VA Pension Available for Low-Income Veterans and Survivors

VA Pension Available for Low-Income Veterans and Survivors

VA disability compensation to those with few assets and a small income.

There are five qualifications to receive the veteran’s pension or survivor’s pension:Nature of discharge

Eligibility for VA Pension

  1. Nature of Discharge
    The service member must not have a dishonorable discharge.

2. Assets and Income
The recipient of a veterans pension or survivors pension must have limited assets, which include both tangible assets and annual income. This seems counterintuitive because there’s a separate income calculation, but that’s how it works. The recipient’s primary residence vehicle and basic household appliances do not count toward the asset limit. Any other assets, including investments, other vehicles and personal property, count.

The income amount may be reduced by certain educational expenses, and medical expenses that exceed a certain amount.

The household asset limit for 2022 is $138,489.

3. Dates and Length of Service
Service must fulfill one one of these criteria:

Active duty of at least 90 days, beginning before Sept. 8, 1980
Active duty of at least 24 months or the full-enlistment (with some exceptions), as enlisted personnel, starting after Sept. 7, 1980
Active duty as an officer, starting after Oct. 16, 1981, without 24 months of prior service

4. Wartime Service
Service must include at least one day during wartime. Wartime is defined as:

Mexican Border period (May 9, 1916, to April 5, 1917, for veterans who served in Mexico, on its borders or in adjacent waters)
World War I (April 6, 1917, to Nov. 11, 1918)
World War II (Dec. 7, 1941, to Dec. 31, 1946)
Korean conflict (June 27, 1950, to Jan. 31, 1955)
Vietnam War era (Nov. 1, 1955, to May 7, 1975, for veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period; Aug. 5, 1964, to May 7, 1975, for veterans who served outside the Republic of Vietnam.)
Gulf War (Aug. 2, 1990, through a future date to be set by law or presidential proclamation)

5. Personal Eligibility
The recipient must meet one of these criteria:

Age 65 or older
Have a permanent and total disability
Be a patient in a nursing home for long-term care because of a disability
Be receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Application
If you, or someone you know, may be eligible for a veterans pension or survivors pension, applications are available at the VA website.

How Much Is the Pension?

The amount of the veterans pension or survivors pension is calculated by determining your maximum annual pension rate (MAPR), then subtracting the amount of income that you actually have.

For example, the MAPR for a veteran who does not qualify for Aid & Attendance and Housebound Benefits is $14,753 per year. If the veteran received $12,000 per year in Social Security benefits, they could receive $2,753 per year in veterans pension.

See: 2022 Veterans Pension Rates

As you can see, this really is for very low-income veterans and survivors. But because of the medical expense deduction, potential recipients who have higher medical bills may qualify for a larger payment.

If you know someone who might be eligible, it is certainly worth investigating. At low-income levels, every dollar helps.

 

About Once A Soldier: Starting in 2017, our mission is to limit the scars of Veteran suicide. We offer prevention services and postvention services. We reach a national audience and our goal is to become the preferred channel for those who want to help Veteran families who need our services. With 17 Veteran suicides a day in 2021, we believe our two niche services will make a difference to each family and to our nation.

Feeling suicidal or need to talk to a health care professional? Dial The Veteran’s Crisis Hotine 988.

Most Common Misconception of Psychedelic Therapy

Most Common Misconception of Psychedelic Therapy

Thoughts from a Founding Member of the Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research and the International Society for Research on Psychedelics

Albert Garcia-Romeu, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His research examines the effects of psychedelics in humans, with a focus on psilocybin as an aid in the treatment of addiction.

Once A Soldier offers grants to partially pay for treatment for a Veteran with PTSD.

In this interview with Psychedelic Finance, Dr. Garcia-Romeu addresses a key point that we feel needs to be heard more. 

What do you believe is the most common misconception about psychedelics?

To me, one of the most common and problematic misconceptions about psychedelics is that they are some sort of silver bullet that will solve people’s problems outright. A lot of the narratives I’ve seen proliferated through media and pop culture make it seem as though people come in for a drug session one day and simply walk out healed, transformed, freed from a lifetime of ego entanglements and interpersonal dynamics, and unfortunately this is not the case.

(Note from the Editor: We understand Dr. Garcia-Romeu’s point of view, but we would push back on two points. One is that we’ve talked to Veterans who underwent ketamine infusion therapy with fast-acting and long-lasting results. Second, in a clinical setting, their subjects were not PTSD riddled Veterans. Perhaps this type of treatment is a bullseye to shoot at combat PTSD?)

