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The Programs Are in Place to Serve Veterans in Retirement – Right on the Money – Part 5 of 5

The Programs Are in Place to Serve Veterans in Retirement – Right on the Money – Part 5 of 5

Sub Headline: Know the Qualifications for Aid & Attendance Pension Benefits

Synopsis: There are four criteria for qualifying for the Aid & Attendance benefit: Qualifying military service, medical necessity, care costs compared to monthly income and liquid assets. In order to be considered, the applicant must be 65 or older/or unemployable. Watch the interview with elder law attorney, veterans’ benefit specialist and former president of U.S. Senior Vets, Richard Schulze, MBA.

Content:
Criteria One: Military Service
This benefit is only available to veterans or their surviving spouses who meet the following military service history: An Honorable or General Discharge from a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces (including Coast Guard, Merchant Marines, WACS, WAVES, WAFS). At least 90 days of active duty military service. At least 1 day of the 90 must have been during one of the following periods:

Service in the Merchant Marine during World War II counts the same as Naval service, providing there were 90 days at sea. Women in World War II, including nurses, qualify as veterans. Reserves and National Guard are not qualified unless they served 90 days active federal duty with 1 day during a period of conflict. Training does not count as active duty.

*For those veterans who served “in country” in Vietnam, the beginning date for qualifying service is 2/28/1961.

Criteria Two: Medical Necessity
Medical necessity means the applicant has a condition from a medical diagnosis that is creating significant deficits in their ability to perform the Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) which include: bathing, dressing, eating, toileting and getting in and out of bed or chair. The ADL deficit makes living alone or unassisted hazardous to their health, safety or well-being.

A common question is “What diagnoses are acceptable to the VA?” There really is no right answer to this question. Any medical diagnosis that renders the applicant incapable of self-care with at least two ADL deficiencies is generally acceptable. Common diagnoses that are encountered include: dementia, Parkinson’s, COPD, diabetes, vertigo and hemiplegia. The applicant’s personal physician on a VA Physicians report makes the determination of medical necessity.

Three: Care Cost Compared to Monthly Income
Monthly income is defined as money available to the applicant on a monthly basis. If the applicant is married, both incomes must be disclosed. Many people believe their income is too great to qualify when often that is not the case. Examples include: Social Security, retirement pensions, annuity payments, military retirement pay, disability payments from the VA, interest and/or dividends from
IRA distributions.

Cost of care is the cost of qualified monthly medical expenses. The VA does not allow many medical expenses for this determination. Only the following costs may be included: bill from an assisted living community, bill from board and care home, home care agency or private caregiver, insurance premiums for health, vision and dental care, insurance premium for long-term care policy and deductions for Medicare Part B & D.

Those are all of the costs currently allowed. Note that medications, co-pays, deductibles and durable medical equipment are not included among the list of qualified expenses to reduce costs if you have supportive rewards. In the case where only the veteran requires assistance, the VA does not allow for a cost-of-living allowance for the stay-at-home spouse, but does take both incomes into consideration and will count the spouse’s medical expenses and any benefit will be paid at the same rate.

If the veteran is healthy, but the spouse requires care, then they could qualify under a Basic Pension where the maximum award is $1,360 per month per 2013. Same rules apply as the Non-Service Connected Disability Pension with Aid & Attendance with the difference that the medical eligibility it would be based on the spouse and not the veteran. Once the monthly Income and Cost of Care are determined, the Cost of Care should exceed the Monthly Income by an absolute minimum of 5 percent to receive the maximum benefit.

Criteria Four: Liquid Assets
Liquid assets are defined as financial instruments that can easily be converted to cash.
Examples of liquid assets may include: checking accounts, saving accounts/money markets, IRAs/401ks/Keoghs, CDs, trust funds (with access to principal), mutual funds, stocks and bonds.

Richard Schulze contributed content to this press release.

Syndicated financial columnist Steve Savant interviews eldercare attorney, veteran benefit specialist Richard Schulze, MBA. Right on the Money Show is an hour long financial talk distributed to 280 media outlets, social media networks and financial industry portals. (www.rightonthemoneyshow.com) https://youtu.be/IhDwQyqVPic

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Famous Movie Lines, Animated! (Part 1)

Famous Movie Lines, Animated! (Part 1)

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Audio clips from –
Lord of The Rings,
Batman Begins,
Scarface,
Forrest Gump,
Taken,
Predator,
Jaws,
Pulp Fiction,
Se7en,
Gladiator,
Home Alone, (from Angels with Filthy Souls),
The Shining,
Jerry Maguire,
Aliens,
The Terminator,
Apollo 13,
Midnight Cowboy,
A Few Good Men,
Star Wars,
Frankenstein,
Jurassic Park,
Karate Kid.

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The History of Veterans’ Benefits Dates to the Revolutionary War – Right on the Money – Part 1 of 5

The History of Veterans’ Benefits Dates to the Revolutionary War – Right on the Money –  Part 1 of 5

Synopsis: The United States government began to seriously consolidate services to veterans in 1930. The GI Bill of Rights passed in 1944 had more effect on the American way of life than any other legislation, with the possible exception of the Homestead Act. Watch the interview with elder law attorney, veterans’ benefit specialist and former president of U.S. senior vets, Richard Schulze, MBA.

