In recent columns I have explained the improved pension benefit available to many veterans or to spouses of veterans. However, the qualifications will be changing. This is the last of three columns explaining what I expect the most significant changes to be.
Posts Tagged ‘Veterans’
In my last article I began explaining the changes I expect will be coming for veterans who wish to qualify for the improved pension benefit. I expect these changes will occur in 2016, possibly as early as February.
I also mentioned that I expect at least three major changes, the first of which is the manner in which the VA determines if a veteran establishes financial need. Currently, the VA evaluates the net worth of veterans (and spouses) separately from the veteran’s (and spouse’s) income. Essentially there is a test for net worth and a separate test for income, both of which must be met.
For veterans struggling with low income and/or high out of pocket medical costs, the improved pension benefit can be an important source of assistance. It is my hope that the information provided in the last few columns can help veterans who have sacrificed so much for us.
However, before moving on to other planning issues, I need to explain some changes that are likely coming. I do not know for sure when these changes will occur, but the changes could be effective as soon as February 2016.
In the last several columns I have addressed how some veterans or surviving spouses can qualify for untaxed pension benefits. I addressed which veterans are eligible and the requirements to qualify. This included the limit on assets and income a veteran can have and still qualify.
Last column I described just how little income a veteran could have and still qualify. If the veteran is single, he or she can have an income of only $12,868. If married, the combined annual income cannot exceed $16,851. Unfortunately, many otherwise qualified veterans or spouses may see these numbers and assume they do not qualify for a benefit. That would be a mistake.
In recent weeks I have been addressing the improved pension benefit, a tax free cash payment that may be available to senior age veterans. This benefit is “need based,” meaning applicants (which can include the spouses of deceased veterans) must show their income and their net worth (meaning their assets minus their debts) do not exceed certain thresholds. This column will address how the VA considers the income of an applicant.
In recent weeks I introduced a benefit available to some veterans, called the improved pension benefit. This column will address how to qualify for this benefit.
In recognition and honor of Veterans’ Day, my next few columns will address a benefit that is available to some armed forces veterans in need. This benefit currently provides single veterans who qualify up to $1788 of tax free cash assistance per month. A married veteran can potentially receive up to $2120 per month.