VA Guide to Activities of Daily Living

VA Guide to Activities of Daily Living

VA Guide to Activities of Daily Living

What do Activities of Daily Living mean?

US Veterans Affairs defines Activities of Daily Living or ADLs, as tasks of everyday life that are essential to perform one’s ability to live independently. The following tasks are referred to as ADLs:

  1. Eating,
  2. Bathing/showering,
  3. Dressing,
  4. Using the toilet (continence), and
  5. Transferring (mobility as in transferring from a chair to standing)

What is the purpose of assessing ADLs?

The purpose of assessing ADLs is to determine a veteran’s eligibility for Housebound Pension or Aid and Attendance benefits. It provides important information on the veteran’s functional abilities, progress in rehabilitation and identifying necessary assistance to support daily living. VA nurses, case managers, physical therapists and occupational therapists will work with the veteran to complete the assessment of ADLs.

What are Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs)?

IADLs are tasks that are essential to leading a fully independent, functional and responsible life. The following are referred to as IADLs:

  • Shopping for food
  • Cooking
  • Doing laundry
  • Housecleaning
  • Managing money
  • Managing medications
  • Driving/using public transportation
  • Using the phone

What are Compensatory Skills?(IADLs)?

Compensatory Skills are new ways for a veteran to accomplish Activities of Daily Living with the help of another person or a caregiver. Physical and occupational therapists will help identify which compensatory skills would be the best fit for the Veteran’s specific needs. They will teach you and the Veteran to develop these skills. Some examples of compensatory skills are:

  • Training and adaptation to handle activities such as dressing, bathing, toileting, grooming and feeding.
  • Creating or identifying new methods to complete tasks in a way that accommodates changes in the Veteran’s abilities.
  • Helping the Veteran to re-learn basic skills like cooking and grooming that may have been lost due to injuries such as TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), for example.
  • Training and adaptation for activities such as shopping, running errands or handling finances.
  • Working with employers and/or schools to adapt the work or home environment so the Veteran is able to do his or her best.
  • Helping to identify and develop healthy, fulfilling hobbies or other activities if he or she can’t return to work.

Does assessing ADL help with claiming VA benefits?

Yes. The VA extends assistance to veterans unable to perform ADLs, such as when a disabled veteran (or the surviving spouse of a veteran) seeks financial aid for in-home care. A veteran with two or more ADLs as a result of physical or mental disability  qualifies for Long-Term Care benefits under the VA.

What is the VA Criteria for Aid and Attendance Besides ADLs?

Besides needing assistance with ADLs, the VA’s other criteria for Aid and Attendance eligibility is when a person:

  • Has corrected vision of 5/200 or less in both eyes; or
  • Has concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees; or
  • Is a patient in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity; or
  • Is bedridden apart from any prescribed course of convalescence or treatment

ADLs in VA vs Medicare – Is there a difference?

Yes. Medicare.gov stipulates that help with basic personal tasks such as ADLs do not qualify as medical care. It defines support with ADLs as: custodial care,unskilled care or long-term care. This is an important distinction to understand when checking into long-term care options for seniors.

On the other hand, qualified Veterans or their surviving spouse requiring assistance for ADLs are entitled to financial aid for long term care, home care or custodial care under the VA pension program.

What’s next?

If you need more information about Activities for Daily Living in order to qualify for VA Pension and Aid & Attendance benefits, book your free consultation meeting with us and we’ll help you apply for the financial assistance you so rightfully deserve for your service.

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Guide to VA Asset and Income Limits 2021

Guide to VA Asset and Income Limits 2021

Guide to VA Asset and Income Limits 2021

Veterans Affairs will base the pension amount of a qualified veteran, surviving spouse or dependent child on the difference between their Countable Income and MAPR or Maximum Annual Pension Rate.

 Assets and Income are combined to determine the total net worth of the veteran and their spouse. These include salaries, investments and retirement payments and other income received from benefactors.

