Alzheimer's Support Network

August 7th 2012:  Rick Torres -  Veteran Benefits

Collier County Logo

Address:  Veteran Services  3339 E. Tamiami Trail                        Collier County Veteran Service Office:
Health Building (Building H)   Suite 212                                           Rick Torres, Veteran Serice Manager
Naples, FL 34112    Get a Google Map                                          Eddie Hartnack, Veteran Service Officer
 Phone: (239) 252-8387 (VETS)    FAX: (239) 252-2870                 Anne Cardenas, Customer Service
Business Hours: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.  Monday through Friday                 Website:  Veteran Services

The transportation coordinator's phone contact is 239-252-4826 (4VAN)
for those seeking transportation to VA clinic appointments in Southwest Florida. 

Rick Torres is the Verteran Service Manager for Collier County. 
In this talk he discusses the Non-Service Connected Pension and the Death Pension. 
This presentation is from August 7th, 2012.


Click Here fore the Handouts of this talk:   Death Pension    Live Pension    Homemaker-Home Aide Care

Forms:  (Best Mark)  Witness Form     Third Party Disclosure Authorization Form

 Click Here for a PDF Version of this powerpoint that you can download and print.



 Part 1:  General Qualifications

Part 2:  Income and Asset Limits, What the VA will Pay

VA Non-Service Connected Pension:

Must satisfy each to qualify:

(1)  Minimum of 1 day of service during war time

(2)  Minimum of 90 days of active duty service

(3)  Not dishonorably discharged

(4)  Over the age or 65 or totally disabled

(5)  Meet Asset and Income Limits


(1)  Net Assets must be less than $80,000   (Not counting home, or life insurance policies).

        This is  household net worth, so wife’s assets are included.

(2)  Net  Income limit:  This figure is dependent on these factors:

(2a)   Are there dependents ?

(2a)   Is the Veteran housebound?

(2c)  Does the Veteran need aid and attendance?

Due to these considerations this figure will range from:  $12,256 to $24, 239

The veteran’s NET INCOME must be below this figure.
And the VA Pension will pay to “bring the veteran’s income up” to this limit.


Let’s look at an example:

Jimmy served in the 82nd Airborne during Vietnam.  He was there from April 1965 to Dec 1965.  He was injured in combat and received an honorable discharge.   He was born in 1947 and is 65 years old today.

He’s total yearly  income is $78,000 from Social Security and a pension through GM where he worked after the war.  He lives alone, never married and with no children.

Five years ago, Jimmy was diagnosis with early onset Alzheimer’s when he was just 60.  Today, he needs help with all his activities of daily living.  He can not balance his checkbook, or live independently.  While he can feed himself, he can’t prepare his meals, and needs cueing to help him dress and bathe. 

Jimmy currently resides in an assisted living facility at the cost of $5,500 per month ($66,000 per year).   He pays Medicare premiums of  $1,100 per year.  In addition, he pays  $200 a month ($2,400 per year) for supplemental insurance.  

Jimmy still owns his home, now valued at $180,000.  He has  $10,000 in a saving account, and a $65,000 IRA.  He has a life insurance policy worth  $350,000.  These are his total assets.   Does Jimmy qualify for the VA Pension?

Jimmy served during war time for 9 months (needed only 1 day during wartime and 90 days of active duty service).  Jimmy was honorable discharged, and is over 65 years old.  So far, so good.

Jimmy’s Assets:

Home   $180,000   (home is excluded)

Life insurance  $350,0000   (life insurance policies are exclude)

Savings  $10,000

IRA         $65,000

Total:    $75,000

Asset limit is $80,000.     He meets the Asset limits.

Jimmy's Yearly Income:  

Allowable Medical Expenses:

Assisted Living  $66,000

Medicaid Premium:  $1,100

Supplemental insurance:  $2,400

Total allowable Medical Expenses:   $69,500

Adjusted Net Income:  $8,500   ($78,000 -$69,500)

Since Jimmy has no dependents but does need aid and attendance,  the VA income limit is:  $20,447

Jimmy will qualify for the VA Pension, and it will pay to bring him up to the $20,447 figure.

So the VA pension will pay Jimmy $11,947 a year  ($20,447 -$8,500)


If Jimmy spent no money other than for the assisted living, Medicaid premiums, and supplemental insurance,   Jimmy’s total assets would still be  $75,000.  As outlined above, the VA would pay Jimmy $11,947 for the VA non-service connected pension.  If his total needs were meet by the assisted living and he spent no additional money, then the $11,947 income from the VA pension would sit in his savings account and become assets.

So, even though he would qualify to receive the pension in 2012, in 2013 he would not, because his assets would jump from  $75,000 to $86,947 (over the $80,000 Limit).


    Part 3:  Death Pension


Q:  Do trusts count as an asset?

A:  The VA does not count a properly structured irrevocable trust.  See an Elder Law Attorney to create such a trust.

Q:  If we set up a trust, is there a look back period?   If you move money into a trust, are you prohibited from applying for the VA pension for some period of time, like   3 or 5 years?

A:  No. Currently the VA does not have any look back periods.  But Veteran groups are pushing to institute look back periods due to some abuses.

Q:  What if the Vet is 95 years old, how does that affect the assets limits?

A:  It doesn’t change any limits.   It might, however, allow the claim to be expedited due to the advanced age of the veteran.

Q:  Is the asset limit really $80,000?  If you have $60,000 or $70,000 will you really be approved?

A:  Yes.  The limit is $80,000.  You will not be denied because you have 60 or 70 thousand dollars in assets.

Q:  What about agencies, companies, or individuals that say they can get you qualified for VA benefits?

A:  They cannot charge you to give you guidance about what to do.  That is against the law.   Probably, what they are looking to do is sell you products (like annuities).  Beware.