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Westmoreland

Veterans disability benefit criteria expanded

Deb Erdley
| Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018, 4:12 p.m.
Poppy pins for a veterans tribute at the Bethlen Home on November 2, 2013 in Ligonier.
Eric Schmadel | Tribune-Review
Poppy pins for a veterans tribute at the Bethlen Home on November 2, 2013 in Ligonier.

Military veterans and veterans’ widows now may be eligible for disability benefits under new guidelines the federal government issued recently, expanding income eligibility criteria.

Westmoreland County Veterans’ Affairs Director Matt Zamosky said federal authorities raised the asset limit for those seeking benefits for a non-service based disability from $80,000 to $123,600. The figure represents the maximum in assets, exclusive of a home situated on a lot of two acres or less, that a couple may have and still be eligible for an income-based disability pension, to help offset the costs of home care aides or institutional care.

Future recipients will have to undergo an asset audit that will ultimately go back three years to ensure there is no intentional offloading of assets. Zamosky said such audits will be phased in gradually starting with an audit looking back one year, then two and ultimately three.

“Even if you’re not in a situation where you need care, make sure that you or a family member checks it out because the benefit could be helpful,” Zamosky said.

Additional information is available through the Westmoreland County Veterans’ Affairs Office at 724-830-3530.

Deb Erdley is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Deb at 412-320-7996, derdley@tribweb.com or via Twitter @deberdley_trib.

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