Did the Veteran serve a minimum of 90 days active duty, at least 1 of which was during time of War?
WAR PERIODS FOR NON-SERVICE CONNECTED PENSIONS
04-06-1917 through 11-11-1918, Inclusive
(If in Russia, Ending Date is 04-01-1920)
12-07-1941 through 12-31-1946, Inclusive
(If in Service on 12-31 -1946 with Continuous Service Before 07-26-1947 (Acceptable as War Time) 'Merchant Marines 12-07-1941 through 08-15-1945
06-27-1950 through 01-31-1955, Inclusive
02-28-1961 through 05-07-1975, Inclusive For Veterans Who Served in Vietnam During that Period
08-05-1964 through 05-07-1975, Inclusive For All Others
08-02-90 through (date to be determined) (No One Knows at this Time, Since the War
on Terrorism is Considered a Continuation of the Persian Gulf War)
Was the Service in a branch qualifying for the benefit?
Listing of Acceptable Services for VA Non-Service Connected Pensions:
1. Full-Time Service in the Anny, Navy, Marine COlPS, Air Force, Coast Guard,
Merchant Marines, Women's Corp , Nursing COlP, other than Active Duty for Training
2. Full-Time Service as a Commissioned Officer in the Public Health Service
3. Full-Time Service as a Commissioned Officer at the Coast and Geodetic Smvey,
Environmental Services Administration, or National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (with Certain Additional Qualifications)
4. Service as a Cadet at a Military Academy
5. Attendance by Certain Active-Duty Members at Certain Preparatory Schools
Associated with the Military Academics
6. And Includes Authorized Travel to or from Such Above Duty or Service
7. Certain Civilians, Serving on Wake Island During WWII, and Others
(The Above List is Not All-Inclusive)
Did the Vet have any discharge other than "Dishonorable"?
Boards for Correction of military Records have the power to "correct any military record" when "necessary to correct an error or remove an injustice.". This power is extremely broad for an administrative agency and can be used very effectively by a creative and informed advocate to achieve substantial results for a client.
For instance, A BCMR has the authority to accomplish the following:
To upgrade all less than honorable discharges including a bad conduct discharge (BCD) or dishonorable discharge (DD) issued by sentence of a general court-martial (the DRBs do not have jurisdiction to review discharges issued as part of a sentence of a general court-martial);
To change the basis for a discharge;
To expunge a conviction by some pre-Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) (pre-1951) court-martial cases;
To void a discharge by changing its date to show completion of the normal term of service (such action may also result in back pay and allowances);
Does the Claimant have limited Income?
Generally, payments of any kind from any source are counted as income unless specifically excluded and the following are specifically excluded from countable income:
Welfare. Donations from public or private relief, welfare, or charitable organizations.
Maintenance. The value of maintenance furnished by a relative, friend, or a charitable organization (civic or governmental) will not be considered income.
Reimbursement of any kind for any casualty loss.
Profit realized from the disposition of real or personal property other than in the course of business.
AND HERE IS THE KICKER -
SUBTRACT from the amount of an individual's income ANY UNREIMBURSED MEDICAL EXPENSES.
GUESS WHAT -
Payments made to needed sitters, even if they are family members, count as medical expenses, as does the entire cost of an assisted living facility.
Does the Claimant have Limnited Assets?
This is defined vaguely as having a net worth that does not provide adequate maintenance. Historically this has been $50,000 for a single person and $80,000 for a married couple, excluding the value of their home, car and household items.
Recently, VA has begun using an age-weighted formula so while these may be the maximum allowed, someone may be disqualified owning a lesser amount depending upon their age.
Unlike Medicaid, however, there is no penalty period imposed for transfers made before application. So, if a vet or his widow has too much in the way of assets, they can simply transfer them to a trust for the benefit of their descendants, and not themselves, and allow their descendants to receive distributions form the trust and provide any needed assistance because the value of maintenance provided by a relative is not counted as income.
Is the claimant over age 65 or permanently and totally disabled if younger?
Your personal doctor determines your disability and the extent of it.
If you are Housebound, essentially you don't leave the house without aid, or if you cannot live alone without the assistance of others, in the opinion of your personal doctor, the VA will give you a larger pension than that you receive for merely being 65 years old.
If you are the widow of a vet were you married to the vet at the time of the vet's death?
Although there are certain limited exceptions to the marriage requirement they generally relate to abnormal situations such as a divorce precipitated by domestic violence inflicted by the vet spouse.
You must have been married to the vet for at least one year unless you have had a child by the vet.
Additional resources provided by the author
You may find addiontal information at out web site or the veterans Administration website under on-servcie connected disability pension.
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