Saluting Our Veterans on the 4th of July
Veterans and their families make up nearly 400,000 of Alabama’s population which ranks 7th highest per capita in the nation. The Veterans Administration (VA), several non-profit and volunteer organizations, and VA-accredited Alabama elder law attorneys help veterans understand Alabama’s VA benefits.
VA-accredited Alabama elder law attorneys develop strategies that consider veteran benefits and any civilian work benefits both while the veterans are alive (disability benefits) and for their families, after they are gone (Aid and Attendance). These attorneys can assess veteran benefits in the context of long-term care, Alabama Medicaid, asset protection, conservatorships, wills, and trusts.
The attorneys can explain both pension and service-connected claims and Department of Defense benefits so that a veteran can make the best choices at the right times. Sometimes, a non-service-connected pension is a better choice. Without understanding CRSC (Combat-Related Special Compensation) and CRDC (Concurrent Retirement and Disability) payments, a veteran could lose out on benefits. Many veterans are eligible for Tricare for Life or CHAMPVA health insurance which provide important free health coverage. VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (VA DIC) is best known for benefits for veterans’ surviving spouses and children, and perhaps “loco parentis.” It is easy to miss these options without VA-accredited legal advice. An article by Military.com outlines other Alabama veteran benefits including:
- Ad valorem property tax exemption on home and 160 acres if the veteran meets certain criteria
- Ad valorem property taxes exemption on VA-specially adapted homes
- State, county, and city income tax exemption on military pay, survivor benefits
- No license or ad valorem tax on motor vehicles paid by VA
- 5 points added to state employment exam scores, and 10 points for spouse of certain disabled or deceased veterans
- Tuition waiver for Purple Heart Medal recipients to two and four-year technical, community, or junior colleges
- Alabama GI-dependent scholarship that waives $250 per semester hour and $1,000 for books per semester for up to five years if certain criteria are met
- Free admission to state parks
- Discounted fishing licenses to 20% disabled veterans
- Special hunting license for disabled veterans
- In-state license fees for non-resident active-duty military and families
- Free retired military pistol permit
- Alabama State Veterans Cemetery in Spanish Fort, Alabama
Alabama’s four existing VA homes have waiting lists ranging from 80 to 350+. With projections of 1,440 veterans needing care by 2045, the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs is building a fifth veterans’ home for long-term care located in Enterprise that will house some 175 veterans after it opens in 2023. If you are a veteran or a veteran’s family, thank you for your service! Please consider talking to a VA-accredited attorney about your VA benefit options soon.