 From December 1, 2020 to November 30, 2021 – the annual net worth limit to qualify for VA pensions is $130,773. Below is a list of items to help you determine which income and assets are “counted” to check if you’re within the set limit.

Counted as Income

  • Gambling Winnings
  • Gifts of Stock or Property
  • Inheritance
  • IRA & 401K Withdrawals
  • Social Security
  • Social Security Disability
  • VA Compensation
  • VA DIC (Dependency and Indemnity Compensation)
  • Wages
  • Alimony
  • Revocable Trust
  • Bonuses
  • Commissions
  • Overtime
  • Tips

Counted as Assets

  • Investments, Stocks and Bonds

  • Boats

  • Furniture

NOT Counted as Income

  • Assistance Contributions from Non-Profits

  • Family Assistance to Maintain the Vet’s Home

  • In-Kind Services

  • Installment Sales of Property (in certain situations)

  • Life Insurance Payments or Cash Surrender Value

  • Medicaid Payments

  • Respite Care

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

  • VA Pensions (Housebound and A&A)

  • Loans from Reverse Mortgages

  • Long Term Care Reimbursements

  • Medical Expenses Not Covered by Insurance

  • Education Expenses

NOT Counted as Assets

  • Primary Residence

  • Car

  • Personal Effects

What is MAPR And How Is It Determined?

MAPR is the maximum amount of pension that a veteran, surviving spouse or dependent child could receive. The MAPR is determined according to the number of dependents and whether they have disabilities and receive Housebound or Aid and Attendance benefits.

Congress adjusts the MAPR each year according to the rising cost-of-living. Below you will find your MAPR amount based on VA’s latest figures:

With No Dependents and – MAPR $
You don’t qualify for Housebound or Aid & Attendance Benefits 13,931
You qualify for Housebound Benefits 17,204
You qualify for Aid & Attendance Benefits 23,238

NOTE: If you have medical expenses, you may deduct only the amount that’s above 5% of your MAPR amount ($696 for a Veteran with no spouse or child).

With One Dependent and –

MAPR $

You don’t qualify for Housebound or Aid & Attendance Benefits

18,243

You qualify for Housebound Benefits

21,337

You qualify for Aid & Attendance Benefits

27,549

NOTES:

  • If you have more than one dependent, add $2,382 to your MAPR amount for each additional dependent.
  • If you have a child who works, you may exclude their wages up to $12,550.
  • If you have medical expenses, you may deduct only the amount that’s above 5% of your MAPR amount ($912 for a Veteran with 1 dependent).
Two Veterans Married to Each Other and – MAPR $
Neither of you qualifies for Housebound or Aid and Attendance benefits 18,243
One of you qualifies for Housebound benefits 21,337
Both of you qualify for Housebound benefits 24,428
One of you qualifies for Aid and Attendance benefits 27,549
One of you qualifies for Housebound benefits and one of you qualifies for Aid and Attendance benefits 30,635
Both of you qualify for Aid and Attendance benefits 36,861

How To Compute Your Annual VA Pension Amount

Sample: Surviving Spouse with One Dependent Child Amount $
MAPR with Aid & Attendance 27,549
Annual Income 10,000
Annual VA Pension 17,549

What’s next?

Once you’ve determined that your income is within the prescribed limit and you might qualify for VA Pension, Aid and Attendance, and Housebound Benefits book your free consultation meeting with our team at Crider Law and we’ll help you complete the process of claiming the benefits that you so rightfully deserve for your service.

Whether it’s your first time to file a claim, pursuing an appeal or just want to learn more about your rights and entitlements under the VA pension program, we will support you every step of the way.

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Military Service Requirements for VA Pension and Other Benefits

Military Service Requirements for VA Pension and Other Benefits

Military Service Requirements for VA Pension and Other Benefits

Veterans (and consequently, their surviving spouses) are eligible for VA Pension, Aid & Attendance and Housebound benefits if the veteran is aged 65 years and older and served during wartime.

