When you serve in the military, you have a unique opportunity to feather your nest for the future while you serve your country in the present. People who serve in the armed forces become eligible to receive a military retirement pension once they serve for two decades.
If you were to enlist in the service you would do so as a very young adult. So, after this 20 years passes, you may be in your late 30s or early 40s. You could potentially retire from the service and spend 25 years or so working a job in the private sector while you are receiving a military pension.
You would be able to save the pension while living on your earnings. Once you reach the age of full Social Security eligibility, you would have two sources of income as well as a significant store of savings. Plus, there is another facet to consider. Major employers offer 401(k) programs, and in many cases, they will match contributions up to a certain percentage. If you take full advantage of this opportunity, you would have another financial resource to draw from during your retirement years.
Another alternative would be to forgo a civilian career and spend your entire working life in the military. The amount of your pension benefit varies depending on how long you were in the service. If you are in for at least 40 years, your benefit would be equal to the entirety of the pay that you were receiving when you were on active duty.
Veterans Aid and Attendance Special Pension
The military retirement pension is not the only pension that is potentially available to people that serve in the United States Armed Forces. There is another benefit called the Veterans Aid and Attendance special pension. When you hear the word “pension,” you typically think about a reward for a very long professional commitment. In fact, to qualify for this special pension, you do not necessarily need a lengthy of service record.
This pension is available to veterans who need assistance with their day-to-day needs. The modest length of service requirement is rather surprising. One must have served for at least 90 days with just one of these days taking place during a time of war to meet the requirement.
If you meet the length of service requirement and you can prove that you do in fact need help with your day-to-day needs, you have one more hurdle to cross. To be eligible for the Veterans Aid and Attendance special pension, you have to demonstrate some modicum of financial need.
Your eligibility will be based on your overall financial strength. If it is determined that you do not have significant financial need, you will not be eligible for the benefit. As a general rule of thumb, the figure of $80,000 is utilized as the upper resource limit, but determinations are made on an individual basis.
At the present time, you could place resources into a trust or otherwise divest yourself of assets in an effort to stay within the resource limit as you attempt to qualify for this benefit.
However, a few years ago a piece of legislation was introduced by Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon. He would like to see a three-year look-back period implemented. This would prevent people from divesting themselves of assets within three years of applying for this veterans benefit. The bill did not gain enough traction to be signed into law, but this is a matter that we will always keep an eye on as Mount Clemens veterans benefits attorneys.
These figures change periodically to account for inflation, but at the time of this writing in 2018, a single veteran that is eligible for the special pension can receive $13,166 per year. A veteran with a spouse can qualify for as much as $17,241 a year, and the surviving spouse of a veteran that is eligible can draw a special pension of $8830 annually.
Consult With One of Our Mount Clemens Veterans Benefits Attorneys!
If you would like to discuss veterans benefits or any other elder law matter with one of our attorneys, you can send us a message or give us a call at 586-493-7661.