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By Liza Horvath


VA Perks


When George worked in corporate America he got perks - health care, dental and vision insurance, a retirement plan, paid parking in the city and later, after he had contributed significantly to the corporate bottom line, a coveted corner office along with an ace executive assistant. George earned a boatload of money working for the big corporation and had a great time doing it! At age 60, George retired and, along with his wife, began enjoying “the golden years.”


Over a couple of decades they spent much of their savings and this, coupled with some bad investment decisions, found the recently divorced George very poor. This new found poverty prompted George to start looking into the benefits available to him through the government. No, George did not seek to go on welfare or access other public assistance. Long before the big corporate job with its great office and fancy assistant, George had served in the Army. George fought for the freedom of our country and, as such, he was entitled to take advantage of the multitude of benefits available through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. While there is really no way to truly thank those who serve our country, at least the extensive assistance and “perks” available to Vets through the VA provide some modicum of recognition.


George tapped into the system and accessed the health care available through the Veterans Health Administration. For George, this included the wellness program, psychological counseling, and some long-delayed dental work. George made final arrangements for burial – for when the time came - with the VA arm called the National Cemetery Administration. George wanted to be buried in a VA National Cemetery in Florida where he had lived before going into the Army. 


When it became difficult for George to get in and out of the shower at his home he obtained a Home Improvements and Structural Alterations Program grant that provided him with a benefit of $6,800 to have his current bathtub replaced with a walk-in shower. Not only could he now easily gain access to the shower but if he ever had to use a wheelchair in the future, the new shower would still be fully accessible.    


There is so much assistance available through the VA that often veterans are unaware of the extent of services they can access. George felt like life was starting anew for him – so much so that he used the “Vets First” program which helped him obtain a Small Business Loan to start a company. With George’s successful background in the corporate arena, his “little” company now employs almost twenty people. George provides a good service to the community and he is proud.


The medical assistance, the peace of mind he gained at have his “final disposition” plans in order, the home remodel grant and the great business opportunity all pales, says George, in comparison to the best “perk” that he found at the VA. In one of the special counseling groups George met another Vet – a lovely retired corporal named Karen – and they will be married in the spring.

Liza Horvath has over 30 years experience in the estate planning and trust fields and is the president of Monterey Trust Management, a financial and trust management company. This is not intended to be legal or tax advice. If you have a questions call (831)646-5262 or email liza@montereytrust.com










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