Massachusetts Estate Planning & Asset Protection Blog

Key to Unlocking VA Benefits | Massachusetts VA Benefits Attorney

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Fri, Sep 07, 2012

Today you're going to learn what the VA considers "Unreimbursed Medical Expenses" - that is, what you and your loved one are paying out of your pockets - also referred to as "UME." This is a key factor to help you determine if a veteran may qualify for a pension! The formula the VA uses to calculate your real income is below:

Wartime Veteran & Spouse (if any) Gross household annual income

Minus: Unreimbursed medical expenses (UME) - for one year

Equals: Net income for Veterans Benefits purposes

VA benefits

Now, what qualifies as Unreimbursed Medical Expenses? Well, first of all, your household annual income includes anything the veteran earns, as well as his/her spouse or dependents. From that number, you would subtract UME's - which include doctors' and dentists' fees, Medicare premiums and copayments, insurance premiums, transportation to the doctor's office, and the cost of assisted living facilities or in-home caretakers. But there's much more - take a look below to see everything that qualifies!

Listing of Possible Medical Expenses: (this is only a partial list)

-Medicare premiums deducted from Social Security

-Supplementary medical insurance (Part B) under Medicare

-Abdominal supports

-Acupuncture service

-Ambulance hire


-Arch supports

-Artificial limbs

-Back supports





-Convalescent home (for medical treatment only)


-Dental services




-Food or beverages prescribed by doctor for treatment of illness


-Hearing aids & batteries

-Home health services

-Hospital expenses

-Insulin treatment

-Insurance premiums (medical)

-Invalid chair

-Lab tests

-Lip reading lessons (in connection with disability)


-Nursing services

-Occupational therapist




-Oral surgery



-Physical examinations


-Physical therapy


-Prescriptions and drugs





-Radium therapy

-Sacroiliac belt

-Seeing-eye dog

-Speech therapist



-Telephone/teletype for deaf

-Transportation expenses (20 cents per mile)


-Vitamins prescribed by doctor


-Whirlpool baths for medical purposes

-X rays

Note: Most medical expenses must be prescribed by a physician to be deductible from gross income for VA benefit qualification purposes.

So you see, depending on what your income is and what your medical expenses are, you may qualify - even if your gross monthly income seems too high. If you have questions about anything in the list above or aren't sure if an expense you incur is "unreimbursed" or not, go ahead and give us a call at (781) 237-2815.

For more information go to, which contains important information on the “Hidden Benefit” available to veterans and their spouses, and the steps you should be taking right now to find out if your loved one qualifies.

Download our FREE Veterans Benefit Report

At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center, we help people and their families learn how to protect their home, spouse, life-savings, and legacy for their loved ones.  We provide clients with a unique educational and counseling approach so they understand where opportunities exist to eliminate problems now as they implement plans for a protected future.

We encourage you to attend one of our free educational workshops. Call 800-964-4295 and register to learn more about what you can do to enhance the security of your spouse, home, life savings and legacy.

Register NOW for a Trust, Estate, & Asset Protection Workshop

and receive a free Unique Self-Guided 19-Point Trust, Estate, & Asset Protection

Legal Guide with accompanying DVD

Nursing home care is more than $140,000-$180,000 per year! Attend this FREE educational seminar to learn:

  • How to protect your home and assets from the costs of long-term care
  • How to stay out of the nursing home and access in-home care
  • How to make sure your spouse is not left financially ruined if you need nursing home care
  • How to access Veterans benefits to pay for long-term care

       To register or call (800) 964-4295 (24/7) or online at 



Tags: Medicare, Estate Planning, veterans benefits, medical expenses, unreimbured medical expenses, UME, wartime veteran, VA benefits

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