People that serve our country in the United States armed forces make many sacrifices for the common good, and their families also pay a heavy price. Though there is no way to adequately repay them for their service, there are veterans benefits that can be very useful. Since our firm specializes in elder law matters, retirement planning is one of our areas of focus, and veterans have some great opportunities in this regard.
If you were to spend 20 years serving on active duty in the military, you would qualify for a retirement pension for the rest of your life. The longer you stay in the service, the higher your monthly benefit would be when you retire. There are a couple of different avenues that you can take from a retirement planning standpoint.
You could opt to stay in the service until you are eligible to receive Social Security. Since you would have over 30 years of service, you would get the maximum military retirement benefit to add to your monthly Social Security direct deposits. This should provide you with ample income to allow you to enjoy your golden years in comfort without any financial worries.
Another option would be to serve for 20 years and then embark on a second career in the private sector. If you were to go this route, you could save or invest your military retirement pension payouts and live on the salary that you are receiving from your civilian job. Most companies offer 401(k) plans, and many offer matching deposits, so you could contribute into that as well.
Under this scenario, the accumulated savings could be quite significant between the 401(k) and the military pension benefits that were never spent. After retirement, the military pension would continue to roll in along with Social Security, and this should provide ample resources to fund a fruitful retirement.
Veterans Aid and Attendance Special Pension
There is another type of veterans pension that can be quite useful for senior citizens, so it is very much on our radar as elder law attorneys. This benefit is called the Veterans Aid and Attendance Special Pension. It is intended for veterans that cannot handle all their own day-to-day needs due to physical limitations.
There are essentially three different eligibility requirements that must be met in order to qualify for this benefit. First, you have to be able to provide acceptable medical proof that you do in fact need assistance with your activities of daily living. Secondly, you have to meet the length of service requirement, which is quite modest compared to the 20 years that is required for the military retirement pension. If you have served for at least 90 days with a minimum of one of these days starting or ending while the country was at war, you meet this requirement.
The Veterans Aid and Attendance Special Pension is intended for veterans that have limited financial resources, so there are asset limits. Each case is looked at on an individual basis, but generally speaking, the limit on countable assets is $80,000. The word “countable” is quite operative, because your home is not considered to be a countable asset, your vehicle is not counted, and household items, personal effects, and some other belongings would be exempt.
A single veteran that is deemed to be eligible for the Veterans A and A pension could receive $1830 a month, and an eligible married couple may qualify for $2170 each month. The surviving spouse of an eligible veteran that needs living assistance can receive a monthly benefit of $1176, and a healthy veteran with a spouse that needs help can qualify for $1438 a month.
Contact Our Firm to Learn More!
If you would like to obtain more detailed information about veterans benefits that can be quite useful as you get older, we would be more than glad to help. You can schedule a consultation right now if you call us at 586-493-7661, and you also have the option of sending us a message the contact page on this website.