Our Veterans practice is limited to pension benefits for NJ Veterans and their spouses who are over age 65 or Veterans who are totally and permanently disabled
A personal message from Accredited NJ Veterans Attorney, Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. to our Veterans
As a veteran, you deserve special treatment in America. My job is to help you get the pension benefit you are entitled to help pay for your long term care costs.
In recognition of your service, I have prepared this informational website filled with advice, helpful tips and answers to the most frequently asked questions that I deal with as an attorney working with Veterans and surviving spouces for Pension Benefits eligibility.
Your inquiries are always welcome at Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a client friendly office with kind, patient and compassionate professionals. Let our experience guide and protect you.
Veterans Benefits For NJ Benefits and Their Surviving Spouse
Veterans Benefits For NJ Benefits and Their Surviving Spouse Part 2
What is a Veterans Pension?
A Veterans Basic Pension Benefit is a disability income program available to veterans and to the single surviving spouse of a deceased veteran. To be eligible, a veteran has to have served active duty in the military or a qualified support organization for at least 90 days with one of those days being during a period of a declared war.
Service in combat is not required, only that the veteran was in the military service during wartime and was honorably discharged. Charts showing the dates of declared wartime service are listed below.
There is a sister benefit to the Disability Pension called Compensation. This is for veterans who are disabled because of injuries or illnesses incurred while on active duty. Compensation is generally the more desirable benefit for a number of reasons but we will not go into this subject on this site. This site is limited exclusively to the “Aid and Attendance” Pension Benefit.
A veteran household generally cannot receive both a Pension and Compensation benefit at the same time. A decision must be made as to which benefit is better and the veteran must choose only that benefit.
If you are receiving a compensation benefit presently you’re likely not going to benefit as much with the “Aid and Attendance” award so beware. In order to receive the benefit, a veteran’s household (household means veteran, spouse, resident disabled adult child or minor child) must meet the military service criteria listed above as well as meeting an income and an asset test. In all cases, a medical needs test or medical expenses test must also be met. These criteria are further discussed in the later pages of this site.
Required Military Service
Period of War, Beginning and Ending Dates
- World War II, December 7, 1941 through December 31, 1946
- Korean Conflict, June 27, 1950 through January 31, 1955
- Vietnam Era, August 5, 1964 through May 7, 1975; for veterans who served “in country” before August 5, 1964, February 28, 1961 through May 7, 1975
- Gulf War, August 2, 1990 through a date to be set by law or Presidential Proclamation
There Are Big Advantages To You Or Your Loved One Being a Military Veteran
The Veteran’s Aid and Attendance Benefit is commonly known as the “VA’s Best Kept Secret”. While Medicaid is the biggest form of government financial support offered for long-term care, there are other options for some individuals. For example, New Jersey offers a limited number of benefits for at-home services through a waiver program known as Medicaid Managed Long Term Services and Supports (MLTSS). There are also the New Jersey Veterans homes located in Menlo Park, Paramus and Vineland.
The VA pension benefit is one financial option available to certain qualifying veterans. It helps veterans, along with their spouses, with unreimbursed medical expenses. While there are strict eligibility requirements, being broke is not one of them. There are some income and asset qualifications, but eligibility is mainly defined as (1) being over 65 years old or homebound and (2) in need of regular aid and attendance, meaning medical or other care is necessary at your home, in an assisted living facility, or at a nursing home.
Veterans Benefits for NJ Veterans and Surviving Spouse
The Veteran Aid and Attendance Benefit program offers the following financial benefits to those eligible:
- Married Veteran with a living spouse – Up to $2,169/ month, tax free
- Single Wartime Veteran – Up to $1,830/ month, tax free
- Widowed Spouse of a wartime veteran – Up to $1,176/ month, tax free
Eligibility can be tricky. The key lies in educating yourself on just how the benefit works. The most essential calculation is your “income for VA purposes” (IVAP). This is calculated by taking your gross income from all sources and then subtracting your “unreimbursed medical expenses” (UME). Your UME’s typically include doctor and dentist fees, Medicare and health insurance premiums/co-payments, transportation costs to your doctor’s offices, and care costs for nursing home/assisted living facilities or in-home care, among others. The UME’s include any medical expense that you incur as an ongoing cost. I know this is confusing. But hang in there and keep reading. Absorb what you can. Remember, when you’re done you can always call and meet with me to understand the topic better.
Income (IVAP) = Gross Income – Unreimbursed Medical Expenses (UME)
Let’s take New Jersey Veteran Harry Sharp for example. Harry is a 71-year old Korean War veteran receiving care at his home. He receives $1,700/month from Social Security and a pension. The cost of his in-home care is $3,000/month, in addition to the medication prescription costs of $200/month. Harry has $40,000 in savings, but is concerned because he knows that his care and medication is $1,500 more than he receives every month. He knows that this will drain his savings account in less than two years because he knows he also has basic living expenses such as utilities and food. He also knows that care costs are constantly increasing, so he wouldn’t be surprised to see his costs jump in the future.
