"The most important step is that first one out the door" -Mark Sertich
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is a psychological disorder affecting many of our nation’s veterans. In fact, studies have shown that up to 14% of Iraq War veterans suffer from PTSD, and a startling 50% of those with the disorder do not seek treatment.
PTSD is caused by external, traumatic stress. Symptoms of this very difficult disorder include depression, insomnia, anger, eating disorders and substance abuse.
But now a recent study published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry has linked PTSD to an acceleration of the aging process. The study was led by Dr. Dilip V. Jeste of the University of California, San Diego, and resulted in evidence of reduced telomere length in patients with PTSD. Telomeres, compound structures at the end of chromosomes, shorten as people age.
Researchers also found that patients suffering from PTSD may face premature mortality; meaning an increased chance of an earlier death.
These findings show the need for further research into the mental illnesses that affect millions of Americans.
The National Center for PTSD offers further information and resources surrounding the disorder. The US Department of Veterans affairs provides a 24/7 hotline for anyone experiencing a crisis at: 1-800-273-8255.
The Veteran’s Administration offers a great benefit called Aid and Attendance Pension that has been a critical source of financial assistance for veterans and their widowed spouses who are in need of nursing home care.
The application process to receive this benefit can be daunting, with complicated rules related to qualification. And now applicants have newly proposed changes in regulations to contend with; changes that could make it even more difficult to qualify for benefits, and could even severely punish those who transfer their savings or property incorrectly.
Take the hypothetical case of Mr. Rogers. Mr. Rogers is a WWII vet who proudly served our country during wartime. Two years ago, Mr. Rogers welcomed his first granddaughter. He wanted to make sure this little girl would have a strong future, so he gave away twenty thousand dollars to help pay for her college someday.
Mr. Rogers recently had a stroke and he is now in need of nursing home care, so he decided to apply for Aid and Attendance Pension to help pay for the costs. But because he made a gift of twenty thousand dollars to his granddaughter two years ago, Aid and Attendance benefits are denied to him for the duration of a penalty period.
Why was he denied? According to the newly proposed changes, if savings or property were transferred incorrectly at any time within three years before he applied for the Aid and Attendance benefit, he would be subject to a penalty period. Depending on the amount of funds transferred he could be denied for up to 10 years.
If you or a loved one are considering applying for Aid and Attendance Pension, we encourage you to wait until you’ve spoken to a Veteran’s Administration accredited elder law attorney. Your elder law attorney can help you navigate the complex legal issues involved in qualifying for assistance.
Please visit our Veterans Pension page for more information about the VA benefit, or browse our Links & Resources.
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