Content: In 1952, the United States Congress passed legislation authorizing benefits for Veterans, and under Title 38 of the United States Code, created the Department of Veterans Affairs as we know it today. The Aid & Attendance benefit increases annually based on the Cost of Living Adjustment Index. Benefit increases were 4.1 percent in 2006, 3 percent in 2007, approximately 4.2 percent in 2008, a little over 4 percent in 2009, no COLA for 2010 and 2011, 1.7 percent for 2013, 1.5 percent for 2014 and 1.5 percent for 2015, with no COLA in 2016.

As of 1988, the VA is a cabinet-level position in the government. The VA operates through state-based regional offices. This is where applications for benefits are reviewed and sent for national office review and adjudication. However, the actual VA “intake” mechanism is not a function of the VA itself. Since the 1950s, the VA has used a network of what has now grown to more than 110 agencies that provide Veterans Service Officers or “VSOs”. VSOs are accredited by the VA, but are not employees of the VA. The VA does not operate any local offices.

In 2004, the Government Accounting Office (GAO: the investigative arm of Congress) conducted an investigation of the VA and its efficiency. This was essentially a secret, internal report. However, in 2005 the Knight-Ridder News Agency (at that time the largest news organization in the United States) learned of the study and sued under the Freedom of Information Act to obtain a copy. This information led to a series of news articles published in newspapers across the country in early 2005 by Knight-Ridder.

The conclusions of the GAO report were startling. The findings of the report indicated that information provided through the VSO network and the VAs 800 number system was “totally, minimally, partially or mostly incorrect” a staggering 80 percent of the time. This meant a potential applicant could expect to receive incorrect information regarding benefit eligibility 8 out of 10 times. CONSEQUENTLY, THE VSO/VA NETWORK TELLS MANY DULLY QUALIFIED APPLICANTS THEY ARE NOT QUALIFIED TO RECEIVE BENEFITS, WHEN THE OPPOSITE IS TRUE.
The study also found only 19 percent of the answers provided were “completely correct.” A common theme with inquiries was “rude, dismissive, unprofessional and unhelpful” behavior on the part of those providing information.

Unfortunately, the VA has no real means to be proactive. VSOs generally maintain office hours and you see them: by appointment. They typically have no way to get out into the community and educate potential applicants on the benefits they are due. This is why relatively few people know the Aid & Attendance benefit exists and how it can help purchase care. Even the VA’s own website (www.va.gov) contains information that is not entirely true and is misleading. It’s this confusion that causes most of the chaos.

Richard Schulze contributed content to this press release.

Syndicated financial columnist Steve Savant interviews eldercare attorney, veteran benefit specialist Richard Schulze, MBA. Right on the Money Show is an hour long financial talk distributed to 280 media outlets, social media networks and financial industry portals. (www.rightonthemoneyshow.com) https://youtu.be/zhqFLPikjJc

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For Most Veterans’ Benefits Are Unknown and Untapped – Right on the Money – Part 5 of 5

For Most Veterans’ Benefits Are Unknown and Untapped – Right on the Money – Part 5 of 5

Sub Headline: Deserving veterans can go decades without the aid they’ve earned.

Synopsis: Substantial benefits available to Veterans, their spouses and widows often go by the wayside due to unfamiliarity. Tax-free aid may be available in addition to their pension, and is designed to cover the expenses of daily living for those who were active duty-only during a declared war. Qualified and knowledgeable retirement professionals can facilitate and even expedite the application process. Watch the interview with JR Witt.

Content:
Much has been made about United States Veterans not getting all the benefits they so richly deserve for their service. But what many don’t realize is that spouses and widows can also qualify, yet rarely take advantage of certain benefits that stay under the radar.

One such benefit is the Aid and Attendance benefit, which can provide up to $22,000 annually as a tax-free pension addition to the qualifying Veteran. Spouses or widows who qualify are eligible for up to $14,000 annually, and couples nearly $25,000. This benefit is for applicants who require the assistance of another person, in the home or external facility, to eat, bathe, dress or receive medication, often known as the activities of daily living.

Low utilization of the A&A benefit is attributed to a lack of awareness. Knowledgeable retirement planning specialists who have successfully obtained it for Veterans estimate that 90% of Veterans are initially unaware of its existence.

Misperceptions also play a role. Veterans need not have been injured in a war; they only need to have been on active duty during a declared war. And while there’s a means test of income and assets commonly referred to as IVAP (income for VA purposes), many applicants don’t realize the extent to which current medical expenses can reduce the qualifying financial threshold. Applicants must be at least age 65, and complete customary forms.

Sadly, Veterans can experience decades of retirement and reach their 80s or 90s before ever applying, again due to unawares. Further, spouses are also uninformed, and the years following a Veteran’s passing can put a widow otherwise deserving of benefits even further out of reach. Unfamiliarity even stretches to advocacy groups.

Applicants of any type and/or caregivers may find the process onerous, but help is available through an experienced retirement planning specialist, or online at www.veteranaid.org or by searching at www.benefits.va.gov.

Syndicated financial columnist Steve Savant interviews top retirement specialists in their field of expertise. This segment features retirement specialist J.R. Witt. Right on the Money is a financial talk show distributed in daily video press releases to over 280 media outlets and social media networks. (www.rightonthemoneyshow.com)