I think it really speaks to a natural human desire to have our troubles whisked away without anything required on our part, like finding a winning lottery ticket, or perhaps in more religious terms to ‘be saved’. While this can be nice in theory, it sidesteps the reality of the situation which is that change can be difficult, and even if we ourselves put in the work to change that does not mean the circumstances or people around us will follow suit. As a result, people may have truly profound, eye-opening psychedelic experiences that in the end don’t amount to much in terms of real-world changes. They can leave with a vision of a better life, an image of a more actualized self, but if they don’t put that into practice it goes nowhere, just like if I spent lots of time reading about how to get in great shape but never bothered working out.

Sometimes people can go to great lengths to make personal changes but then go back to an environment or relationships that over time wear them back down into the status quo. I think of people checking into inpatient detox and rehabilitation clinics for drug use. They leave where they come from, the relationships where they developed these addictive or other unhealthy tendencies, and with some work they can make wonderful strides toward healing and recovery. But send them back to where they came from and oftentimes they settle right back into old patterns and that work can be undone. I’ve seen similar things even after powerful psychedelic experiences. Conversely, I’ve seen some people have puzzling, quizzical experiences that don’t seem particularly insightful or meaningful, that don’t fit our nice, neat rubrics of mystical experience or emotional breakthrough, and yet over time get a lot of mileage and positive impact from those experiences even though they walk out thinking, “that wasn’t at all spectacular.”

So, I suppose this comes back to the idea that we don’t really know how people change and what role psychedelics can play in that process, but of course, the data are very promising and we will continue to study and try to learn more. On a larger scale, in terms of social issues, I would also say that we need to move away from this type of magical thinking that something like science or psychedelics will come along and save us, which is exemplified in popular media articles with titles like, ‘Can Psychedelics Save the World?’. If anything or anyone is going to save the world in these dire times, it will have to be us, regular people who come together to work towards a sustainable future. Psychedelics can be tools to move us in that direction, but we’ll be the ones who will actually have to roll up our sleeves, get our hands dirty, and start making large-scale changes with regards to geopolitics, economics, environmentalism, and so forth. Mushrooms and DMT and the like are not going to do these things for us.

There’s an old Zen saying, “Before enlightenment; chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment; chop wood, carry water.” I think this points to the paradox that even after the most transcendent, earth-shattering experience imaginable, we still come back to ourselves and our lives and all the various tasks that entails. Everything has changed, but nothing has changed, and so we must go on with the work of doing our best, being our best selves, and sometimes these psychedelic experiences can be a little lighthouse to help keep us going on the right path.

Other Psychelics That Help With PTSD

Psychedelics, also known as psychedelic drugs, hallucinogens, or hallucinogenic drugs are chemical substances that induce hallucinations and other sensory disturbances.

Psychedelic – relating to or denoting drugs that produce hallucinations and apparent expansion of consciousness. Psychedelics were originally called ‘Psychotomimetics’ by the scientific community (mimicking the effect of a psychotic state). In 1956, Humphry Osmond coined the term Psychedelic (‘Mind Manifesting’ in Greek) in a letter to writer Aldous Huxley.

Entheogen – a psychoactive substance that induces alterations in perception, mood, consciousness, cognition, or behaviofor the purposes of engendering spiritual development in sacred contexts.

Psilocybin – a naturally occurring psychedelic prodrug compound produced by more than 200 species of mushrooms, collectively known as psilocybin mushrooms.

DMT (N,N-Dimethyltryptamine) – a chemical substance that occurs in many plants and animals and which is both a derivative and a structural analog of tryptamine.[3] It can be consumed as a psychedelic drug and has historically been prepared by various cultures for ritual purposes as an entheogen. DMT has a rapid onset, intense effects, and a relatively short duration of action.

LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide) – also known colloquially as acid, is a hallucinogenic drug.Effects typically include altered thoughts, feelings, and awareness of one’s surroundings.

About Once a Soldier

Once a Soldier’s mission is to help the families after a soldier suicide. Most soldier suicides are performed by veterans who have lost touch with the VA and their families won’t be getting any financial help from the government at this critical time. Even when they do, the support is limited. We aspire to fill or close that gap especially when it comes to the heartbreak of paying funeral costs. But this post aspires to be a place where someone in need RIGHT NOW can get some help for themselves or for a loved one who’s thinking about suicide.

What Is Ketamine?

