If you are a United States veteran seeking service-connected disability compensation, it is important that you are represented by an attorney who has been accredited by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Effective June 23, 2008, Congress passed a law that all lawyers and representatives who intend to assist claimants for VA benefits in the preparation, presentation, or prosecution of new claims must first become accredited by the VA.
It’s essential for US Veterans looking for service-connected disability compensation to have an attorney accredited by the Department of Veterans Affairs. A law that was passed by Congress on June 23, 2008, requires all lawyers and representatives who intend to assist claimants for VA benefits in the preparation, presentation, or prosecution of new claims must first become accredited by the VA.
Blachly, Tabor, Bozik & Hartman’s VA-accredited advocate, Angelica Schultis, who provides strong support to Veterans with injuries during the challenging disability benefits application process. Our team provides a personalized, hands-on approach throughout the process. Additionally, Ms. Schultis works closely with veteran organizations at Valparaiso University and is an auxiliary member of the American Legion due to her family history of military service. She is also a member of the National Organization for Veterans Advocates.
Who Qualifies for Aid and Attendance?
To be eligible for the A&A benefit from the United States Department of Veteran Affairs, commonly known as the “VA,” there are a number of requirements that must be met.
To prove eligibility, you must complete the Veterans Application for Pension or Compensation form and submit it to the VA. The service requirement mandates that a Veteran must have served during a period of war for at least 90 days, with one day of active duty. Combat duty or a service-connected disability is not necessary, but a Veteran must have received an honorable discharge. If a Veteran’s spouse meets the criteria, they may also be eligible.
World War II:
December 7, 1941 – December 31, 1946
June 27, 1950 – January 31, 1955
August 5, 1964 – May 7, 1075
Begin February 28, 1961, if you served in Vietnam
Persian Gulf War:
August 2, 1990 – March 1, 1991
In order to meet the A&A Disability criteria, an individual must be at least 65 years old and depend on someone else for help with basic daily tasks such as dressing, grooming, eating, and using the restroom. Additionally, those who are visually impaired, or bedridden may also be eligible.
Assistance for these needs can be offered by various sources such as assisted living facilities, home health aides, nurses, or even a family member who is not your spouse or anyone who resides with you. A licensed healthcare professional must recommend the care services provided. The VA also requires a Care Contract to be in place between the caregiver and the person who is receiving the care. This contract needs to specify the type of care that is being provided and the corresponding payment, which must reflect the going rate for services that are being provided. We are happy to assist you in preparing a Care Contract that satisfies this requirement.
Income and Asset Requirements
To be eligible for A&A Benefits, there are certain income and asset requirements that must be met.
As of 2018, the Asset test has been updated. In order to qualify, a Veteran must have countable assets of less than $130,773. There are certain assets such as a home or an automobile that are not included in countable assets.
What Can I Do If My Assets Exceed The Asset Requirements?
Since 2018, the VA has decided to look back 3 years on Veterans if they have made gifts. What this means is this can disqualify a Veteran from receiving benefits if you have made any gifts in the last 3 years. If your assets are slightly over the limit, there are planning opportunities to help you qualify for benefits in the future. If your assets are significantly over the limit, it may take planning many years in advance to qualify for benefits. If you are thinking about gifting any assets to qualify for benefits later, it is not recommended that you gift your assets because it exposes your assets to your beneficiaries’ creditors and may require you to undo the gift.
If at any time in the future, you need nursing home care and have to qualify for Medicaid, your beneficiaries may need to return the gift to cancel Medicaid’s gifting penalties, but they may not be able to or are unwilling to do so. To avoid these potential problems we recommend that you gift your assets to an Irrevocable Trust that meets specific requirements to not be countable for VA benefit purposes. We can assist in creating this trust for you with the terms that fit your estate plan and preserve your ability to later receive Medicaid benefits if necessary.
It can be quite difficult and time-consuming to file a claim for A&A. Generally, qualifying for A&A entails reallocating assets, which can affect your eligibility for Medicaid. It’s important to seek legal advice before trying to attempt this process. The VA may take several months to approve your A&A application, but the benefits will be paid retroactively from the month following your application’s filing.
At Blachly, Tabor, Bozik & Hartman, attorney Angelica Schultis is a VA accredited advocate who vigorously helps injured veterans through the very complicated and frustrating application process for disability benefits. We will work with you at every step of the process with a personal, hands-on approach. Contact us today for assistance with your veteran’s disability claim today.
Ms. Schultis works closely with Valparaiso University’s veterans organizations. She is also a member of the National Organization for Veteran’s Advocates, and, the daughter and granddaughter of veterans, is an auxiliary member of the American Legion.