One of the major benefits of serving in the United States armed forces is the ability to receive healthcare coverage and services through the Veterans Administration. There are many different benefits available for both veterans and their surviving spouses with varying criteria for each. For instance, wartime veterans are eligible to receive the Aid and Attendance benefit, which helps cover long-term care services.
Experienced Ohio elder law attorneys can work with veterans and their spouses to ensure that they receive the VA benefits they’ve earned through their service. However, in order to start the process of receiving VA benefits, it is necessary to go through the application process.
The process can be started online at the Veteran Administration’s website at http://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/online/. On this site, you will be able to fill out the 10-10EZ form, which is the enrollment application for health benefits. Before you begin, you should make sure that you have the proper documentation available in order to provide all of the relevant information:
- Discharge papers
- Medical Evidence
- Proof of medical expenses
If you’re applying for benefits that were earned by your deceased spouse, you will need additional information including:
- Marriage certificate
- Spouse’s death certificate
One significant problem, however, is that the application process can take as long as a year to complete, so starting the process as early as possible is better than waiting until you absolutely need the benefits. Luckily, the VA’s website will keep your information on file for re-evaluation at the point when you’re eligible if you don’t qualify for benefits right now. When you are approved, however, your benefits will be paid retroactively beginning with the month after you submitted your application, so once again, starting the application process as soon as possible is better than waiting.
In addition to using the website listed above, veterans and spouses may apply for healthcare benefits at their nearby VA medical center or by calling 1-877-222-VETS (8387).
If you have questions about how to qualify for VA benefits, it may be a good idea to speak with an elder law attorney who is experienced in VA eligibility and qualification. The attorney can assess your situation by examining your income and assets and then recommend different ways to improve your chances of qualifying for the VA benefits available to you and your spouse. Wartime veterans may also be entitled to an additional benefit, known as Aid and Attendance, to cover the costs of long-term care. In many cases, additional planning with an elder law attorney is necessary in order to legally fall within the VA’s income and asset guidelines.
If you want to learn more about qualifying for VA benefits, or if you are currently in the process of applying for VA benefits and would like some advice, please contact our Ohio elder law office at 877-653-3450 to schedule an initial consultation.