- Eric K. ShinsekiSecretary of Veterans Affairs
Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki: Inform Veterans about the VA's Improved Pension - Aid and Attendance
Millions and millions of veterans, their spouses, or widows missing out on VA pension benefit to help pay for care.
This pension is a critical piece for Veterans and their families who are struggling to pay for assisted care, yet the VA does not inform Veterans of the existence of this pension.
Help us petition the VA to inform Veterans about ALL their benefit options, including the Improved Pension (more informatoin about the Improved Pension can be found on my website, VeteranAid.org).
We need your voice to be heard. Please sign our petition today and forward this petition to every friend and relative to get us to our goal of 25,000 signatures.
- Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Eric K. Shinseki
Dear VA and Secretary Shinseki,
As a reminder, your Mission Statement is as follows - "To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan".
A well kept VA secret -
Improved Pension has been an entitlement to veterans and their spouses/widows for the past 61 years and yet you remain silent!
Improved Pension allows for Veterans and surviving spouses who require the regular attendance of another person to assist in eating, bathing, dressing, undressing, medication dosing, or taking care of the needs of nature to receive additional monetary benefits. It also includes individuals who are blind or a patient in a nursing home because of mental or physical incapacity. Assisted care in an Assisted Living facility also qualifies.
Simply put – Improved Pension is a 3-tier Pension Benefit and is the least known VA Benefit.
• Every veteran is classified by the VA as” permanently and totally” “disabled’ for VA purposes at the age of 65 making them “eligible” for Improved Pension.
• “Basic” level of Improved Pension could mean $1039.00 a month for homeless or below income qualifying veterans. That’s a winter coat, winter hat, gloves, food, and shelter. Where’s the outreach to educate and inform veterans?
• “Housebound” level of Improved Pension could mean $1269.00 a month to help pay for in-home care services rather than doing without necessary care.
• Aid and Attendance level of Improved Pension could mean $1732.00 a month to offset costs of care in assisted living or nursing home facilities for those veterans and their widows who now need assistance with their daily living.
• You do not have to be service-connected
• You do not have to have retired from the military
• You do not have to actually have been in combat
This is not “compensation” for service-connected injuries. It is straight “Pension”, and this money is “tax-free” income!
Not only do you remain silent putting senior veterans and their widows at risk who are doing without proper care due to financial limitations, you push these applications to the bottom of the pile in favor of applications of current conflicts knowing that on average 1,369 veterans 70 or older die on average every day in this country.
For a simple “pension” that requires no rating, you are taking 12+ months to award, and have allowed financial advisors to partner with properties who have exploited this Pension Benefit and duping senior veterans and their families putting them at even greater harm.
It is the VA’ silence and misinformation about this pension benefit that has let a fox into the hen house, and it is our veterans who are paying the price.
Our Greatest Generation has become the “Forgotten” Generation, and you have left millions upon millions of senior veterans, spouses, and widows to do without!
As the proud daughter of a WWII veteran, as well as a daughter who knows what it is to be desperate, out of hope, options, resources, and money to care for aging parents, I faced this challenge for 9 years with my Mom and Dad, and know all too well what this hidden pension benefit can represent. My parents missed out on over $160,000 that would have helped to pay for their care and provided better options for their care and services.
I am also the Founder of www.VeteranAid.org , a non-profit organization I founded in 2005 as a result of your silence that is the #1 nationally ranked website dedicated to the VA’s Improved Pension with a primary focus on the Aid and Attendance level.
It is not my job to educate, inform and assist with understanding this pension, but it is yours! I have changed the lives of thousands just by sharing the information you have chosen not to. You’ve been silent long enough. It is time for you to step up and act as a grateful nation for these senior veterans in their greatest time of need!
You have managed to build a fortress keeping out the very veterans to whom you are to honor, and take care of in exchange for their service.
You have built your fortress with your forms that require a law degree to understand and continue to increase the length and difficulty of making a simple application for benefits or pensions.
You stand ever-ready with your legal counsel and Boards of Appeals to deny, deny, and deny, while the veteran stands helpless with discharge papers in hand. You have created enough red tape to choke the life out of anyone, and have deprived millions of veterans and their spouse benefits they were and are entitled to by payment of service and sacrifice to this country.
You have completely abandoned the premise of why your agency exist and hold at bay our veterans as though they were the enemy, while it is you who have taken up arms against those who take up arms to defend us and our way of life. You tolerate ineptness within your agency and call it "backlog" and then reward Senior Officials with pay increases for a "job well done"!
You have tied the hands of our veterans and their families behind their backs, and leave them exhausted from trying to figure out the maze you have created that is intended to lead to nowhere.
You hide behind codes and statues while the mound of unprocessed claims reaches critical mass.
As a reminder for you, these are our sons, daughters, husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters that you have been entrusted to "care" for. Your lack of doing so is unacceptable, inexcusable, and without exception, the highest form of dishonor and disgrace to those who have "borne the battle".
Debbie Burak – CEO - Founder
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