The Veteran's Benefit known as "Aid and Attendance"
What is the VA "Aid and Attendance" Benefit?
Officially known as the "The Improved Pension Benefit," but commonly referred to as "Aid and Attendance," this benefit is available to veterans who served at least 90 days of active duty, one of which was during a defined wartime period. The benefit is also available to the widows of an eligible veteran.
For an eligible wartime veteran with a dependent, the monthly tax-fee payment can be as high as $2054.
For a veteran with no dependents the monthly benefit can be as high as $1,732.
For a widow of a wartime veteran the monthly benefit can be as high as $1,113.
Once approved, the VA benefit is paid monthl--y, like Social Security. The benefit is typically direct-deposited into a bank account.
The benefit can be used to pay for assisted living expenses.
What are the VA Eligibility Requirements?
The benefit is NOT for veterans who are healthy or for veterans who have substantial means at their disposal. To qualify for this benefit, there are income and resource limitations in addition to medical conditions that must be met. The basic requirements that must be met in order to be considered eligible for Aid and Attendance include:
Wartime service - The veteran must serve at least 90 continuous days of active duty service, one of which is during a defined wartime period.
WWII - December 7, 1941 to December 31, 1946
Korea - June 27, 1950 to January 31, 1955
Vietnam - August 5, 1964 to May 7, 1975
Persian Gulf War - August 2, 1990 through a date to be prescribed by Presidential proclamation.
Disability - If over, 65, no proof of disability is needed. If under 65, the veteran must prove "permanent and total disability" which is not service-connected. In addition, the impairment must be reasonably certain to continue throughout the veteran's lifetime.
Discharge - Veteran's discharge must be better than "dishonorable."
"Means" Test - A veteran's net worth will be reviewed to determine whether or not the benefit is necessary. The VA takes into account the following.
--Veteran's age and life expectancy
--Present medical condition
--Marital status and the spouse's assets
--Number of dependents
--Cost of living expenses
Measuring Income & Medical Expenses - The VA measures a person's net income after subtracting all unreimbursed medical expenses (UME). Mortgage payments or rent do not qualify as UME.
Common unreimbursed medical expenses include:
--Skilled nursing care provided in a Nursing Home or Assisted Living
--In-home nursing care by a Home Health Agency
--Family assistance with bathing, dressing, eating, medication, etc.
--Premiums for health insurance and long-term care insurance
--Prescription drug cost
--Cost of disposable goods, such as syringes and adult diapers
Are veterans eligible if they own their property?
Many veterans and widows meet the requirement for the Aid & Attendance or Housebound benefit and continue to own a vehicle and home. Some veterans choose to reduce their assets and control by either gifting assets to family or transferring them to a trust. An attorney or financial planner can help you understand the difference between an exempt asset and a non-exempt asset.
Can veterans living in a senior community receive this VA Benefit?
--NO for Independent Living
--YES for Assisted Living
--YES for Memory Care
--YES for Nursing Home (Alabama has four state run VA nursing homes)
What is the VA base pension amount?
$1,360 per month - is the benefit for a veteran with one dependent (a spouse for example). If the veteran suffers from a medical condition they might receive a greater monthly pension.
Many veterans and widows meet all the requirements for benefits. For additional information, visit www.benefits.va.gov/compensation