What Is Ketamine?

Is Ketamine The Answer to Veteran Suicide?

Ketamine, the veterinary anesthetic turned party drug, is a psychoactive drug that takes the user on a trip to expand their mind. Lighting up dormant parts of the brain, this drug has done wonders to kill the PTSD that the Veterans we talked to were once haunted by. As the VA comes around to endorsing this as a legitimate treatment rather than a rave party drug, many ketamine infusion therapy centers have opened across the USA. It’s time to get some basic understanding of what ketamine is and how it works and feels.

Once A Soldier offers grants to partially pay for treatment for a Veteran with PTSD

To answer our own question, we say yes, ketamine and other psychoactive drugs are better than the status quo for some Veterans. But the VA needs to gear up to be able to offer it at VA hospitals around the nation. Prices at private practices are out of reach for most. Veteran families are no different. Having the VA launch a new ketamine program is essential before we take another 17/day of Veteran suicides.

Ketamine Definition

Ketamine is a medicine historically used for anesthesia during surgeries and medical procedures. It was synthesized in the 1960s and is FDA-approved for procedural sedation and anesthesia. It is widely used in hospitals and ERs and is on the World Health Organization’s “List of Essential Medicines.” Ketamine is now being used “off-label” to treat depression, as well as anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and some chronic pain disorders. This medication has a long track record for its safety when used appropriately.

How Does Ketamine Work?

The exact mechanism of how ketamine works in depression, anxiety, and chronic pain is not fully known. (Honestly, we don’t care how it works, just that it does work. Besides, we’re only using, what 4% of our brains, we can’t possibly figure it out yet.) However, scientists do know that ketamine works on the NMDA receptor to block the glutamate neurotransmitter. And scientific study is showing ketamine improves the health of the neurons (brain cells) by increasing the connection between the neurons and improving the brain’s ability to adapt (aka neuroplasticity).

UPDATED: New study from the University of Chicago

A recent study performed at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) finally detailed the mechanism of how ketamine dampens the symptoms of depression and keeps it at bay. It turns out, it works in a remarkably similar fashion to SSRIs, the most commonly prescribed class of antidepressants. Read their paper: NMDAR-independent, cAMP-dependent antidepressant actions of ketamine.

Ketamine also changes the way the central nervous system processes pain, so it’s like hitting the reset button on your computer, to restore normal pain processing. Research is also showing in animal models, the potential for ketamine to increase resilience and recovery from stressful traumatic events which can trigger or cause depression and anxiety disorders.

Furthermore, ketamine decreases activity in the Default Mode Network (DMN) of the brain, which is more active in those with depression, anxiety, and chronic pain.

What Does a Ketamine Infusion or IV-drip Therapy Feel Like?

For some people they can experience positive effects within an hour of finishing the infusion. For others, they will not notice an effect until after their fourth or fifth infusion. Commonly the effect is gradual and subtle, noticing thoughts of sadness and hopelessness to begin to lift and go away. Occasionally some people may have a dramatic effect. Function (going out, doing things you enjoy, work) improve before mood does. With improved function you are able to more fully participate and engage in your treatment plan, thus improving your success rate.

Other Psychelics That Help With PTSD

Psychedelics, also known as psychedelic drugs, hallucinogens, or hallucinogenic drugs are chemical substances that induce hallucinations and other sensory disturbances.

Psychedelic – relating to or denoting drugs that produce hallucinations and apparent expansion of consciousness. Psychedelics were originally called ‘Psychotomimetics’ by the scientific community (mimicking the effect of a psychotic state). In 1956, Humphry Osmond coined the term Psychedelic (‘Mind Manifesting’ in Greek) in a letter to writer Aldous Huxley.

Entheogen – a psychoactive substance that induces alterations in perception, mood, consciousness, cognition, or behaviofor the purposes of engendering spiritual development in sacred contexts.

Psilocybin – a naturally occurring psychedelic prodrug compound produced by more than 200 species of mushrooms, collectively known as psilocybin mushrooms.

DMT (N,N-Dimethyltryptamine) – a chemical substance that occurs in many plants and animals and which is both a derivative and a structural analog of tryptamine.[3] It can be consumed as a psychedelic drug and has historically been prepared by various cultures for ritual purposes as an entheogen. DMT has a rapid onset, intense effects, and a relatively short duration of action.

LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide) – also known colloquially as acid, is a hallucinogenic drug.Effects typically include altered thoughts, feelings, and awareness of one’s surroundings.

