“Checks For Vets” Remembers Surviving Veterans and Spouses on Memorial Day

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While the majority of Memorial Day ceremonies this year will center around military men and women who gave their lives in service to their country, Pittsburgh-based Jourda Publishing seeks to serve those still with us, with their title “Checks For Vets,” a guidebook to help wartime vets and their surviving spouses receive the Veterans Administration pensions to which they’re entitled, to pay for long-term care.

Everyone has seen them, some in wheelchairs, during a Veterans Day parade, others wearing hats emblazoned with “Army – WWII.” When people see older wartime service vets, many now near 90 years old, they wonder how they’re doing, health-wise. Who is caring for the Iwo Jima survivor who’s been falling down at home, unable to shower safely? And—just as important—who’s paying for their care? Sometimes, it’s just too hard to watch, and the guilt washes over people as they realize that this frail, dependent person was once a proud soldier who put his life on the line for America's freedom.

It’s a heartbreaking sight, but the good news is that there needn’t be so many of these sad, unjust situations. The fact is, there ARE government pensions available to help many of these vets cover long-term care costs that might otherwise drive them out of their homes or force them into a meager existence.

In fact, millions of wartime service veterans and their surviving spouses are eligible for billions of dollars per year in the form of VA Aid and Attendance pensions to help pay for assisted living and home care. Veterans can earn more than $23,000 annually to help pay for their long-term care. The really sad part is, many vets simply aren’t aware of these programs, or if they are, don’t know how to apply. Without help, they remain struggling at home, or their cases fall between the cracks. Enter Joe McCarthy, publisher at Jourda Publishing and author of “Checks For Vets.”

“The information is out there, in VA websites and pamphlets, telling veterans how to apply for pensions and free medications,” says McCarthy, who became aware of this problem through his work as an assisted living administrator. “But many of these veterans are older and either don’t have access to a computer or don’t know how to use one. So we gathered all this information in one book, with sample forms and tips for successfully filling them out.”

“Checks for Vets” takes the mystery out of the bureaucratic process to help vets claim the maximum benefits they’re entitled to. It was written under the guidance of American Legion Veteran Service Officers (VSOs), who are key players in helping vets file their claims. The book contains sample forms and letters, reveals how to prevent delays in receiving benefits and contains a listing of national VSOs to advocate on veterans’ behalf.

Wartime service veterans and their surviving spouses wishing to apply for Aid and Attendance pensions must meet certain eligibility criteria, including:

  •     having served in active wartime military service
  •     Having earned an honorable or general discharge
  •     certain income and asset requirements
  •     proving physician-documented long-term care needs (help dressing, bathing, etc.)

McCarthy encourages veterans and their surviving spouses who believe they may qualify, to visit the book’s website at http://www.checksforvets.com to download a seven-step QuickStart Guide to obtaining these benefits. While there, they can learn more about the book. Numerous VSOs have stated that Checks for Vets simplifies pension applications through an easy-to-follow, step-by-step process written without confusing terminology.

“Our goal is to prevent so many of the sad stories and turn them instead into happy endings for these brave men and women who gave us all so many of the best years of their lives,” McCarthy says. “It’s the least we can do to say thanks.”

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Joseph McCarthy
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