A knowledgeable advisor will calculate his IVAP by taking the $1,700 income he receives and subtracting the unreimbursed medical expenses, which in this case is $3,200. This shows an IVAP of negative $1,500. Regardless of the fact that Harry has $40,000 in assets, he will be eligible for the full VA benefit of $1,830 per month, tax-free. Remember, you don’t have to be completely impoverished to receive the VA benefit. Since his IVAP is a negative $1,500, he is eligible for the full benefit. Thanks to this calculation, Harry can rest easy knowing he is eligible to receive the VA benefit to pay for the care he needs and won’t have to drain his bank account.
How to Get a Pension Benefit From the VA
In filing a claim for a VA benefit, it is important to know that only three types of professionals are authorized to assist you. They are:
- A licensed New Jersey attorney that is also accredited with the VA.
- A Veteran’s Service Organization (VSO), such as your local American Legion or Veteran’s of Foreign Wars (VFW).
- A state of New Jersey County Department of Veteran’s Affairs official.
The new VA rules and strict eligibility requirements make it essential that you hire an experienced consultant to assist you.
Who Qualifies As A “Veteran” For the VA Pension Benefit?
If you belong to any of the following groups and received a favorable discharge, you meet the service requirements for the benefits (keep in mind you still must qualify financially):
- Medal of Honor recipients;
- Woman Air Force Service Pilots (WASPs);
- WWI Engineer File Clerks;
- WWI Signal Corps Female Telephone Operations Unit;
- Female clerical employees of the Quartermaster Corps serving with the American Expeditionary Forces during WWI;
- Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC);
- Reconstruction aides & dietitians of WWI;
- Civilian Employees of Pacific naval air bases that actively participated in defense of Wake Island during WWII;
- Male civilian ferry pilots;
- Wake Island defender’s from Guam;
- Guam Combat Patrol;
- Civilian personnel assigned to OSS secret intelligence;
- U.S. civilians that participated in the defense of Bataan;
- Quartermaster Corps members of the Keswick crew on Corregidor during WWII;
- U.S. merchant seamen that served on block ships in support of Operation Mulberry in WWII invasion of Normandy;
- American merchant marines in ongoing service during WWII;
- U.S. civilian employees of American Field Service that served under the U.S. army and U.S. army groups during WWII;
- Civilian Navy IFF radar technicians that served in combat areas of the Pacific during WWI;
- U.S. civilian employees of American Airlines that served overseas in contract with the Air Transport Command between December 14, 1941 and August 14, 1945;
- Civilian crewman of certain U.S. Coast and Geodetic survey vessels between December 7, 1941 and August 14, 1945;
- Members of the American Volunteer Group (Flying Tigers) that served between December 7, 1941 and August 14, 1945;
- U.S. civilian flight crew and aviation group support of TWA that served overseas between December 4, 1941 and August 14, 1945;
- U.S. civilian flight crew and aviation ground support of Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corp. that served overseas between December 14, 1941 and August 14, 1945;
- Honorably discharged members of the American Volunteer Guard, Eritrea Service Command between June 21, 1942 and March 31, 1943;
- U.S. civilian flight crew and aviation ground support of Northwest Airlines that served overseas between December 14, 1941 and August 14, 1945;
- U.S. civilian flight crew and aviation ground support of Braniff Airways that served overseas in the North Atlantic between February 25, 1942 and August 14, 1945;
- U.S. civilian female employees of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps that served in the defense of Bataan and Corregidor from January 2, 1942 to February 3, 1945;
- The operational Analysis Group of the Office of Scientific Research & Development, Office of Emergency Management, which served overseas with the U.S. Army Air Corps from December 7, 1941 through August 15, 1945;
- Chamorro and Carolina former native police that received military training in the Donnal area of Central Saipan and were placed under command of Lt. Casino of the 6th Provisional Military Police Battalion to accompany U.S. Marines on active, combat patrol from August 19, 1945 to September 2, 1945;
- The Alaska Territorial Guard of WWII.
More Details About Eligibility for Non-Service Connected Pensions
So now that you know who qualifies as a Veteran do you or a loved one meet the following additional requirements?
- Must be an honorably discharged veteran, surviving spouse, or child of any military group. This includes special groups mentioned above;
- Must have served in active duty for 90 consecutive days, one of which was during a period of war;
- Must be at least 65 years old or have a qualifying “permanent or total disability”. Permanent or total disability means the person is receiving long-term nursing home care; or is receiving Social Security disability benefits; or is unemployable as a result of disability reasonably certain to continue throughout the life of the person.
Keep in mind the person’s disability does NOT have to be connected to the veteran’s service in the military.
Assuming you meet the above these eligibility requirements, it’s time to address the financial requirements.
Financial Eligibility Requirements
As you are aware, the Veteran’s program is a needs-based program that looks at your income and assets. There are two main tests to look at:
- Gross income minus certain expenses:
By certain expenses I’m talking about unreimbursed medical expenses for both the veteran, his/her spouse and his/her household, as well as certain educational expenses, and
- Net Worth Limitation:
Aside from certain items that are exempt, such as your house, car, etc., one’s assets must not exceed the maximum resource value under the NJ Medicaid program. In 2019, this figure is approximately $124,000, but will be indexed annually after 2019 based on increases in cost of living adjustment (COLA) that governs social security benefits.
