White Plains, NY (Law Firm Newswire) July 5, 2013 — Though the U.S. government offers financial assistance to aging veterans through the Aid and Attendance pension benefit (A&A), many vets are finding it difficult to receive that aid.
A&A is designed to reimburse vets and family members the cost of caregivers who work in the home, which can include a vet’s children, if they are paid to give care, or to help cover the cost of nursing home or assisted living care. The A&A benefit may pay as much as $2,000 each month for the care of a vet and their spouse, and as much as $1,090 for a surviving spouse of a deceased veteran.
The A&A benefit program is still mostly unknown for many vets and their families. For those who have applied for the benefit, many report long delays and a lack of response from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The application is ten pages and includes requirements of additional forms and information, which can discourage applicants from applying. This is just the latest of many complaints about the Department of Veterans Affairs’ continued problems in processing benefits claims. According to the most recent numbers, 38,076 vets and 38,685 veteran spouses had their A&A benefit granted in 2011, which was an increase of 82 percent from 2007. Processing takes between 8 and 18 months for an applicant to hear from the VA regarding their application.
A large part of the problem is the record number of U.S. vets eligible for government benefits; in addition to the more than 1.7 million vets from World War II still drawing benefits, there are 1 million vets from Vietnam turning 65 and another 1 million veterans’ spouses eligible for A&A. The country has almost 1.5 million vets 85 and older, compared to the 164,000 estimated elderly vets in the U.S. in 1990. The VA’s benefit system is not designed to handle that much volume, and the VA is woefully understaffed.
Just 20,000 employees are currently assigned to handle all of the compensation and pension benefits for the millions of vets and vet-affiliated family members, according to a 2011 VA Performance and Accountability Report. That includes processing, following up, and all other associated administrative tasks. And A&A, as a non-service-related disability benefit, is lower priority than other benefit areas. Ninety-five percent of the work the VA does is working with wounded vets and their care.
About Littman Krooks
Littman Krooks LLP provides sophisticated legal advice and the high level of expertise ordinarily associated with large law firms along with the personal attention and responsiveness of smaller firms. These ingredients, which are the cornerstone of effective representation and necessary to a successful lawyer/client relationship, have become the foundation of the firm’s success.
Littman Krooks LLP offers legal services in several areas of law, including elder law, estate planning, special needs planning, special education advocacy, and corporate and securities. Their offices are located at 399 Knollwood Road, White Plains, New York; 655 Third Avenue, New York, New York; and 300 Westage Business Center Drive, Fishkill, New York. For more information about Littman Krooks LLP, visit the website at: www.littmankrooks.com.
New York Contact:
Maria M. Brill
Littman Krooks LLP
New York City Office
655 Third Avenue, 20th Floor
New York, New York 10017
(212) 490-2020 Phone
399 Knollwood Road
White Plains, New York 10603
(914) 684-2100 Phone
300 Westage Business Center Drive, Suite 400
Fishkill, NY 12524
(845) 896-1106 Phone
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