The Veterans Pension program provides monthly payments to wartime Veterans who meet certain age or disability requirements, and who have income and net worth within certain limits. Here are the military service requirements to be eligible for VA benefits.

Benefit Minimum Time in Active Duty Period of Service Discharge Characterization
VA Pension 90 Days On or Before Sept. 7, 1980 Honorable, general, or VA determination
VA Aid & Attendance 2 Years On or Before Sept. 7, 1980 Honorable, general, or VA determination
VA Housebound 1 Day Any Honorable, general, or VA determination
Military Retirement 20 Years Any Honorable
Military Retirement Homes (100% disabled) 1 Day Any Honorable, general, or VA determination
Funeral Benefits 24 Months

On or Before Sept. 7, 1980

For Officers: Before October 16,1981

Honorable, general, or VA determination
VA Disability Compensation 1 Day Any Honorable, general, or VA determination

Anyone who served on active duty in the Wartime Events listed below, may qualify for VA Basic Pension, Aid & Attendance or Housebound benefits. Veterans who served from August 2, 1990, to present, are considered Gulf War veterans and may be eligible for the same pension benefits.

Wartime Events

Start

End

WORLD WAR II

December 7, 1941

December 31, 1946

KOREAN WAR

June 27, 1950

January 31, 1955

VIETNAM WAR

February 28, 1961

May 7, 1975

GULF WAR

August 2, 1990

Present

VA Survivor Requirements

You may be eligible for VA Pension Benefits as a surviving spouse if you haven’t remarried after the Veteran’s death, and if the deceased Veteran didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge and their service meets at least one of the requirements listed below.

A VA Survivors Pension offers monthly payments to qualified surviving spouses and unmarried dependent children of wartime Veterans who meet the income and military service qualifications. Read our Guide To Veterans Long Term Care Benefits to learn more about the entitlements available to qualified veterans or their dependents.

What’s next?

Once you’ve determined that you might qualify for VA Pension, Aid and Attendance, and Housebound Benefits book your free consultation meeting with our team at Crider Law and we’ll help you complete the process of claiming the benefits that you so rightfully deserve for your service.

 Whether it’s your first time to file a claim, pursuing an appeal or just want to learn more about your rights and entitlements under the VA pension program, we will support you every step of the way.

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Veteran Qualifications for Free Health Care Benefits

Veteran Qualifications for Free Health Care Benefits

Veteran Qualifications for Free Health Care Benefits

Not all veterans receive the same type of health care benefits. The VA determines eligibility using a qualification system that ranks claims according to priority.

When you apply for VA health care, you need to figure out which one out of the eight priority groups you belong to. This system helps the VA determine who needs health care benefits urgently so they can get signed up quickly. It also makes sure that the veterans who need it the most are given the best care under the VA program.

So what determines your eligibility under the priority system? You will be assigned a group according to your military service and history, disability rating, income level, whether you qualify for Medicaid and other benefits that you may already be receiving under the VA pension program.

Here’s a Checklist that you can use to know your Priority Group and help facilitate your application for VA health care benefits. Check which statements apply. If you qualify for more than one priority group, the highest one will be assigned to you.

Priority Group 1

⬜ Have a service connected disability that is rated as 50% or more disabling

⬜ Have a service connected disability that renders me unemployable

⬜ Have received the Medal of Honor

Priority Group 2

⬜ Have a service connected disability that is rated as 30% to 40% disabling

⬜ Have a service connected disability that renders me unemployable

⬜ Have received the Medal of Honor

Priority Group 3

⬜ Was a prisoner or war (POW)

⬜ Was discharged for a disability that was caused by—or got worse because of—your active-duty service

⬜ Received a Purple Heart Medal

⬜ Have a service connected disability that is rated as 10% to 20% disabling

⬜ Was awarded special eligibility classification under Title 38 – “benefits for individuals disabled by treatment or vocational rehabilitation”

Priority Group 4

⬜ Receiving VA aid and attendance or housebound benefits

⬜ Have received VA determination of being catastrophically disabled

Priority Group 5

⬜ Don’t have a service-connected disability, nor a non-compensable service-connected disability 

