Veterans Benefits for Long Term Care


Avoiding the Medicaid Time Bomb 

Eligibility Criteria for Veterans Pension Benefits

Eligibility Requirements for Survivors and Dependents for Pension Benefits

Wartime Periods

Veterans Monthly Pension Rates

 Download "Guide to Veterans Benefits for Long-Term Care Expenses"

(updated 12-1-2013)



Watch video on Veterans Benefits for Long-Term Care Expenses



Are you under the misconception that you can qualify for Veterans benefits only if you've been injured or sustained a disability as a result of military service? It's not true! Whether you've been in combat missions or serving Stateside in the war effort, you may be eligible.

If you're a veteran who is is disabled or over 65 you may be eligible for for Veterans Pension, or Pension with Aid and Attendance, even if your disability is unrelated to military service. Veterans' widows may also be eligible. These benefits can help you pay for the enormous costs of nursing home care, assisted living care or at-home care. Even if you're not disabled, if you're over 65 you may still be eligible for benefits, depending on your income levels and outlays for medical expenses.

We often refer to these as "hidden benefits," because so many qualified veterans fail to apply and collect what is rightfully theirs. The Veterans Administration is well meaning but overburdened and understaffed, and does not do a very good job of getting this information to veterans. Do not take for granted that everyone who could qualify for these benefits knows they are out there. Additionally, the V.A. is not in the business of advising veterans about steps they can take to qualify. That's where The Karp Law Firm can help. We can also advise you about how to coordinate your Veterans benefits with other benefits you may apply for in the future (for example, Medicaid to help cover the catastrophic costs of long-term nursing care), so that you don't miss out on any of the help you are entitled to. 

If you are a veteran, the spouse of a veteran or a child of a veteran, please ask us about these benefits! All of our attorneys are accredited by the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide Veterans benefits advice.  In addition, Attorney Joseph Karp is admitted to practice as an attorney before the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

Uncle Irv

Staff Sergeant Irving Ziffer

July 3, 1918 - Nov. 21, 2008

A Message From Attorney Karp...

For me, it's personal.

Many of my loved ones have served in the armed forces, but one relative stands out: my dear late uncle, Staff Sergeant Irving Ziffer. Uncle Irv was in the first wave of troops mobilized in the Pacific during World War II. After five years he emerged from the war with a raft of serious injuries, two Purple Hearts, the Presidential Unit Citation, the American Defense Service Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic Campaign Medal with Bronze Star, and the New York State Conspicuous Service Cross and Star.

My uncle was a dedicated family man. But his family extended beyond blood. A true patriot, he always considered the military to be his extended family. He was  proud of his service, proud of his country, an active participant in veterans organizations, and a lifelong friend to his army buddies. When he died in November  2008, he was buried with full military honors. That's the way he wanted it, and that's what he earned. 

Veterans deserve our gratitude and respect, especially in their Golden Years, regardless of where or in what capacity they have served. But beyond these intangibles, they deserve every penny that their service entitles them to. Too many veterans don't understand their benefits, and a stressed-to-the-limit Veterans Administration does not do a great job of advertising them.

Our law firm strives to serve our veterans just as they have served us. That's the way Uncle Irv would have wanted it. All our  attorneys are Veterans accredited, and ready to assist you secure the benefits you have earned.

 For us, it's personal. It's also the law.




Avoiding the Medicaid Time Bomb


To determine eligibility, the Veterans Administration considers income and unreimbursed medical expenses. Asset transfers are not considered. For example, if you give $50,000 to your daughter on Tuesday and apply for V.A. benefits on Wednesday, the $50,000 transfer will not be considered.


That's a very different approach from Florida Medicaid, which carefully examines asset transfers. Currently, Florida Medicaid applies a lookback period on transfers from three to five years preceding the date of application, depending on the date of the transfer.


Many veterans who apply for aid and attendance benefits will ultimately apply for Medicaid benefits. When you apply for Medicaid, those prior asset transfers may become a "Medicaid Time Bomb" resulting in denial of Medicaid benefits! 


To avoid the Medicaid Time Bomb, be sure to consult with our Certified Elder Law Attorneys before you apply for Veterans benefits. We can devise a coordinated approach that will allow you to secure the maximum Veterans benefits and Medicaid benefits you're entitled to.  top

 Eligibility Criteria for Veterans Pension Benefits

  • Veteran was discharged from service under conditions other than dishonorable.
  • Veteran served at least 90 days of active military service, 1 day of which was during a wartime period (see Wartime Periods below).
  • If veteran entered active duty after September 7, 1980, generally he/she must have served at least 24 months or the full period for which called or ordered to active duty (There are exceptions to this rule).
  • Veteran’s countable family income is below a yearly limit set by law
  • Veteran is age 65 or older, OR, permanently and totally disabled, not due to willful misconduct
  • Allowable assets not to exceed $80,000. top

Eligibility Criteria for Survivors & Dependents for Pension Benefits

  • Surviving spouse must not have remarried.
  • Children must be under age 18, or under age 23 if attending VA-approved school or have become permanently incapable of self-support because of disability before age 18 (unless the child marries or income exceeds applicable limit). top

Wartime Periods

  • World War II:  Dec. 7, 1941 - Dec. 31, 1946. Extended to July 25, 1947 if the Veteran was in service on December 31, 1946.  Continuous service before July 26, 1947 is considered World War II service.
  • Korean conflict: June 27, 1950 – January 31, 1955
  • Vietnam era: August 5, 1964 – May 7, 1975 and from February 28, 1961 – May 7, 1975 in the case of a veteran who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period.
  • Persian Gulf: August 2, 1990 - yet to be determined.
  • National Guard: does NOT count as Military Service unless under Title 32.

Benefits are retroactive to the first of the month the claim for benefits has been filed. There is a new federal policy where they may be able to go back 12 months for nursing home applications. top


Veterans Monthly Pension Rates (effective 12-01-2013)

Veterans Family Situation
Maximum Monthly Pension
Maximum Pension
with Aid and Attendance




...with 1 dependent



Widow of Veteran



...with 1 dependent



Veteran Permanently Housebound



...with 1 dependent



Widow Permanently Housebound



...with 1 dependent




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