Veterans Benefits

Of the few Americans who are aware of financial benefits that are available to U.S. military veterans in the form of Veterans Administration (VA) low-income pension benefits, even fewer of the veterans or their widows or widowers who are eligible, or who could become eligible with proper planning by an elder law attorney, have done the planning and application to receive their federal benefits. Veteran pensions are available to many seniors age 65 or older, or who have other non-service-connected disabilities, and are financially eligible. The rules consider seniors age 65 and older automatically “disabled” for purposes of pension-benefit eligibility. Additional criteria can raise a veteran’s pension benefit above the basic independent pension if the veteran is “housebound” or in need of “aid and attendance” for certain activities of daily living.

Veterans with service-connecteddisabilities may be eligible for benefits that are classified as Disability “Compensation.” However, many more veterans have non-service-connected disability needs. These non-service-connected benefits are the area of VA benefits in which Miorini Law PLLC assists clients in planning for eligibility.

VA pension benefits can make a big difference in the ability of the veteran or widow or widower to afford basic costs of living, in-home caregivers in order to be able to stay at home, or to afford to live in an assisted living facility of his or her choice. Planning for eligibility for veterans pension benefits is similar to, but in some instances less complicated than the intricate planning often necessary for Medicaid eligibility. However, a very worrisome concern is that the simpler rules for VA pension benefit eligibility may entice seniors or their agents under Powers of Attorney to carry out transactions that will cause later Medicaid ineligibility if either the veteran or the veteran’s spouse, widow or widower should require Medicaid benefits within five years.

It is extremely important not to preclude later Medicaid eligibility. VA pension eligibility planning needs be done with careful analysis of its implications for eventual Medicaid eligibility for the veteran or his or her spouse. Veteran Service Organizations exist to provide no-cost assistance in preparing and filing applications for veterans benefits, but they are not qualified to assist veterans or their families with eligibility planning. Furthermore, they are not qualified to counsel veterans or their families in regard to Medicaid eligibility and the sometimes-conflicting standards and techniques that apply to the two sets of eligibility rules. Such planning requires the careful guidance and assistance of an experienced elder law attorney who is also accredited by the Veterans Administration.

NOTE:  The Veterans Administration requires attorneys and other veterans benefits counselors to receive official accreditation in order to advise and represent veterans before the VA.  Attorney Yahne Miorini, founder of Miorini Law PLLC, has received the required VA accreditation.

For further information, please call Miorini Law, PLLC at (703) 448-6121 or send an email to