⬜ Receiving VA pension benefits

⬜ Eligible for Medicaid programs

⬜ Have an annual income level that’s below the adjusted income limits (based on my resident zip code)

⬜ Don’t have a service-connected disability, nor a non-compensable service-connected disability

Priority Group 6

⬜ Don’t have a service connected disability, nor a non-compensable service connected disability 

⬜ Exposed to ionizing radiation during atmospheric testing or during the occupation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

⬜ Participated in Project 112/SHAD

⬜ Served in the Republic of Vietnam between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975

⬜ Served in the Persian Gulf War between August 2, 1990, and November 11, 1998

⬜ Served on active duty at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987

⬜ Currently or newly enrolled in VA health care, and

⬜ Served in a theater of combat operations after November 11, 1998, or were discharged from active duty on or after January 28, 2003

⬜ I was discharged less than 5 years ago

Priority Group 7

⬜ Gross household income is below certain Geographically Adjusted Income (GMT) limits. View GMT Limits

⬜ Agree to pay certain copays. View current copay rates

Priority Group 8

⬜ Gross household income is above certain Geographically Adjusted Income (GMT) limits. View GMT Limits

⬜ Agree to pay certain copays. View current copay rates

What’s Next?

Once you’ve determined your Priority Group, book your free consultation meeting with our team at Crider Law and we’ll help you apply for the benefits that you so rightfully deserve for your service.

Whether it’s your first time to file a claim, pursuing an appeal or just want to learn more about your rights and entitlements under the VA pension program, we will support you every step of the way.

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Applying for VA Aid and Attendance Pension

Applying for VA Aid and Attendance Pension

Applying for VA Aid and Attendance Pension

The Aid and Attendance Pension is a type of monthly financial assistance for qualified veterans or their surviving spouses to pay for the cost of elderly care, e.g. meals, medication, clothing and personal assistance expenses.

Who are Qualified?

  • Veterans over the age of 65 who meet the income requirements for financial assistance.
  • Veterans who are suffering from both physical and mental incapacity.
  • Veterans who require the aid of another person to perform personal functions essential for daily living such as bathing, feeding, dressing, attending to the wants of nature, adjusting prosthetic devices, and ensuring their safety and security.
    Veterans who are bedridden, defined by the VA as having a disability (or multiple disabilities) that keeps the patient in bed “apart from any prescribed course of convalescence or treatment.”
  • Veterans who are confined in a nursing home due to physical or mental impairment.
  • Veterans who have limited eyesight to “a corrected 5/200 visual acuity or less in both eyes; or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less” according to the VA.
  • Surviving spouses and dependent children of veterans who have died may also be eligible for similar benefits through the VA Survivors Pension program.
The veteran or their surviving spouse, is not required to meet all these conditions, just one is enough to justify consideration for Aid And Attendance payments.

How to Apply: 3-Step Process

1. Identify which documents you’ll need to send to the VA

Personal circumstances vary so identify only the relevant documents to support your claim. Include a marriage certificate, death certificate or statement of occupancy from a nursing home, as necessary. Take advantage of the assistance offered by some nursing care facilities who will work with you to certify a resident’s qualification for A&A.

  • Copy of current year Social Security award letter
  • DD-214 Military Discharge papers (originals, no photocopies). Note: You can request official replacements for lost originals from the National Archives
  • Proof of all assets (bank and investment statements) and income
  • Proof of insurance premiums and unreimbursed medical expenses

2. Fill out the correct VA Application Forms

Depending on your circumstances, select and completely fill out the application forms linked below that are relevant to your claim.

3. Mail the Application

But before you do, make sure to save personal, back-up copies of every item in the application packet as well as any other correspondence with the VA. It’s highly recommended that you send your completed application via USPS Certified Mail Return Receipt to confirm that the VA receives your application. Veterans in California can mail their applications to the following designated pension center –

Department of Veterans Affairs
Claims Intake Center
Attention: St. Paul Pension Center
PO Box 5365
Janesville, WI 53547-5365

What to Expect 

The workload at your region’s VA pension center will determine how fast your application will be processed. Sending an accurate and complete application with no missing forms, information and documents can speed up the process.

