The Special Monthly Pension with Aid and Attendance is the governments’
To get the maximum pension amount, a Veteran must qualify medically and financially and must have served their country for at least one day during “War Time”. Also the Veteran must have been honorably discharged. Every case is considered individually. If a Veteran or Veteran’s Widow feels they may qualify, they can apply for the pension. The pension can take many months to actually be approved. The average waiting period is three to eight months. The first check will be retroactive to the date the application arrived at the Veterans’ Affairs, therefore the first check may be for thousands of dollars. Subsequent checks will arrive monthly for the approved amount. This pension money can mean the difference between affording adequate care for an aging Veteran/ Widow or having no care at all.
As with any governmental program, success is in the paperwork. The application is lengthy and some of it is in essay form. It is the wording of the essay areas that mean the difference between approval and denial. Also, Veteran’s Affairs does not tell Veterans about all the supporting documents that they would like to see with the application. The better the medical and financial records, the better the chances are of approval. Including the right medical forms signed by a doctor is very important for approval. Also typical of governmental red tape is the frustrating lack of communication. Once the application is filed , it is very difficult to get a status update.
In a perfect world, financial assistance for those who qualify should be easily accessible and easy to get. But the reality is that government agencies are inherently complicated and their application processes are never self explanatory or simple. Seasoned Geriatric Care Managers can often navigate these processes for you. They may charge for their services, but to attempt to do it yourself and have your application denied, will cost much more money. The Department of Veterans’ Affairs supposedly employs staff to help Veterans and Widows apply for these pensions for free, but it is these very people who have told so many seniors that they do not qualify, when in fact, they could qualify if they made one small change . Perhaps Veteran’s Affairs is afraid that if they made it easy for every Veteran to apply, the pension fund would go broke. I anticipate the pension fund will one day be either broke or impossible to get. For now, the money is very much available and attainable. With a little professional planning, many Veterans and Widows can receive pensions that make a significant difference in the amount of care they receive. After all, the reason for this particular pension is to assure that aged Veterans or Widows do not live in a substandard environment in their old age. It takes a little work to apply for this pension, but anything worth having usually does.