More than 19 million Veterans are living in the United States according to a recent US Census Bureau American Community Survey. Some of the most significant problems for Veterans are health-related issues. Economic and social challenges are also some of the issues veterans face as they readjust to civilian life. By supplementing many of the programs for service members and their families, the new Veterans Affairs budget plan focuses on addressing these issues.
DiFranza Law is proud to provide guardianship, guardian advocacy, adoption, probate, estate planning and elder law services to Veterans and their families throughout the state of Florida. We put together this short article to help educate our veteran clients and the veteran communities in Florida about the programs available to them.
The 2022 VA Budget Plan
At the end of 2021, House lawmakers approved a Veterans Affairs budget for 2022. Previously, the White House and Congress have failed to get a budget passed in time for the following year which has created spending complications for many federal agencies. The $270 billion that has been earmarked will support critical programs and improved outreach to more Veterans. The budget plan will be the largest in department history and has marked another significant increase in funding available to Veteran initiatives.
At the forefront of the 2022 VA budget plan is mental health care. There will be a $10.7 billion increase – 13.5% from 2020 – in mental health care spending for Veterans. An additional $3.3 billion in medical spending on top of the $94 billion in advance appropriations are also approved for the 2022 VA budget plan.
This new plan includes more than $540 million for Veteran suicide prevention programs, which is nearly double previous allocations. In an effort to achieve a systematic end to homelessness for American Veterans, a notable program that helps Veterans experiencing homeless will see an additional 4.4% in the new budget. Gender-specific care and program support will also see a 12% increase from previous years.
The 2022 VA budget plan also includes $10.9 billion in military construction spending for the planning and designing of future child development centers for Veterans and their families.
Determining VA Benefit Eligibility
Even with a plethora of resources on the VA website, it can be difficult to know which benefits are available for each case. Pension benefits will fall into 3 categories – aid and attendance pension, basic pension, and homebound pension. It also makes a difference if the applicant is the Veteran or a family member.
To further complicate matters, a few years ago, the VA added new rules to the eligibility of certain benefits. One of the new rules included a lookback period and an asset limit for certain benefits. Despite the limits, there are certain legal strategies that can be used to protect an applicant’s savings while getting the benefits and care the Veteran and their family members need. To help get through the application process, it may be helpful to contact a Veterans benefits attorney.
Receiving These VA Benefits in 2022
It is best to have all of the required documents and forms ready when applying for VA benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Veteran’s relatives who are applying should have, any relevant birth certificates, marriage certificates, and if necessary, the Veteran’s birth and death certificates. Discharge papers are also required for VA benefits applications.
Veterans Affairs offers numerous ways to apply for VA benefits depending on the type of benefit. Veterans are encouraged by the Department of Veterans Affairs to work with an accredited Veterans benefits attorney that can assist with processing claims.
We Work with Veterans & Their Families Throughout Florida
DiFranza Law provides guardianship, guardian advocacy, adoption, probate, estate planning and elder law services to Veterans and their families throughout the state of Florida. To request a consultation, click here.