The 10 Biggest Veterans Benefits Planning Mistakes
1. Assuming you don’t qualify for benefits. Millions of veterans and their families are eligible for benefits but do not receive them, simply because they don’t know they may be eligible for benefits and never apply for them. An accredited Veterans Administration (VA) attorney can quickly determine whether you are eligible and help you obtain them as quickly as possible. Never assume you don’t qualify.
2. Assuming that you do indeed qualify, and then applying for benefits without properly structuring assets to maximize your chances of being deemed eligible. Many families are denied Veterans Benefits because they have too many assets. An attorney with experience in this area can structure assets so that most families that meet basic eligibility requirements can qualify for benefits.
3. Not listing all the medical expenses. Many families are turned down for much-needed benefits because they do not properly list all of their medical expenses, including Medicare premiums, supplemental health insurance premiums, prescription drug insurance premiums, LTC insurance premiums, diabetes supplies, incontinence supplies, home care, assisted living, nursing home care, child care, and more.
4. Not submitting all the necessary information to the VA. Many families are denied benefits, or experience significant delays in obtaining them, because they do not provide all the necessary documents in their initial applications.
5. Not taking the potential for substantial Medicaid benefits into account. Depending on your particular situation, even if you are eligible for Veterans Benefits, you may be better off financially with assistance from Medicaid instead.
An experienced Veterans Benefits attorney can help you determine the best approach to obtaining the benefits you need and deserve.
6. Making asset transfers without taking the potential for penalties into account. Many families think they can simply give assets away to become eligible for Veterans Benefits or Medicaid assistance. Not true! Improperly transferring assets can jeopardize eligibility or delay eligibility for years. An accredited VA attorney can protect your hard-earned assets while preserving eligibility for benefits.
7. Not taking changes to the law into account. Recent changes to the law make it more difficult to qualify for the Aid & Attendance Pension Program. Eligibility for the program may be denied for up to five years if asset transfers are made improperly during the new three-year look back period.
8. Not submitting the annual Eligibility Verification Report (EVR) to the VA. This will lead to loss
of benefits until an accurately completed report is submitted—a long and arduous process that is best avoided.
9. Failing to notify the VA when medical expenses change. This mistake can lead to you being underpaid, or in some cases, overpaid (resulting in potential penalties and delays).
10. Not working with an accredited VA attorney. The VA clearly states that anyone who helps veterans and their families with claims for benefits must be accredited. Many people offering to provide this service are not accredited and simply want to sell annuities or other financial products. By working with an accredited VA attorney, you help ensure that you are receiving proper legal representation and that your claim will be filed as effectively and efficiently as possible.