About Once a Soldier

Once a Soldier’s mission is to help the families after a soldier suicide. Most soldier suicides are performed by veterans who have lost touch with the VA and their families won’t be getting any financial help from the government at this critical time. Even when they do, the support is limited. We aspire to fill or close that gap especially when it comes to the heartbreak of paying funeral costs. But this post aspires to be a place where someone in need RIGHT NOW can get some help for themselves or for a loved one who’s thinking about suicide.

Get The Most From Your Ketamine Infusion

Get The Most From Your Ketamine Infusion

Three Concepts to Adopt Before Any Trippy Treatment

During a ketamine infusion (or micro dosing any psilocybin), it can be so easy to feel lost or confused. Because of ketamine’s dissociative properties, there is a chance you may see or feel things that could remind you of painful memories or traumas. But you know who and/or what they, so don’t let them control you. You need to be both passive and active during your trip to heal yourself.

 

This is why it’s important to have the right mindset and incorporate good practices to keep you anchored and focused. Here are three navigation tools you should master before your treatment. You will need to use these during a ketamine infusion to help you get the full benefits.

ketamin iv drip

Prepare To Defeat Your PTSD Demons

 

Concept #1: Witness

The first concept is witnessing. By witnessing, I mean being the observer of whatever is coming up for you during that experience. You don’t necessarily have to get entangled with the experience, but simply be a witness. Remember that ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic, meaning that you’re going to be disconnecting the mind from the body. This means you will be able to observe and witness from that third party perspective.

Concept #2: Breathe

Another important and sometimes underestimated tool is breathing. In the field of emergency medicine, we talk about something called the ABC’s which means the Airway, Breathing, and Circulation. We all know we need to breathe to live, but what’s really fascinating is that the breath is both within your unconscious and conscious . For example, if you don’t think about breathing, then your body is going to unconsciously do it for you. But at the same time, you can influence and control your breathing.

Whenever something unpleasant comes up or you’re having a challenging ketamine experience, remember to take some deep breaths. When you take these deep, slow breaths, it actually increases your parasympathetic nervous system which is the part of your autonomic nervous system that allows you to rest and relax. It’s the opposite of that fight or flight response. So when you’re doing these deep breathing exercises, it’ll help you calm down.

Concept #3: Surrender

Finally, the third concept to incorporate is surrender. This means letting go of control, allowing and accepting whatever comes. When I say the word “surrender,” I don’t mean giving up because there’s a subtle difference. Surrendering is allowing and accepting whatever may happen and but also not resisting it. Trust that the ketamine is going to work for you. Trust that your unconscious mind will take you where you need to go. Simply allow, experience, and know that whatever happens is going to be what’s best for you.

Learning to surrender is no easy feat, especially because as humans, we want everything to be under our control. We want things to go the way we want them to go, we want to heal as quickly as possible, and so on. Which is why we encourage you to practice learning how to surrender before you step into the clinic. By incorporating good, mindful habits such as meditation and journaling, you’ll be able to understand the concept of surrendering more and keep yourself mentally strong throughout the treatment.

My thanks to Samuel Ko, MD, FACEP for his blog post where we found this.

ABOUT ONCE A SOLDIER

Our Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers mostly due to PTSD. An overmatched VA can’t take care of them or their families. We will.

Soldier suicide leaves Veteran families with thousands of dollars of bills unpaid, mostly bank loans.

We are the only nonprofit standing with the families after a veteran suicide. Stand with us.

Our Mission: Become the preferred channel for donors, advocates and volunteers who care about veteran families left behind after a soldier suicide.

Links for More Information:

 

ABOUT ONCE A SOLDIER

Our Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers mostly due to PTSD. An overmatched VA can’t take care of them or their families. We will.

Soldier suicide leaves Veteran families with thousands of dollars of bills unpaid, mostly bank loans.

We are the only nonprofit standing with the families after a veteran suicide. Stand with us.

Our Mission: Become the preferred channel for donors, advocates and volunteers who care about veteran families left behind after a soldier suicide.

Tragedy Assistance Program For Survivors (TAPS) Good Grief Camp Needs More Mascots

Tragedy Assistance Program For Survivors (TAPS) Good Grief Camp Needs More Mascots

This Memorial Day, and Always, TAPS Offers Postvention Veteran Suicide Services

Hundreds of children of the fallen will gather over Memorial Day weekend 2022 at the TAPS National Military Survivor Seminar to honor and remember their loved ones.

