—November 10th, 2010
One Woman’s Mission to Help Elderly Veterans and Caregivers
This Veterans Day, it is important to show up to a parade, applaud our veterans, and to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. However, there is something more you can do to help honor veterans, become informed about Veterans benefits. Too often, veterans go without services they need simply because they are unaware of the benefits they earned through their service. One New Jersey woman took up the mission to help elderly vets access a still little known VA Pension benefit commonly known as “Aid and Attendance.”
Since 2001, Rita Files, Executive Director of Veteran Files, became increasingly frustrated about how low-income elderly veterans were not receiving the assistance that they needed and “deserved.” As a nurse and eldercare advocate, she was concerned that vets would fall prey to “experts” offering free seminars on veteran’s benefits. So what did this fiery, middle-aged redhead do? She became an Accredited Veterans Claims Agent to ensure that elderly veterans received accurate information that takes into account a veteran’s full financial picture, such as Medicaid eligibility.
Seeking expert advice can help veterans make the most of their benefits – just be sure the advice is from an Accredited Individual, which include attorneys, claims agents and veteran service representatives. “Accredited individuals have passed VA administered exams and character checks that ensure veterans get qualified assistance in presenting their claims”, says Files. To find an Accredited Claims Agent or to check accreditation, visit the Department of Veterans Affairs website.
During the month of November we celebrate caregivers and veterans…this extraordinary woman provides comfort for caregivers and a voice for veterans 12 months a year. On her website, she boldly proclaims “proud to serve those who served”…let all American’s echo those words!
—Nov 11, 2010
Hatboro, PA — In an op-ed published in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer, Aging with Grace’s COO Rita Files says veterans often miss out on benefits they’ve earned through their service – simply because they are unaware of them.
“It doesn’t have to be this way,”argues Files who is also a Department of Veterans Affairs Accredited Claims Agent. “By becoming informed citizens and neighbors, we can make sure elderly veterans get the care they deserve.”
The most frequent under-utilized benefit, says Files, is the “Aid and Attendance” benefit, which can help veterans and their surviving spouses pay for care at home, in a nursing home, or in an assisted-living facility, etc.. “Millions of veterans and their families are failing to take advantage of it,” says Files.
Files urges citizens to become informed and suggests starting with websites such as the VA’s recently-launched www.ebenefits.va.gov or www.veteranfiles.com, which offers independent, up-to-date information on veterans’ benefits and veterans issues.
In addition, Files recommends veterans and their families seek the advice of a professional — an attorney, a claims agent, or a veteran services representative – who has been accredited by Veterans Affairs. Professional accreditation can be checked at the VA website.
Sep 8, 2010
Rita Files Earns VA Accreditation
Hatboro, PA – Rita Files, partner and chief operating officer of Aging with Grace, has been designated an Accredited Claims Agent by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. As a VA Accredited Claims Agent, Ms. Files can help veterans and their families apply for VA benefits, including often under-utilized long-term care benefits.
The VA accreditation program ensures that claimants for VA benefits receive qualified assistance in preparing and presenting their claims. To earn her accreditation, Ms. Files underwent a comprehensive character review by the VA and passed a written exam.
“Too many veterans are not claiming the benefits they are potentially entitled to receive,” said Ms. Files, whose company, Aging with Grace, does not charge veterans any additional fees for its VA benefits service. “One of the ways I can honor those who have served is to make sure they too are well served.”
According to recent reports, one of the most frequently overlooked benefits is the Aid & Attendance benefit, which helps veterans and spouses or widows pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses. In her 20 years as an eldercare professional, Ms. Files regularly meets veterans and families who are unaware they are potentially entitled to this assistance.
Ms. Files currently devotes herself full time to Veterans and their families through her new company, Veteran Files. As a VA Accredited Claims Agent, she directs the veteran’s services practice and serves as a nationally recognized expert on caring for the elderly. Ms. Files is a graduate of Union College.