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Aid & Attendance Archives

VA Benefits 2016 Cost of Living Adjustment

Metro Detroit and West Michigan seniors that receive VA benefits for long term care through VA Aid and Attendance Benefit, have always looked forward to the annual federal budget announcement of the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA). This year the announcement is not favorable. The latest from the Social Security Administration is that there will not be a COLA adjustment for 2016.

VA Rule Changes

The time has come and gone for "public comment" regarding new proposed rule changes to the VA's non-service connected benefits program. The benefits can provide much needed relief to seniors struggling to provide for their own long term care expenses. Currently, eligible veterans or their surviving spouses can collect up to almost $2,100.00 per month if married; $1,750.00 per month if single; and, $1,150.00 per month as a surviving spouse.

Still Time to Help Veterans

In about a month, the public commentary period for the new proposed VA regulations will end. There is still time to help our veterans and seniors that rely on non-service connected, improved pension and aid and attendance benefits. In Michigan there are about 600,000 living veterans that can become eligible for these benefits.

Michigan Merchant Marines May Qualify as Veterans

Many deserving veterans are often overlooked when considering VA benefits to assist with the cost of long term care. Specifically, Merchant Marines, serving during World War II may qualify for VA Aid and Attendance. During Worl War II, Merchant Marines took up arms to assist in the Pacific and Atlantic to support Allied forces and to ensure that precious cargo and supplies continued during the Period of Armed Conflict, December 7, 1941, to August 15, 1945.

Michigan Veterans and Proposed VA Regulations

Michigan veterans and seniors need to express their concerns over proposed new VA regulations affecting their ability to plan for benefits. Our office supports changes to regulations in order to protect seniors and veterans in Michigan, but, changes need to be consistent with Congressional intent, the Constitution itself, and, at the very least, consistent with Medicaid regulations that are true and tested over time.

An Open Letter to Congress from Michigan Veterans and Seniors

Over the past few days, several attorneys that I collaborate with are scrambling to get the "word" out to our lawmakers about the VA's proposed changes to regulations affecting eligibility for improved pension and aid and attendance benefits.

Michigan Nursing Home Patients Have Elder Law Options

Michigan families in Metro-Detroit and West Michigan helping a loved one with long term care, elder law, Medicaid, and VA assistance are faced with several difficult questions. The most important question involves the type of placement that is appropriate for their loved one. Often times, nursing home care or "homes for the aged" as they are licensed, are the first answer to the placement question. Nursing homes, are designed to help those that truly need the most care. If your loved one does not truly need "full 24 hour care" better placement solutions can be found at adult foster care facilitates, independent living facilities or private care facilities. Despite the placement options available, most families solely make the decision based on finances and available governmental benefits. My Michigan clients in Metro-Detroit and West Michigan, are always stunned to learn that there are alternatives to nursing home placement. One solution can be using VA benefits to supplement a loved one's income to provide enough monthly income to cover the cost of private placement at an independent facility with care or a private assisted living. Given the new VA non-service connected improved pension benefit rates (see the last blog entry) for 2015, we can often double a senior's monthly income which can be the difference between receiving private care at a facility of the family's choice and using Medicaid for nursing home benefits. As an alternative, if the senior is not a veteran we can discuss proper planning using his or her available assets to provide the same level of care in an alternative setting.

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