Calculating Your Income
What some veterans and family members don’t know is that all non-reimbursed medical costs are deductible in calculating income. For example, for veterans who served during wartime and later became disabled and require aid either at home or in an institution, the VA can provide a pension supplement to bring net annual income up to $20,795 for a single veteran or $24,652 for a veteran and spouse. A veteran with a retirement pension of $50,000 might appear ineligible, but with the fully deductible cost of a doctor-ordered live-in home caregiver running at more than that, the person would be eligible for the full VA pension.
Medicare is health insurance provided by the federal government to individuals age 65 and older, as well as some adults with disabilities. All U.S. citizens and permanent residents 65 and older are eligible. To ensure the lowest monthly premiums, veterans must enroll within three months before or after their 65th birthday. Medicare and TRICARE work together—there is a branch of TRICARE called “TRICARE for Life” that becomes available when you enroll in Medicare Parts A and B (basic Medicare). Medicare becomes your primary insurance and TRICARE pays for any co-insurance and deductible. Medicare and VA benefits, however, do not work together. Medicare does not pay for any care received at VA facilities, but it will cover care at a non-VA facility.
Former Ineligible Veterans May Qualify
A new federal policy could help veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and who are presently ineligible for benefits, get the medical care and benefits they need. The Department of Defense set down new guidelines to work with veterans who are trying to upgrade discharges to get medical help. This new set of guidelines is for veterans who have been diagnosed with PTSD or who do not realize they have PTSD. The DOD says this is in large part for veterans from the Vietnam War who were discharged without any record of having PTSD because it wasn't understood in that time. So, unless they get diagnosed by a private doctor, they cannot be reinstated for help with their PTSD if they were declared ineligible with their discharge. The new guidelines don't mean every single veteran will get their benefits. It just means a review board will take PTSD cases under special consideration. Without these guidelines it was nearly impossible to get benefits reinstated after they were denied.
311VET is VBA’s new benefits app, and it answers a wide range of questions about Veterans benefits, including what benefits you may be entitled to, how to apply for benefits, how different benefits are defined, and where to go to get more information about VA services. 311VET can provide information about most VA benefits, including pension, education, health, disability, loan, burial and career benefits.
SMC K Authorized
Did you know that an additional monthly payment is authorized when the veteran has suffered the anatomical loss or loss of use of:
- One or more creative organs
- One foot
- One hand
- One eye
- Hearing - deafness of both ears
- Speech - aphonia
CREATIVE ORGAN (38 CFR 3.350(a)(1)(i)-(iv))
Entitlement to a (k) rating exists when there is acquired loss or loss of use of one or both testicles or ovaries or other creative organs. Elective surgery such as vasectomy or loss of use of a creative organ following menopause would not be considered loss or loss of use of a creative organ. Even though there may be loss or loss of more than one creative organ, the law provides that only one (k) award can be granted for this function.
FOOT OR HAND (38 CFR 3.350(a)(2) AND 4.63)
Entitlement to a (k) award will be found when there is loss or loss of use of one foot or one hand. Such loss of use will be held to exist when the remaining function of either is equal to that of an amputation stump (below the level of the elbow or knee) with a suitable prosthesis in place, were amputation to be performed.
Social Impairment Compensation
Did you know VA regulations permit disability compensation for Social Impairment, which affects a veterans inability to interact with others in a professional setting, as opposed to a veterans personal life with family or friends? Compensation is for the veteran who’s earning capacity has been minimized or cut off due to work behavior perceived by others as being atypical or destructive, not through intention, but as a result of the veterans natural social interactions. Veterans perceived to have issues with colleagues, managers, or those in his/her work setting as a result of perceived social interactions that limit his/her ability to function in a work setting effectively may be compensated for Social Impairment. For compensation, as with other service-connected disabilities, there must be evidence of social impairment in the veteran’s service medical records.