Elder law attorney Jim Koewler joins Suzanne to talk about qualifying for the federal program known as VA Compensation.
There is also a Compensation program for surviving family members left behind when a veteran has died during their active service time or training in the military. There is no requirement for having to serve during wartime. There is special monthly compensation for a veteran or a surviving spouse, child, or parent who has certain disabilities or needs help with at least two activities of daily living: eating, walking, bathing, getting in and out of a bed/chair, cleaning up after going to the bathroom, grooming, dressing.
When qualifications are met, the Department of Veterans Affairs rates the level of disability, from 0 to 100 in increments of 10, which is up to the case manager. If the rating is 0, it was still established to be related to a service-related injury, and if the disability worsens later in life, you just have to demonstrate that it’s worse, and the level could be raised.
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*The following is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.
The following podcast is by Mr. Jim Koewler, elder law and special needs attorney, helping and protecting those who need long-term care. And Welcome back everyone to answers for elder’s radio network. And we are here with the Wonderful Jim Koewler, elder law attorney, and he is here talking about v a compensation, Um, AKA VA disability, helping veterans if they’ve been injured in the war that causes them disability in their later life. Doesn’t even have to be in a war. That’s right. Doesn’t even have to be in a war during time of service. How does that sound much better? Okay, so, Jim, welcome back. I’m glad that we talked a little bit about what today’s topic is and we’re going to go into compensation. Okay, what is it and how does it works? The show? Okay, v a compensation, as we’ve talked about before, is for veterans who have disabilities that the result of a disease or injury that incurred or was aggravated. So something happened to make an existing problem worse, like that bad need that I mentioned in a prior session had a bad mean when you got in the military, but you got in any way and then something made it worse. UH, during active service has to be during active service. Okay. So compensation isn’t available for people in the National Guard because all their time is training, unless their unit is activated. Sure someone who gets injured during basic training isn’t yet active duty. Okay. So, and even if they’re not even guarded reserve, just they’re going into military. Something happens during the time in basic training, they aren’t yet active duty. Okay. So, Um, then there’s also, and I mentioned this briefly earlier, compensation program for family members left behind by a veteran or veteran who has died, or someone who died during active duty. I don’t know what you call them a veteran or not, because they died still in the military. Have never have figured that terminology out. So this is for surviving spouses, children or parents, because parents is going to be the more likely, Um, a person who receives compensation benefits for someone who dies in the military, because many people in military going before this thing, I mean well before they’re married, before they have kids. Okay, Um, so we call this dependent and indemnity compensation or simply the IC. Okay, because they are dependents and it’s an indemnity. They don’t have to necessarily be dependent, but if the children are definitely dependents and spouses are assumed to be under va rules. We’re not looking at I R S here who makes more money. Okay, just their family members. Okay. So if the veteran’s death was connected to service, that would be killed while in the military. Again, not necessarily killed an action. It does include killed an action, but it could be um already on active duty training exercise and something goes badly wrong, or they’re just they’re driving around base and the jeep flips over, whatever. Those are all horrible events, but those are all qualify if they’re an active service. Okay, UM, or, I take back what I said about training. You see here on this slide active duty or training. Okay, so compensation is available. So you have to correct myself there. Um. So that is like basic training? Correct, it could be basic training. Uh, it might even include reserve and guard. I’m not I have never had to deal with that, so I cannot speak to that, but it’s a possibility. Okay. Um. And then special monthly compensation again now we’re talking about eight in attendance here, okay, but we’re also about more than is aid in attendance when we’re talking about compensation for a veteran who needs help from another person on a Tuesday the living, or who has certain disabilities, and I’m not sure that you call loss of a limit disability. I suppose it is, but the disability and the loss of limb a lot of the disabilities, the difficulties because you lost a limb. But that that all works. Um, or for the surviving spouse, childer parent who needs help from another person on Act Tuesday the living. Okay, we’re not worried about a loss of a limb to a dependent because that does not trigger aid in attendance. That’s not related to time in the service. Okay, can we really quick before you go to the next slide? Let’s review for our audience, Um, what is activities of daily living, just so there’s some clarity, the typical daily activities day to living, and va has its own slightly different description of these. Then, and I I’m not ready to go through those details on this because that’s probably a session, at least one session, all by itself, and I don’t have that today, um, but activees day living. Are the big seven, and I always have trouble remembering the seventh one, eating, the actual physical act of eating, not cooking, not cooking eating, ambulating, meaning walking around. Um, bathing. That’s the biggie. That’s the first one that usually goes, because someone is not sitting on their feet in the shower. UH, transporting, which is a fancy term for being able to get in and out of bed or in and out of a chair by oneself. It’s a balance and strength is ye, okay. Transporting is frequently the second one we see go. UH, toileting. Now, no one loses the ability to move their vowels or to urinate. It’s the can you clean yourself up afterwards? Okay, that is one of the first three to go. Transporting, bathing and toileting are the three that are most common that we see go first, especially bathing. Okay, bathing, toileting, UM, okay. Grooming, so being able to, you know, brush one’s teeth, colones on, com one’s hair, dressing, you to put one’s clothes on by oneself, and buttons are a big issue there. Yep, okay. The fact that someone could say, oh, switch to a sweatshirt or pullover. No, you