Individuals who decide to serve their country by joining the military take on a huge responsibility and invariably go through a lot of things that the typical American never experiences. They are away from their families for extended periods of time in many cases and of course many of our service members find themselves in harm’s way. A military career is challenging to say the least, but there are certain benefits that veterans are entitled to that can be utilized to great advantage when you are engaged in long-term planning.
In the elder law community one of the most pressing concerns is without question the high and rising cost of long-term care. If you combine the average length of stay with the average cost of nursing home care in the state of New Jersey you may be looking at an expense that exceeds $250,000 toward the end of your life. This is no small chunk of change for most people so it is a good idea to be aware of all of the assistance that you may have earned.
Many veterans who need assistance with their day to day living needs can get a boost from a military benefit called the Veterans Aid & Attendance pension. Single veterans who qualify can receive over $1600 per month to help with long-term care costs. To be deemed eligible you must have at least 90 days of service and one of those days must have taken place while the United States was at war.
Service members are also entitled to a retirement pension after 20 years of service. So you could serve for 20 years, retire with the pension coming in, and then work for perhaps another 20 years or more at a civilian job. You could be saving your pension checks all the while and you could also be contributing into the 401(k) plan that is offered at work.
By the time you reach the age of Social Security eligibility your military pension savings should be considerable. You’ll have access to your 401(k) funds, and you will still be receiving ongoing military pension checks as well as your Social Security benefit. All of this should feather your nest quite comfortably as you enjoy your golden years.