Friday, 10 June 2016

Veterans Pensions & Benefits: USA

Veterans Pensions & Benefits: USA

For the past many weeks, there have been myriad (chain) emails dropping into my inbox extolling how the people of USA stand and applaud when personnel of their armed forces transit through airports etc.

The same (chain) emails lament that people of India and the Govt [read MoD/DESW, FADS, CGDA, IFA, PCDA P)] do not care about Indian Ex-Servicemen/Ex-Servicewomen, more so those awarded disability benefits.    

In trying to become as smart as the smart-phone my daughter gifted me took me to various YouTube sites about homeless Veterans (many of them women) of US Armed Forces and their plight. I was curious because if they are getting pensions and benefits, why are they sleeping in the streets, under bridges, in their cars, or on park benches.    

In a sense of déjà vu (because of the MoD/DESW’s incorrigibility in suing Disabled ESM), I heard a homeless US Veteran being awarded US$ 200 (or so) as disability pension even though he had steel plates inserted in his back, and his left arm being operated multiple times to be reconstructed after the US Army vehicle in which he had been travelling had been blown up in Iraq. The Veteran said that after fighting many years, the VA has finally conceded that he should receive upwards of US $ 1000 per month. He said he will believe it when he sees the cheque.  

Please access and read from the following: -

The succeeding parts are from my partial discovery.

About Pension

VA helps Veterans and their families cope with financial challenges by providing supplemental income through the Veterans Pension and Survivors Pension benefit programs.

How to Calculate Veterans Pension

Your yearly family income must be less than the amount set by Congress to qualify for the Veterans Pension benefit. If eligible, your pension benefit is the difference between your “countable” income and the annual pension limit set by Congress. VA generally pays this difference in 12 equal monthly payments.

Income and Net Worth Limitations

Countable income includes income from most sources as well as from any eligible dependents. It generally includes earnings, disability and retirement payments, interest and dividend payments from annuities, and net income from farming or a business. Some expenses, such as unreimbursed medical expenses, may reduce your countable income.
Net worth includes assets such as bank accounts, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, annuities, and any property other than your residence and a reasonable lot area. You should report all of your net worth. VA will determine whether your assets are of a sufficiently large amount that you could live off of them for a reasonable period of time.

Hypothetical Example VA Pension Benefit Calculation

Your pension is calculated to be an amount equal to the difference between your countable family income and the annual pension limit set by Congress.
  • If, for example, the annual income limit on December 1, 2005, for a Veteran and spouse, as set by Congress, is $13,855 and your income combined with your spouse's income is $10,855, your VA pension will be $3,000 ($13,855 - $10,855 = $3,000) paid in monthly installments.
  • If your total countable family income is more than $13,855 in this example, then you are not eligible for a VA Pension for that year. You may reapply again at any time your countable income falls below the limit.
  • A portion of your unreimbursed medical expenses (what you paid out of pocket after medical insurance pays) may reduce your countable income. Using the example above for combined family income ($10,855):
    • If your medical expenses for a year are $8,000 and your medical insurance pays $6,400 of that, your unreimbursed medical expense is $1,600.
    • That portion of your unreimbursed medical expenses ($1,600 in the example above) which is more than 5% of the maximum rate of pension, or $693 in this example ($13,855 x .05 = $693), may be deducted from your total combined income which then increases the amount VA will pay to you.
    • Since the $1,600 out of pocket expenses is greater than $693, you may reduce your family income by $907 ($1,600 - $693). So, your income for VA pension purposes is now $9,948 ($10,855 - $907).
    • Your VA pension would then be $13,855 (maximum rate for a veteran with a spouse) minus $9,948 (total family income after deducting unreimbursed medical expenses), or $3,907 for that year.
Pension: How To Read Rates
The Improved Pension Rate Tables have two divisions: (1) the Maximum Annual Pension Rate (MAPR) Category and (2) the Amount.
The MAPR is the maximum amount of pension payable to a veteran, surviving spouse or child. MAPR fluctuates due to the following categories:
1.      Is the veteran or surviving spouse without dependents?
2.    How many dependents beyond one, does the veteran or surviving spouse have?
3.     Is the veteran or surviving spouse in need of housebound benefits?
4.    Is the veteran or surviving spouse in need of aid & attendance benefits?
5.     Did the veteran serve during the Mexican Border Period or World War I (Early War Veteran)?
6.    Are the veterans married to each other?
Here are some examples of how these categories interact:
Example 1
Joe is a veteran of WW II. He has a spouse. He is entitled to aid & attendance.
Go to the A&A With One Dependent MAPR row.
If Joe has deductible medical expenses, he can deduct any that exceed:
Go to the With One Dependent MAPR row and look at the To be deducted row beneath it.

Example 2
Mary is a veteran of the Vietnam era. She has a spouse and one child. She is entitled to aid & attendance.
+ 2,020
Go to the A&A With One Dependent MAPR row and add from the Each Additional Child row.
If she has deductible medical expenses, she can deduct any that exceed:
Go to the With One Dependent MAPR row and look at the To be deducted row beneath it.
The MAPR is reduced for each dollar of income that the veteran, surviving spouse, child, or their families have.
Example 1
So if Joe and his spouse have $3,000 of income and they have no deductible expenses, you subtract the income from the MAPR.

Joe will receive $20,096 for the year, or $1,675 each month of that year.
- 3,000

Example 2
If Mary and her spouse have $10,350 of income and they have deductible expenses of $3,588, you subtract the deductible amount from the medical expenses first.

Then subtract the expenses from the income.

Then subtract the income from the MAPR.
Mary will receive $17,880 for the year, or $1,490 each month of that year.
- $774

- 2,814


There is more on the websites on benefits, disabled benefits etc.

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1 comment:

  1. Sir, It was a real education for me by going through the references you had given with regards to the US Armed Forces pensions. Elderly veterans, Gulf War Veterans, Homeless Veterans, Incarcerated Veterans, Korean Veterans, Lesbian Veterans, Gay and Bi-Sexual (LGB) Veterans, Native American Veterans, American Former Prisoners of War Veterans, Veterans Living Abroad, Vietnam Veterans, Women Veterans, WW2 Veterans and their specific welfare measures, regular/disability pensions are all dealt separately in detail where are we struggle to decide single standard for all ranks with minor differences between the PBOR, JCOs and Officers.(the simplest generalization). How sensibly they evolved a system of calculating the regular and disabled pensions categorizing various disabilities. Many medically unexplained chronic symptoms like fatigue, headaches, joint pain, indigestion, insomnia, dizziness, respiratory disorders, and memory problems are included in the disability cases arising long after retirement. Arriving at the correct pension due is no difficult at all. We have a system of arbitrarily made-up pension tables which stand to no reason at all. Logically none of the bureaucrats instrumental can explain how those tables were made. A similar codification is the need of the hour the PCDA (P) to evolve for the true justification to the veteran class. The Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) is the only problem if applied in our context, it will apply only for the officer class. If applied to the officer class, it is reasonable anyway. The PBOR and the JCOs will never require this correction as majority are in the BPL class. Further discussion will make my comment too large a comment in your blog. Thanks for guiding me to a new study.