still have a problem dressing. You are allowed to use that tie, you don’t. You’re not required to deal with throw you’re allowed to have um shirts and blouses that button. You’re not required to deal with zippers. Okay, you can dress the way you wish to dress. And if you cannot dress yourself that way, now we’re not talking about taste and we’re not talking about ability to buy the clothes. Okay. So if you want to address in an evening down or Tuxedo and your inability to pay for those, that’s not an ADL problem. Correct, that’s a money problem. Okay, if you want to dress in loud knock your shirts. Didn’t mean you can’t dress. It just means you have low taste. So Jim, in the interest of time, just giving an overview. Um, a person doesn’t have to meet all of those two of the seven. So that’s good. Yes, I just want to make sure that our listeners that no, you got it. Did I get all seven? Bathing, ambulating, eating, I think you did. Grooming, transporting, yeah, I did. That’s unusual. I usually I usually have trouble remembering one of them and somewhere along the line. Okay. So if someone needs help with two of those, Um, and sometimes they can throw in you need a safe environment, Allah Alzheimer’s, but Alzheimer’s is not yet known to relate to anything in UH in the military. Okay. No, dement is known to be a result of something APPs in the military. So while a protective environment need is a way to trigger special monthly, conversation, in other words eight and attendance. For someone who has uh pension qualified. That really won’t help you with compensation, Um, because it’s not related the disability. At the same time, if they have a disability and have dimension need a protective environment, it’s worth asking for the special conversation on top, okay, because they are sensitive with those issues and they want to take care of their veterans and the and the veterans families. Okay, moving on. We’re ready. Okay, I want to make sure we were done with that slide before I moved on. As I mentioned, there has to be service and connected. So something had to happen during time and service or training to the veteran or the person who died while in service. Okay, for compensation for anyone to be available. Okay, there there is no dependent endemnity compensation for the family of a veteran who does not, who did not have some disability his or herself or die during service. Okay. So a disability later in life of a of a spouse does not trigger the compensation issue. Okay, and here’s one of the big reasons compensation once they decide someone does have a disability and the disability is related to something that happened in the military, and that’s definitely going to be a doctor talking about the disability and what it is and what the likely causes and finding something in the personnel records, including the medical records of the veteran, that show that ties the two together. Today’s disability was something that happened during time in the service. Okay, I was standing guard outside the base and, you know, got rammed by a car. Yes, exactly, or one of the ones that the Veteran Service Commission here in Summit County Ohio, I mean where he’s Akron is the county seat and that’s where I live. Uh, in Summit County. Veteran Service officers there likes to talk about Um getting compensation for someone who didn’t seem to have anything in the in the record at all. Nothing military, nothing, nothing medical. But found a side note in the personnel record dropped Annville on foot in motor pool. Wow, well, it was the foot. There was a problem later in life. So yeah, exactly got that service member compens of, that veteran compensation. But then they rate how disabled are you? It goes from zero to a hundred, but it goes by tens. There’s no nine, there’s no thirty four, there’s no sixty eight, zero, ten or, if you’re a spinal tap fan, basically it goes to eleven. Okay, from one to eleven or zero to one by tens. I like the spinal tap reference. I always thought that was funny. Um, and that is definitely up to the reviewing case manager whatever. I never have forgot what they call them at the office where these things are viewed. In my part of the country, the middle part of the country. They’re going to be reviewed in Milwaukee and you’re a part of the country out west and it’s basically split up by population. So geographically most of the country is gonna go have their claims go to St Paul, Minnesota and the eastern part of the country where most of the population is. As there’s go to Philadelphia. So those are three big offices. But Philadelphia, if there’s questions later they run the customer service line. So any customer service calls go to Philadelphia. But supposedly they can see the status of something in Milwaukee and St Paul. Okay, so a friend of mine who is who is a veteran and does a lot of work with veterans. He actually sits on the Veteran Service Commission here in Summit County. He’s also an out a law attorney. Um He has a disability, a hearing issue. It is viewed at this point as zero percent disabled, so he’s not eligible for compensation. But because he has a rating at all, that means that it’s already been determined to be connected to his time in the military. So the service connected argument is already done. So if his hearing gets worse later in life, all he has to do is show that it’s worse and now maybe jumps from the center twenty or thirty or whatever, depending how bad it is. So he can always reopen that. So we’re gonna keep talking about compensation for veterans and Jim and I will be right back right after this message. State of a high o residents, you have a friend to help you navigate long term care while protecting your assets. You can reach Jim at www dot protecting seniors dot com, or just email him at [email protected].
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Suzanne Newman, host of the Answers for Elders radio show and podcast, proclaims often, “Caring for my mom was the hardest thing I ever have done, but it was also my greatest privilege.” Following a career of over 25 years in sales, media, and marketing management, Suzanne embarked on a 6-year-journey caring for her mother. Her trials and tribulations as a family caregiver inspired an impassioned life mission outside of the corporate world to revolutionize the journey that so many other American families also find themselves on. Answers for Elders provides education, help, and support to families, caregivers, and seniors across the country who are experiencing their own unique journey within the complicated world of Eldercare. Each week, Suzanne is joined by vetted professional experts in over 65 categories including health & wellness, life changes, living options, money, law, and more. Suzanne lives in Edmonds, Washington with her husband, Keith, and their two doodle dogs, Whidbey and Skagit.