Many family historians probably know the feeling of being looked at oddly by friends and relatives who do not understand the joy we have in finding an obscure relative’s grave or finally locating great-great grandpa on a passenger list, or third cousin John-twice removed -in a city directory. Nor do they understand our need to hold onto random birth, death and marriage certificates, naturalization papers or military discharge papers. “The past is the past,” they probably think to themselves.
Not necessarily, I learned today. As I have written in previous posts, Dad was in the Army, drafted just one month prior to the Pearl Harbor attack. He remained in the Army for the duration of the war. He never was injured- or at least never collected any disability pay for any injuries. Neither Dad nor my mother ever collected any miliary pensions. He was not elible, or so he thought.
My brother found a little known benefit, known as the “Aid and Attendance and Housebound Improved Pension.” This can help defray the cost of caregivers in the home, assisted living facilities, or nursing home expenses. The benefit is approximately $2000 for the veteran and $1100 for a survivor. Check it out: http://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/19/few-know-of-benefit-to-help-aging-veterans/?_r=1&
There is a lot of paperwork involved, and the process is evidentally quite slow. The most difficult qualifying factor is the annual income of the recipient, which is under $13,000/year. However, ongoing medical costs and the cost of the caregivers can help to reduce the income to that level. Assets must be less than $80,000, but one’s home or car is excluded from that $80,000 figure.
Where genealogy comes into play is that, among the many documents necessary to complete the application is the discharge papers of the recipient, and in the case of survivor benefits, the death certificate of the spouse and the couple’s marriage certificate.
I am not the keeper of the financial records in the family, but my family history binder contains the death and marriage certificate along with my father’s discharge papers.
This hobby is not so laughable anymore!