors, food vendors and camping. Although our schedule does not permit us to attend in person, as experienced elder law attorneys with the proper VA benefits training, at Geyer Law we are able to create comprehensive, individualized plans designed to maximize eligibility for VA benefits.
– by Ronnie of the Rebecca W. Geyer Blog Team