How elder law affects benefits for veterans and their spouses

With 9.3 million veterans in the U.S.A over the age of 65 and 3.6 million veterans with service related disabilities, it’s more important than ever that all veterans are aware of the benefits that they and their dependents are entitled to. As elder law attorneys in New Jersey, we are providing a guide to the benefits that disabled and elderly veterans can access:

  • The Aid & Attendance Pension – This money-based benefit is available to veterans who have served during wartime or their surviving spouses, providing that certain qualification criteria are met. Firstly, your monthly medical expenses must exceed monthly income and the total value of your assets must be less than $80,000, excluding the value of your home. Lastly, the applicant must also require care for completing daily tasks like eating, bathing and so forth. It is important to check if you qualify for this pension as you may be able to receive it even if you are above the limit for a VA pension, providing your medical expenses qualify.
  • Long-term care services – There are a number of long-term care services offered through the Veterans Administration, including geriatric evaluation, adult day health care (A therapeutic and rehabilitation day program), respite care (Inpatient and outpatient support for caregivers), home care (Physical therapy, nursing, daily care and more) and palliative care for terminally ill veterans and their families. Nursing home care is prioritized for veterans with service related disabilities and a domiciliary care option is provided for low-income disabled veterans.
  •  IRS benefits – As a veteran, you may qualify for several benefits and tax considerations from the IRS, including the exclusion of benefits from the VA from your gross income and refundable federal income tax credits under the Earned Income Tax Credit.
  • State of New Jersey benefits – The New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs offers a separate set of benefits to those offered by the Federal government. These include access to long-term care at Veterans Memorial Homes for disabled or elderly veterans, income tax exclusions for military pensions and survivors benefit payments, property tax exemptions and deductions for eligible veterans and surviving spouses and free internment in the Brigadier General William C. Doyle Veterans Memorial Cemetery for veterans, their spouses and dependent children. There are also subsidies for adult day programs and free transportation to VA medical centers, Veterans Service Offices, local hospitals and private doctors.

Navigating the legal criteria in order to qualify for benefits can be complex and time-consuming. At Sedita, Campisano & Campisano, LLC, we have considerable experience working with veterans and their families to get the benefits and care that they are entitled to. To find out more about our services or speak to an elder law attorney, please contact us today. 

Why estate planning should be at the top of your New Year’s resolutions

Whether you’re single, married with a family or anything in between, estate planning should be on your list of New Year’s resolutions for 2015. While many people feel like this step is only for wealthy people or people with dependents, the fact is it’s for everyone’s benefit. Here’s some insight from New Jersey estate planning attorneys:

  • It helps provide for your immediate family – Although this is especially true for people with a spouse and children, it also benefits other dependents you may not have considered. You may want to help elderly family members, parents or close friends by making them beneficiaries of your estate. This also helps to reduce estate taxes on inheritances, ensuring your assets go where they are needed most.
  • Show support for a charity or cause – If you do not want to name family or friends as beneficiaries, there are other options. For example, you can name a particular charity, cause, religious institution or educational institution you are passionate about as a beneficiary.
  • Plan for incapacity – Life is unpredictable and, in the event of a medical or physical condition leaving you incapacitated, your estate plan will determine the extent of your medical treatment through a power of attorney. This includes whether or not you want to be on life support and whether or not you want to receive extreme life-saving measures. In addition, a financial power of attorney can also be included so that someone you trust is given the authority to manage your finances if you are no longer able.
  • Give your business a future – If you are an entrepreneur or run a small business, a comprehensive estate plan will ensure the business will continue to run smoothly in the event of your passing. You will be able to include important documents on succession, how the business should continue to run and what will happen with regards to your interest in the business.
  • Funeral arrangements –While many people don’t like to think about their passing, most of us have a fairly clear idea of what we would like to happen with regards to funeral arrangements. Your estate plan can contain details on whether you are an organ donor or not, if you prefer burial or cremation, where you would like to be interred and so forth. This is something which not only means your final wishes are adhered to, but that your loved ones are given a sense of closure.

Above all else, estate planning gives you peace of mind. With a current estate plan in the hands of Sedita, Campisano & Campisano, LLC, you can rest assured your health, assets and loved ones will be taken care of the way you would like. For more information on setting up or changing an estate plan, please contact us today.

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