While every case varies, the application process typically takes around nine months from the date you submit it until approval. Once the VA approves the application, benefits will be paid retroactively from the original filing date.

Top Aid and Attendance Forms:

What’s Next?

Once you’ve determined that you might qualify for Aid and Attendance Benefits, book your free consultation meeting with our team at Crider Law and we’ll help you effectively file your application and fast-track your claim.

Whether it’s your first time to file, pursuing an appeal or just want to learn more about your rights and entitlements under the VA pension program, we will support you every step of the way.

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Applying for Housebound VA Pension

Applying for Housebound VA Pension

Applying for Housebound VA Pension

Defining Housebound Pension

Housebound pension is an enhanced monthly benefit for veterans who are confined in their residence due to permanent disability. Housebound veterans also include those who are confined in a nursing home or assisted living facility and those who are able to leave their residence but are dependent on the assistance of another person.

Establishing Eligibility

To be able to make a Housebound claim, veterans must first establish their eligibility for basic pension with the VA. Receiving basic pension largely depends on income. Veterans who exceed the income limit and are disqualified from receiving basic pension, may still avail of enhanced pension like housebound.

Second, a veteran must provide medical proof for needing assistance due to their disability.

Filing a Claim

Veterans can claim Housebound benefits by filing their application either in person at their VA regional office or through registered mail by completing the following steps –

  1. Fill out VA Form 21-2680 (Examination for Housebound Status or Permanent Need for Regular Aid and Attendance) and mail it to their state’s Pension Management Center. Note that the veteran’s primary care provider can complete the section on examination information.
  2. Include other documentation (such as a note from their primary care provider) as evidence of needing housebound care including details about the veteran’s daily routine – how they get from place to place, and details on how their illness, injury, or disability impacts their ability to do things on their own.

Once a claim for Housebound benefits has been filed, the timeline for the VA to make a decision about a claim varies. Claims are processed in the order they are received, but some claims may require priority processing and may be processed more quickly.

 If a veteran’s spouse also meets the qualifications of being housebound, the spouse may also be able to apply for Improved Pension Benefit.

Housebound Rating

Veterans can receive a Housebound rating after being examined by a physician. A Housebound rating is required for a veteran to be able to deduct certain medical expenses including: Home Care, Assisted Living, and additional Non-Medical expenses such as hygiene supplies, eyeglasses, diet supplements, etc.

Once a veteran gets a “Housebound” rating, the VA will allow the veteran to deduct all fees paid to a non-licensed, in-home attendant, as long as the attendant provides “custodial services” or assistance with at least two of the Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). The VA considers the following activities ADLs:

  • Getting dressed
  • Showering or bathing
  • Cooking and feeding themselves
  • Going to the restroom
  • Transferring from the bed to a chair or wheelchair
  • Mobility and transportation
  • Grooming

Maximum Annual Pension Rte (MAPR)

Generally, Housebound benefits allow veterans to receive a higher amount each month from the VA to cover their needs. The amount that a veteran can receive in Housebound benefits depends on a number of factors. The different rates are below:

  • Veterans who qualify for Housebound benefits and have no dependents can receive a Maximum Annual Pension Rate (MAPR) of $16,805
  • Veterans who qualify for Housebound benefits and have at least one dependent can receive a MAPR rate of $21,063
  • Veterans receive an additional $2,351 for each of their dependents

What’s Next?

Once you’ve determined that you might qualify for VA Pension and/or Housebound Benefits, book your free consultation meeting with our team at Crider Law and we’ll help you apply for the benefits that you so rightfully deserve for your service.

Whether it’s your first time to file a claim, pursuing an appeal or just want to learn more about your rights and entitlements under the VA pension program, we will support you every step of the way.

BOOK MY MEETING

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