Show them you care by sending them a plush Military Mascot, representing their branch of service. Heads up! These cute teddy bears are lots of things, but cheap ain’t one! Try not to get sticker shock and remember it’s for the kids.

Surviving military children attending the TAPS Good Grief Camp over Memorial Day weekend will receive a plush Military Mascot representing their branch of service. All proceeds go to support TAPS programming and resources for grieving military families. If you’d like to help a Veteran family in their time of need, click here.

About TAPS and Other Services for Veteran Suicide Postvention

TAPS provides compassionate care to all those grieving the death of a military loved one.

Since 1994, TAPS has provided comfort and hope 24/7 through a national peer support network and connection to grief resources, all at no cost to surviving families and loved ones.

TAPS provides a variety of programs to survivors nationally and worldwide. Our National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp has been held annually in Washington, D.C., over Memorial Day weekend since 1994. TAPS also conducts regional survivor seminars for adults and youth programs at locations across the country, as well as retreats and expeditions around the world. Staff can get you connected to counseling in your community and help navigate benefits and resources.

If you are grieving the loss of a fallen service member, or if you know someone who can use our support, the TAPS 24/7 National Military Survivor Helpline is always available toll-free with loving support and resources at 800-959-TAPS (8277).

Veteran Care Group Service Once A Soldier Likes About TAPS

TAPS Care Groups give our families what we were not designed to: connect in the real world. Once A Soldier is a digital nonprofit, meaning most of the mission happens online. TAPS Survivor Support brings grieving Veteran families together at the local level for networking and story sharing. We think that is great and many of those are families of Veteran suicide, so don’t feel any stigma if you decide to go. 

TAPS Care Groups bring the feel of TAPS into your community. TAPS Care Groups are available across the country for surviving military family members, friends and loved ones who want and need the friendly, informal support of the TAPS family in between larger events.

These local survivor support groups provide emotional support and camaraderie for military survivors. Lasting relationships can be built on common threads. Local survivor support groups are encouraging and enlightening. Many find they learn new coping skills and stress-relieving strategies by talking to others who can relate.

Please note this program is specifically designed for survivors grieving the death of a military loved one.

ABOUT ONCE A SOLDIER

Our Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers mostly due to PTSD. An overmatched VA can’t take care of them or their families. We will. But we need your donations. As much or as little as you can give will mean the world to these brave American families.

Veteran suicide prevention and our postvention services mirror each other. When prevention fails, we have resources for time of need, including crisis financial grants for cremation and bio-hazard clean-up. Veteran suicide leaves Veteran families with thousands of dollars of bills unpaid, mostly bank loans.

We are the only nonprofit standing with the families after a veteran suicide. Stand with us.

Our Mission: Become the preferred channel for donors, advocates and volunteers who care about veteran families left behind after a soldier suicide.

California PTSD Treatment Centers

California PTSD Treatment Centers

To Prevent Veteran Suicide and To Heal the Family When Prevention Fails

After talking with hundreds of Veterans and family members, we know that it is PTSD that kills Veterans. They do it via suicide, and that’s where the 22 Veteran suicides/day comes from. Now we are getting better at treating PTSD. There are ways to lower your likelihood of killing yourself that same day and for years after. Take a look and find a PTSD treatment center near you.

Note: we are constantly updating this so please be patient and check back often for new locations near you for PTSD treatments that work.

Find a California PTSD Treatment Center Near You

For several years, California has been at the forefront of PTSD treatment policy reform. In 2019, Oakland became the first city in the country to decriminalize a wide variety of treatments. “It’s time to take a health and science-oriented approach and step away from knee-jerk criminalization,” State Senator Scott Wiener tweeted on November 15, 2020.

Los Angeles California PTSD Treatment Centers

P Therapy Center

Pacific Brain Health Center

New U Therapy Center & Family Services

Trauma Therapy Treatment

Center for Relational Healing

K Clinics Los Angeles

The California Center for P Therapy

Trauma and Beyond PTSD Treatment Center

See More

San Francisco PTSD Treatment Centers

Center of Psychedelic Studies and Research

San Diego PTSD Treatment Centers

 

 

PTSD Definition

PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is a mental health problem that some people – soldiers and civilians – develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault.

It’s normal to have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping after this type of event. At first, it may be hard to do normal daily activities, like go to work, go to school, or spend time with people you care about, but most people start to feel better after a few weeks or months. If it’s been longer than a few months and you’re still having symptoms, you may have PTSD.