An article in USA Today last year reported that on a given night, more than 75,000 veterans (male and female) are living homeless on the streets of their cities. Nearly half (40%) of all homeless males are veterans. The homeless are often looked down upon in American society. They are often seen as lowly beggars, leeching off of the system. The true tragedy is when we see our brave, courageous, strong soldiers fall to homelessness. What we often don't understand is what would cause our protectors, our soldiers, to give up on ambition and dreams to live an unfulfilled life on the corner of Main Street. We don't understand this because we will never know, as our soldiers did, the trauma of war.
Veterans have to deal with high rates of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and often may have traumatic brain injuries or sexual trauma. Due to their experiences in war, Veterans may often want to be secluded and are more likely to live unsheltered and outdoors. According to the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, Veterans are also most likely to experience long-term, chronic homelessness.
Generally, a homeless person is expected to have not graduated from high school, but studies show that 85% of homeless veterans have completed high school or received a GED. On the other hand, only 56% of non-veteran homeless have completed high school. Furthermore, our homeless veterans were not necessarily the 'problem soldiers' in the army. Eighty-nine percent of homeless veterans received Honorable Discharges and 67% served in the military for three or more years.
These men and woman risked their lives for our country. They gave of their time and their service honorably and without question. And now, nearly half of them are living alone on the streets, not knowing how to get the help they deserve.Our veterans deserve better. At Idaho Estate Planning we understand the challenges faced by our older veterans especially when it comes to long term care needs. For many of America’s elderly that find themselves struggling to meet growing health costs a solution comes in the form of an underutilized VA benefit. For veterans who served during a time of war or for their surviving spouses, the Veterans Aid & Attendance Pension will pay additional income to cover long term care costs. Pension can provide an additional monthly income of up to $2,053 a month for a couple, $1,731 a month for a single veteran or $1,112 a month for a single surviving spouse of a veteran. This money can be used to help pay the cost of home care, adult day services, assisted living or nursing home services.
We are VA Accredited and we know how to help veterans get the benefits they have earned through their greatly appreciated service to our country. Remember, good planning is no accident.