COULD YOU APPRECIATE THE NEARLY FREE USE OF $1,840,000?
Is your mother the surviving spouse of a wartime veteran with medical needs such as home health care, assisted living, or nursing costs? She may be eligible for access to a resource equal to the “use” of $1,840,000. Maybe your mother has called the Department of Veterans Affairs and was told she is “not qualified” due to assets or income. Question: would you send your mother to talk to the Internal Revenue Service without proper forms and help? Of course not, so why simply trust a voice on the other end of the phone in calling the VA? Especially since a report by a syndicated columnist wrote in 2005, only “nineteen percent of the [VA’s] answers were “completely correct.”
HOW DID WE ARRIVE AT $1,840,000 FIGURE?
Let’s assume in 2015, the rate on Bank CD is 1%. Let’s also assume your mother is in a 25% tax bracket.
$1,840,000 X 1% = $18,400 interest for the year less 25% taxes ($4,600 tax) leaving a net income of $13,800 for the year.
Currently the Improved Pension award from the Veterans Affairs program for a surviving spouse provides $13,788 tax-free benefit in a year. This benefit is indexed over time to help offset effects of inflation.
According to research in an article by Knight Ridder Washington Bureau syndicated columnist, Chris Adams, nearly 2 million veterans and their surviving spouses are missing out on as much as $22 billion a year in pension. The stated reason is that the VA doesn’t know where to find these people! Do you know where your mom is now and would you like to learn more on this subject? One resource is found at the site www.ltc4vets.org a national educational website committed to helping the families of veterans and their surviving spouses get information and get their improved pension benefits.
Very few financial advisors are going to venture into VA Benefits education or sift through the 1500+ page VA manual. So what can be done to secure a surviving spouse benefit that is equivalent to the use of nearly $2 million dollars? There are a few test items or qualifications that must be passed. 1) Was the veteran serving at least 1 day during war time period? 2) Did they serve at least 90 days and receive an honorable discharge? 3) Would a doctor say that they need health care help?
What if the IRS owed you a significant refund and you used the wrong form to request it and they told you, “too bad you will have to wait at least another 12 months or longer in order to request your money again?” Well that is the way the VA operates on benefit requests. Get it incorrect and you will be forced to wait. By the way, you are not earning money while you are waiting and you are not getting a retroactive claim to your initial request. Sounds rough? It can be if you attempt to make a claim on your own.
What a joy it is to help a family member help their parent obtain a benefit they knew nothing about and had earned from their past service. This is NOT a welfare program and this is NOT about buying Long-Term Care Insurance. This process requires several forms and it is complex to navigate the VA forms. One key factor to being successful in obtaining the benefits is to use a highly experienced team with an accredited VA attorney to be your advocate and get you real benefits.
By Scott Thomas
If you would like to have a conversation on helping your mom or dad get their benefits then contact Scott Thomas at 888-504-9908 or SThomas@ltc4vets.org.