VA benefits: A great resource for seniors

Written by Judy Kukelka. Posted in Featured, Senior Living

Published on January 31, 2012 with No Comments

Are you a wartime veteran (or the surviving spouse of one) with a medical condition that requires the assistance of another person? Are you receiving this care from a home health care agency or in an assisted or independent living community, a nursing home, or even from a family member?

If so, you may be eligible to receive a pension from the Veterans Administration. To qualify, the veteran needs to have served at least 90 days of active duty in the military, where at least one day of this service occurred during a wartime period, regardless of whether or not the veteran was engaged in combat.

For example, a veteran of World War II (Dec. 7, 1941-Dec. 31, 1946) or the Korean War (June 27, 1950-Jan. 31, 1955) who meets the above requirements and requires ongoing care may be eligible for VA benefits of $1,703 per month. The surviving spouse of a wartime veteran may be eligible for $1,094 per month. This pension income, which is paid by the Veterans Administration, is tax-free.

The fact is, many veterans and their families are not aware of these benefits and therefore cannot afford the care they need, or are forced to move to a Medicaid facilities when their money runs out. Unfortunately, you must apply; the government will not notify you of your eligibility. Like any government program, the application process is not easy and is not simply explained. Minor mistakes on the application can cause delays or even rejection of benefits. Because everyone’s situation is unique and the benefits they are entitled to vary greatly, you should discuss your specific situation with a Veterans Service Organization or a company that can educate you about VA benefits. One word of caution, it is a violation of Federal Regulations to charge for this assistance. If anyone tries to charge you for help with the application, they are breaking the law.

As a Geriatric Care Provider, Rittenhouse is always looking for resource to help clients afford the care they need. The people Rittenhouse turns to are Veterans Financial, Inc. They are a private financial services company that specializes in educating families about Veterans Benefits, Medicaid Planning and Financial Planning as it relates to long term care expenses.

They are not part of the Veterans Administration, but they offer free information about VA Benefits and will provide the necessary forms needed to apply as well as any help you need along the way. These forms, and other resources, can be obtained by emailing or by calling 1-800-835-1541.

You may wonder, “How can they afford to work for free?” Veterans Financial explains they are able to provide financial services assistance for some of the families they work with; this can be handling retirement savings or setting up Long Term Care Insurance for the family members of those in need of care. In these instances, their compensation comes not from the client, but from the financial firms the families choose.

There are a lot of resources; clients just need to ask the right ones. Over the past five years helping families, Rittenhouse haslearned you shouldn’t believe the first “no” you hear; ask someone else, you may get the answer you were looking for.

For more information from Judy Kukelka, Rittenhouse Senior Living of Portage, call 219-764-2900

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About Judy Kukelka

All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Jean Phelps is a franchise owner of Express Employment Professionals, which is located in Valparaiso and serves Northwest Indiana. If you are seeking employment or are a business seeking that right person for the job, call Express for your human resource solutions at 219-465-1868, or visit and click on the Valparaiso office.

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