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By: Gary Dwyer on

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Veterans, Dependents, & Survivors: Are You Informed of Your VA Benefits?

Health & Aging

VeteranBenefitsAre you a veteran of our armed forces, a spouse, dependent, or surviving parent of a veteran? We want to help you remain successful and thrive in this ever changing economy. According to the 2015 Veteran Economic Opportunity Report, as published by the United States Department of Veteran Affairs, 1 out of 2 veterans will face unemployment. With the rising cost of health care, economical constraints, and money woes, we want to make sure those who have dedicated their livesprotecting ours—remain informed of their benefits and continue to flourish.

The following outlines various programs, compensation, and health care services veterans of our armed forces, spouses, dependents, and survivors may be eligible for. We at Presbyterian Senior Living are grateful to all veterans and the historical impact you have made. We are honored to provide the utmost quality care for our heroes of war, their spouses, and support for their families.

Pension Benefits Available to Veterans of the Armed Forces

The Improved Veteran Pension: A benefit payable to veterans of a war time period that are disabled because of non-service related disabilities or age. The qualifying periods of war for this benefit are World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, and the Persian Gulf War; serving in the active military for a period of 90 consecutive days and one day was served during the period of war. This program is income and net worth based. Total family income and net worth are reportable. There are three levels of the pension: Basic, Housebound, and Aid & Attendance.

The Improved Death Pension: A benefit payable to a veteran’s surviving spouse (married to a veteran at time of death). The deceased veteran must meet the criteria as identified for the Improved Pension. This program is income and net worth based. Three levels of the Pension: Basic, Housebound, Aid and Attendance.

Veterans and surviving spouses who require assistance with daily living activities (Personal Care, Private Caregiver, Skilled Nursing Home, Adult Day Care) may be eligible for financial assistance from the Veterans Administration for Aid and Attendance. The assistance will be paid for on an ongoing basis.

The VA Pension with Aid and Attendance is a tax free benefit that is payable to qualified applicants each month. The current monthly maximum entitlement rates are listed below:

2015 Monthly Maximum for VA Pension with Aid and Attendance

Veteran and Spouse $2,120
Single Veteran $1,788
Surviving Spouse $1,149
Medicaid Qualified/ Skilled Nursing Unit $90


Qualifying Military Service Dates

World War II Dec 7, 1941–Dec 31, 1946
Korean War Jun 27 1950–Jan 31 1955
Vietnam War Feb 28, 1961–Aug 4, 1964 (physically served in Vietnam)
Aug 5, 1964–May 7, 1975 (served on active duty)
Persian Gulf War Aug 2, 1990–a date yet to be determined by law.


Other Veteran Administration Benefits

Service Connected Disability Compensation: A benefit for veterans who were injured or disabled during active military service. The benefit paid is based on the severity of the disability, varies from $133 per month for a veteran rated 10% disabled to $2,906 or more for a veteran rated 100% disabled. For veterans rated 30% or greater, an additional allowance is provided for dependents. Income and assets are not a factor in determining eligibility or percentage of disability.

Widows Dependency Indemnity Compensation (DIC): A benefit paid to widows, widowers, and dependent children when a veteran dies as a result of their service related disabilities or they die while on active duty. Income and assets do not affect this payment. Current entitlement amount for 2015 is $1,254 per month. An additional $310/mo is available if the beneficiary requires assistance with daily living activities.

Health Care at VA Facilities: Veterans are eligible for heath care services within the VA health care system. There are various eligibility criteria that must be met prior to the enrollment into the VA health care system. It is best to consult with a VA specialist to determine eligibility requirements.

Burial: The VA offers certain benefits and services to honor our Nation’s deceased veterans. Headstone and markers, Presidential Memorial Certificate, burial flag, reimbursement of burial expenses (specific eligibility requirements exist), and burial in a VA National Cemetery is available to veterans and some dependents.

Other Benefit Programs: Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment, Education and Training, Home Loans, Life Insurance, VA Civilian Health Care, and Medical Program CHAMPVA for eligible dependents and survivors.

Documents Required for Proof of Eligibility

The following is a list of documents required for proof of income, verification of service, and eligibility:

  • Military discharge
  • Marriage, death or divorce certificates
  • Current bank and investment statements
  • Verification of monthly income
  • Medical report to certify the need of daily assistance or housebound status (VA Medical Form)
  • A application documents

For detailed information about all VA benefits and services, contact Gary Dwyer, PSL Veteran Assistance Specialist at 717-795-0404 or visit


 Learn more about Presbyterian Senior Living communities and how we are committed to helping veterans and their families thrive.

Click or Call 1-800-382-1385

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About Gary Dwyer

Gary Dwyer is the Veterans Assistance Specialist for Presbyterian Senior Living and its communities. He works with resident veterans and their families to explain benefits and qualifications for various veteran programs. Gary is always available to talk with veterans and their families about benefits they may be eligible for. Feel free to contact him at 717-795-0404. Additional information about your benefits is available by visiting

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