Rick Law Elder Law Attorney at Law Elder Law, LLP Rick was named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law Elder Law, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future. Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care. Appointments are available in Chicago, Aurora, Oak Brook, Schaumburg, and Joliet. Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!When my friend came to me in need of help with veteran’s benefits, I realized how little I knew about the complicated VA benefit process. What a horrible feeling, not being able to help someone I care about when they needed me most. What’s worse, I didn’t know any lawyer who knew enough about veteran’s benefits to give my friend the help she needed. Telling my friend I couldn’t help was not an option. I had to find the answers that would help my loved one. So why are VA benefits so confusing and difficult to qualify for? Part of the reason is that our Congress has erected a wall around VA benefits. The first thing to know is that the only folks who are legally authorized to provide information to veterans about benefits are: 1. Federal Veterans Administration employees and employees of State Departments of Veteran’s Affairs; 2. Authorized representatives of Veterans Service Organizations like the VFW and American Legion, among others; and 3. Attorneys licensed to practice law in the veteran’s state and accredited by the VA. That’s right! You’ve got just three options to get the info and calling a lawyer is one of them. That being said, federal law prohibits a lawyer from charging a fee to actually assist a veteran with the claim for VA benefits. So why did Congress set it up this way? Theoretically, lawyers are not allowed to charge a veteran to help with a VA benefit claim form because: – There are plenty of capable and trained VA employees available to help vets fill out VA claim forms for free; – There are plenty of capable and trained volunteers available at the various Veteran’s Service Organizations to help fill out VA claim forms; and – Veterans should be protected from attorneys who would overcharge them for doing something as simple as completing and submitting a VA claim form. Like many of our government’s plans, this works much better in theory than in practice. If you have not already tried to get help from either the Veterans Administration or a Veteran’s Service Organization, then I highly recommend that you do try that first. And please, do it immediately. Like everything else pertaining to elder care, planning early – before emergencies begin to occur – is the best way to avoid catastrophe! The folks at the Veterans Administration and the Veteran’s Service Organizations truly do want to help you. Unfortunately, because of their limited staff and hours, sometimes there’s simply not enough help to go around. Many of you have already tried to find help, but still need more. If you are confused, have been denied benefits, or still have questions, then it’s time to give us a call at 800-310-3100.
Life is going along and suddenly, your parent, spouse or other loved one is diagnosed with a chronic disease. Or maybe memory and mobility issues have crept slowly into their life. Before you know it, you are thrust into a new chapter in your life and things will never be the same again. When this common situation happened to a friend’s mother, I got started in the maze of VA benefits. Someone I cared for was a living widow of a wartime veteran and she needed help to pay for the long term care expenses she would soon be overwhelmed by. I vaguely knew that there were some type of veteran’s benefits available, but I didn’t know exactly what it was or how to get it. I am a full-time lawyer. I spend every day keeping up with the ins and outs of senior’s issues, yet I felt virtually clueless as to how to help her get VA benefits. For my clients, I was used to being able to help with Medicaid benefits. Anything she might have needed help with her estate planning, I’ve got that covered. Disability issues: double-check. Yet here I was, feeling out of my element with veteran’s benefits and flooded with emotions that were tied to the fact that I wasn’t ready to fully take care of her the way I needed to be. I needed help. The truth is, I had actually attempted to tackle VA’s Aid & Attendance benefit, but I had been frustrated at the amount of time and energy that it would take me to become professionally able to use the skill. Quite frankly, I needed to pay attention to the work I already knew how to do to help my clients. Then one day all that changed and I had a rude awakening! By the time I got that call from my friend who needed veteran’s benefits to pay for care, I had gone to several educational classes about VA benefits, yet I still didn’t know how to get that pension. This is not easy stuff to get through, even for an Elder Care attorney! I was not going to stop until I conquered this thing and learned everything I could. Let me tell you, I definitely “paid the price” in time, money, and effort to learn the little-known VA rules for nursing home benefits for the over-65 wartime veteran and/or veteran’s survivor spouse. Now I am happy to say I can help you and your family as well to understand when and where those VA benefit are available to help with long term medical care expenses. And as for my friend I wanted desperately to help? I was able get my friend a widow’s pension of $1,094 per month to help her pay for her $4,000 per month assisted living fees. With that, she was able to afford several more months of private-pay nursing home care and the dignity that comes with it.