Special Monthly Pension Rates – Paid to the Veteran’s
Based on 2019-2020 Rates
|SITUATION||MAXIMUM ANNUAL PENSION RATE||MAXIMUM MONTHLY AMOUNT RECEIVED|
|Permanently & Totally Disabled Veteran||$13,166||$1,097|
|With one dependent||$17,241||$1,436|
|Permanently & Totally Disabled AND Homebound||$16,089||$1,340|
|With one dependent||$20,166||$1,680|
|Permanently & Totally Disabled AND in Need of Regular Aid & Attendance||$21,962||$1,830|
|With one dependent||$26,036||$2,169|
|Increase for each dependent child||$2,250||$187 additional|
Death Pension Rates – Paid to the Veteran’s Surviving Spouse
Based on 2019-2020 Rates
|SITUATION||MAXIMUM ANNUAL PENSION RATE||MAXIMUM MONTHLY AMOUNT RECEIVED|
|With one dependent||$11,557||$963|
|Surviving spouse that is Permanently Housebound||$10,792||$899|
|With one dependent||$13,514||$1,126|
|Surviving spouse that is in Need of “Regular Aid and Attendance”||$14,113||$1,176|
|With one dependent||$16,837||$1,403|
|Increase for each dependent child||$2,250||$187 additional|
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR GOVERNMENT AGENCIES, HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS AND ELDERCARE ADVISORS TO KNOW ABOUT NJ VETERANS PENSION?
The national care planning Council estimates that approximately 8.5 million seniors — about 23% of all people over 65 — could qualify for a basic Pension or Death Pension by meeting the tests outlined in this site. That’s how many wartime veterans or their living spouses we have in this country. Unfortunately, few people know how to get this benefit and currently only 4.7% of those who are eligible are actually receiving it.
Don’t wait until your medical expenses become even more overwhelming. I’m here to help you with your NJ Veterans pension benefit and elder law planning needs.
Call me personally, Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. Attorney at Law 3499 Route 9 North, Suite 1-F Freehold, NJ 07728 New Jersey Veterans Benefits Toll-Free 855-376 5291 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m a World War II Veteran and reside in an assisted living residence in Monmouth County, New Jersey. I hired Mr. Niemann, an attorney recommended to me by my family attorney as a lawyer experienced in elder law and veteran benefits. I hired his firm for asset protection planning, Medicaid for my wife and the filing of an application for Veterans Aid and Attendance benefits. The staff and professionals at Hanlon Niemann were all very capable, responsive and caring. I feel like they are family to me.My legal affairs were capably and diligently processed and I was able to obtain the benefits my wife and I desperately needed.I am grateful to Mr. Niemann and will recommend his office to all of my veteran friends.– Robert Augliera, Howell, New Jersey
My wife and I wanted to express our gratitude for the guidance and patience from you and your staff along this journey. Life is strange at times and the things that bring us together can be just as strange, if not more.
I not only got to put a few bucks in the bank, but got to reconnect with my cousin Sarah, which was a great surprise for me. That alone was worth the journey for me. Getting to know her and the family has been really nice.
I know it was a long day for all of us in mediation, but I really am blessed to have gotten to know you and talk with you. I admire your skills, work ethic and attitude regarding time and Patience. When the opposing attorney was running her big mouth and doing her thing, you never lost your composure, nor your position. I’m hoping it’s one of the nuggets I’m able to take and implement in my personal/professional life.
The short version of this story is that you have a lot to offer people, you’re a true, trusted advisor. Your words and actions seem to align with your values, which is like common sense, very hard to come by now a days. Your staff does a great job as well. Please let them know that as often as you can.
Keep up the good work Fred and thanks again.
– Mike Price – Plainfield, IN
Recent Speaking Events by Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq.
You Can View Fred’s Current Schedule by Clicking Here
Mercer County Chapter of the New Jersey Society of CPAs
Fredrick P. Niemann spoke before the State Society of CPAs Mercer County Chapter on the subject of Estate Planning and Asset Protection Planning for individuals and families. Topics addressed during the 4 hour seminar included hospice planning and asset protection, Veterans Aid & Attendance, planning through the use of a Power of Attorney, Living Will and Healthcare Directive. Attendees at the seminar were eligible to receive 4 hours of professional CEU credits from the State Society.
Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. was invited by the Office of Elder Rights and Adult Protective Services of the Department of Health and Senior Services, Division of Aging and Community Services, to make comments on existing Adult Protective Services Programs at the State Capitol located in Trenton, New Jersey.
Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. addressed the Monmouth County NJ Bar Association Family Law Committee on Special Needs Trusts, Supplemental Needs Trusts for adult and minor incapacitated children and aged parents and their use in asset planning and eligibility for government benefit programs, including Medicaid, SSI and SSD.
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