veterans benefits attorney in connecticut

Veterans Benefits Claims in Connecticut

When Veterans think of benefits they can receive from the VA after service, the most popular benefits come directly to mind:  Disability compensation benefits; VA backed mortgage benefits; the GI Bill; and even Vocational Rehabilitation training and assistance.  Almost everyone has heard of or used these benefits at some point in their post-service life.

 

The GI Bill and the VA backed mortgages are easily obtained and typically someone else will help with the process or will complete the necessary steps for you.  Vocational Rehabilitation offers specific counselors and case managers at the VA to guide you through the process, step-by-step.

 

Disability compensation claims are a little trickier and require a bit more knowledge than the average veteran has.  But even with these claims, it is well-known that agencies such as the Veterans of Foreign War (VFW), American Legion Posts, the Disabled Veterans of America (DAV), and others can help with your claims and are very successful in getting them approved, especially where claims have been denied originally.

 

There are, however, other benefits available to Veterans and their surviving spouses that the VA does not advertise.  The following are well-kept secrets that most veterans do not know about:

 

PENSION – This is a disability income program that offers cash benefits to Veterans to help cover the cost of ongoing medical expenses.  It is dependent upon income, assets, and medical expenses.  Medical costs are estimated based on out-of-pocket – unreimbursed expenses only, and cover costs associated with long term care services, independent or assisted living, adult day care, nursing home services, health insurance premiums, prescription and non-prescription drugs, regular visits for medical treatment, and renting medical equipment.

 

To be eligible, a Veteran had to have served on active duty at least 90 days with one of those days during a period of war; service in combat not required.

 

  • World War II – December 7, 1941 through December 31, 1946
  • Korean Conflict – June 27, 1950 through January 31, 1055
  • Viet Nam “In Country”  prior to August 5, 1964 – August 5, 1964 through May 7, 1975
  • Viet Nam Era – February 28, 1961 through May 7, 1975
  • Gulf War – August 2, 1990 through date to be determined

 

The veteran must have been discharged with anything above dishonorable. And Gulf War Vets must have served 24 months or completed requirement for active duty service.

 

Compensation is based on a Disability and Medical Needs Test.  If Veteran is under the age of 65, he or she must be totally disabled.  If Veteran is over the age of 65, there is no requirement for disability.

 

However, there must be a medical need for assistance or supervision due to disability in order to get a VA rating.  Your combined income of household cannot exceed the MAPR for the category of Pension applied for. And generally your total assets cannot exceed $80,000 (personal residence, land, personal property and automobiles for personal use are excluded).  But there are exceptions.

 

Below are the Maximum Annual Pension Rates for 2014:

 

Yearly

Monthly

Without spouse or child

$12,652

$1,054

With one dependent

$16,569

$1,381

Housebound without dependents

$15,461

$1,288

Housebound with one dependent

$19,379

$1,615

Aid and Attendance w/o dependents

$21,107

$1,759

Aid and Attendance with one dependent

$25,022

$2,085

Two Vets married to each other – No ratings

$16,569

$1,381

Add for each child

$2,161

$180

 

 

DEATH PENSION – This is a disability income program that offers cash benefits to the Single Surviving Spouse of a deceased Veteran who meets the criteria for Pension.

 

To be eligible, the deceased Veteran must meet the eligibility requirements for Pension above. However, the deceased Veteran or Surviving Spouse do not have to meet disability or age requirements.

 

Here is a list of conditions that must be met to qualify: (ALL must me met)

 

  • Surviving Spouse must have met the conditions to be married under VA rules.
  • Surviving Spouse had to have been married to the Veteran at time of death.
  • Surviving Spouse must have lived together continuously with Veteran while married.
  • Surviving Spouse must be single at time of application and cannot have remarried after November 1, 1990.

And here are the 2014 Maximum Annual Death Pension Rates:

Yearly

Monthly

 Without dependent child

$8,484

$707

 With one dependent child

$11,106

$926

 Housebound without dependents

$10,370

$864

 Housebound with one dependent

$12,988

$1,082

 Aid and Attendance* w/o dependents

$13,562

$1,130

 Aid and Attendance* with one dependent

$16,179

$1,348

 Add for each child

$2,161

$180

 MAPR for child alone

$2,161

$180

 

*AID AND ATTENDANCE requires assistance with:

  • Bathing/showering
  • Toileting
  • Feeding
  • Dressing/undressing
  • Transferring in/out of bed/chair
  • Incontinence
  • Ambulating
  • Frequent need for adjustment of prosthetic or orthopedic device
  • Incapacity requiring regular assistance to protect patient from hazards or dangers in daily environment
  • Blind or visual acuity of 5/200 or less in both eyes
  • Patient in nursing home due to physical or mental incapacity
  • Totally bedridden

DISABILITY INDEMNITY COMPENSATION – This is payable to eligible survivors of a military service member who died on active duty or whose death after service resulted from a service-connected injury or disease.  It is automatically granted for surviving spouse of veteran who was permanently and totally disabled for 10 years or more.  It currently pays $1,233 per month, but there are additional amounts for dependent children and an additional $306 per month if aid and attendance is needed (not automatic).

BURIAL BENEFITS – Money is available for costs for veterans who were service disabled, receiving Pension or who died under VA care.

  • If death was result of service-connected disability – $2,000
  • If death non-service related and Veteran was receiving Pension or Compensation – up to $700
  • All Veterans receive free burial in state and federal VA cemeteries.
  • All Veterans are eligible for grave marker, flag, honor guard, and letter from the President

 

This is not an all-inclusive list of Veterans’ benefits but most of these are not well known.  As with any application for benefits, the key to success is in the detail and effort you put in to your application.  There is no fee for any agency to help you with your claim, but the more effort and interest you put into ensuring your claim meets the VA’s standard, the faster your claim can be approved and the faster you will receive your benefits.

 

If you have any questions regarding the content in this article, or if you feel you or one of your family members could use assistance regarding a veterans benefits claim, contact one of our our VA accredited attorneys today.