One of the primary goals of our blogs and videos is to keep you updated on changes in policies that will affect you or your loved ones. We’ve recently been made aware of some upcoming Medicare premium changes that will affect those receiving VA benefits, Social Security, and Medicare. These include cost of living adjustments for Social Security in addition to Medicare premium changes. Both of these changes are going to alter the monthly benefits that seniors are receiving, especially those receiving VA Aid & Attendance benefits.
VA Aid & Attendance Benefits
VA Aid & Attendance, also known as Veteran’s Pension, is a benefit that is available to eligible wartime veterans and their surviving spouses based upon the criteria below:
#1 – You received an honorable discharge from service.
#2 – You need assistance with the activities of daily living. These would include eating, walking, medication management, driving, hygiene — all those daily activities that most of us take for granted.
#3 – You must pass an income and asset test. In other words, your income and assets must be below a specific threshold defined by the VA.
Upcoming Changes Affecting Seniors
Social Security Benefits
Congress has recently passed legislation approving the largest cost of living adjustment in the history of Social Security benefits. Starting next year, Social Security benefits will increase by 5.9%. This will be a pretty significant raise for many recipients. And at face value, this seems like a good thing right?
Medicare Premium Changes
But there’s always a catch! What the government gives you, they’ll also take in the same step. Congress has also passed legislation for Medicare premium changes. This legislation results in a Medicare premium increase from $148.50 to $170.10. That’s an increase of 14.5% — much more than the 5.9% Social Security benefit increase! So you can easily see that most of our seniors will be losing money as a result of this new legislation.
How Does This Affect VA Pension Recipients?
How will this new legislation affect VA Aid & Attendance recipients? The VA is currently sending letters to pension recipients informing them of the changes. We’ve been receiving several letters per week on behalf of our clients. These letters are a bit deceiving, so read them carefully. The letter says something like, “Congratulations, you’ve received a cost of living increase of 5.9% for Social Security.” It also states that since you’re now receiving more money from Social Security, they’re going to reduce your VA benefit by the amount of your increase.
But here’s what they don’t tell you! You get to deduct the Medicare premium changes as an unreimbursed medical expense. So both changes are really a wash when it comes to your VA benefits. But they’re making you jump through hoops as a result of the legislation passed by Congress.
Contact Us So We Can Help!
If you’re received a letter from the VA or need help making sure your benefit doesn’t decrease, please contact us so we can help. You can complete this CONTACT FORM or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be glad to help and direct you as to what you need to do.
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