At the end of last year, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) finalized new rules that made it more difficult to qualify for VA Pension Benefits. This change includes the “Aid and Attendance” benefits available to low-income veterans (or their spouses) who are in nursing homes or who need help at home to perform everyday tasks, like dressing or bathing.
VA Pension benefits can be confusing to understand and even more difficult to obtain. Consequently, it is extremely important that you receive proper guidance when applying for these valuable benefits and not fall subject to any scams. A good place to start is consulting with an experienced VA accredited attorney.
The VA has an accreditation process to recognize those attorneys who are permitted to represent Veterans before the department. These attorneys go through a background check, are required to complete an initial 3 hours of VA-specific education and then an additional 3 hours every 2 years thereafter to stay in good standing with their state bar association. You can search for a VA accredited attorney at https://www.va.gov/ogc/
There are several ways that a VA Attorney can assist you when applying for VA Pension benefits. First, they can devise an estate plan in order to achieve financial eligibility for pension benefits. Second, they can draft a caregiver agreement which will provide written verification of medical expenses to the VA. Finally, a VA Attorney can appeal adverse decisions made by the department.
In light of the new pension regulations effective October 18, 2018, it has become even more important to get guidance since applying for these benefits at the wrong time could now bar you from receiving benefits for as long as 5 years.
If you or a loved one is considering applying for Pension benefits and seeking out a professional for advice, please consult the VA accredited attorneys of Zacharia Brown by calling 724.942.6200 or by visiting our website at PittsburghElderLaw.com.