Thousands of elder South Florida veterans may be missing out on important veterans benefits due to lack of information. The issue was the subject of a recent article in the Sun Sentinel. Veterans’ advocates believe that lack of communication about the Aid and Attendance pension is causing thousands of dollars in benefit funds to go unused each year.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is being criticized for lack of outreach to senior veterans who require additional aid and care as they age. The Aid and Attendance pension provides compensation for qualifying veterans or their surviving spouses who require daily assistance.
Aging and Disabled South Florida Veterans are at Risk
While this issue is a concern across the U.S., many veterans and their families in South Florida are impacted. The Sun Sentinel article made mention of a South Florida woman who was struggling to provide care for her mother-in-law, a 96-year old widow of a WWII veteran. The woman was fortunate enough to know about the pension, but had to spend 14 months dealing with paperwork, applications, and long processing times.
In a statement to The New York Times, a VA spokesman claimed that 38,076 veterans and 38,685 spouses were granted veterans benefits from the Aid and Attendance pension last year. This is just a fraction of the nearly 1.7 million WWII veterans that were reportedly alive and eligible for the same benefits.
Applying for the Aid and Attendance Pension
These veterans benefits are available to South Florida veterans who:
- are older than 65;
- have a low income or limited assets;
- rely on others for daily care; and
- were a member of the armed forces for at least one day during wartime.
The injury or illness that requires daily care does not have to be service-related, as is the case with many other VA benefits.
Applying for veterans’ benefits can be a frustrating process. Documentation is necessary to show proof of income, military service, and health records. The processing times for these claims become longer when the initial application is incomplete or contains errors. The potential delays and difficulties in seeking these veterans’ benefits are why many South Florida veterans choose to work with an attorney.
Finding a South Florida Veterans Benefits Attorney
According to the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs, the state has the biggest population of WWII veterans with over 164,000 and the third biggest population of disabled vets (from any war or period) at over 249,000.
If you are planning to apply for VA benefits or if you have already applied but have been denied, a disability attorney from the Law Offices of Veterans Help Group can provide consultation and assistance. To learn if you are entitled to certain programs and benefits contact our South Florida veterans’ disability rights firm today – 1-855-855-8992.