The Two Most Important Things To Remember When Dealing With Veterans’ Benefits


Is your loved one a veteran moving into or already living in Assisted Living? If so, he or she may be eligible for Aid & Attendance. The Aid & Attendance Pension provides benefits for veterans and their surviving spouses who can establish that they need daily assistance from others to dress, bathe, eat, or other everyday activities. Assistance with all of these is not required – there simply must be adequate medical evidence from your physician stating that you cannot function completely on your own. Blind individuals, patients in skilled nursing due to mental or physical incapacity, and those using assisted care in assisted living facilities also qualify.

You may already be overseeing medical expenses and other finances, in addition to acting as a caregiver, so being stuck on hold with the VA for hours may sound daunting. Debbie Burak, founder of, offers the following advice for staying sane while dealing with the VA.


Take the time to read the material that’s out there. They say knowledge is power, and that is certainly the case in dealing with the VA. Get online and educate yourself on the basics – What about divorce? What benefits are available? What about other assets?

By teaching yourself this information, you’re empowering yourself to help the veteran in your life. Burak cautions against financial advisors and other experts:  “There is a lot of misinformation out there and oftentimes the ‘expert’ can be the one giving you the most inaccurate information, due to a lack of training on the pension side.” Also be wary that these advisors are concerned about getting their placement commission – not necessarily about the long term situation for your loved one and what happens when the money runs out. By arming yourself with knowledge beforehand, you’ll be aware of what benefits are out there, preventing you from being in a situation where you’re so grateful for expert help that it establishes relief and immediate trust in someone who may not have your best interests in mind.

2.   Do NOT Give Up

So, who can you turn to for help? Others who have gone through the exact same thing.

Burak strongly encourages veterans and their caregivers to join the forums on With 3,500 registered members, Burak says it’s the singular best resource for you to find both emotional and real, practical support from others who are in your position or who have been and now want to help others. “It’s a great place to find you’re not alone,” Burak says. Ask a question and you’ll find someone who already went through that and has suggestions. Burak monitors all the forums to make sure no questions go unanswered.

Get educated, and do not give up. What other tips do you have for those dealing with veterans’ benefits?

To find assisted living in Philadelphia, Las Vegas, or another city near you, please visit

Based in Austin, TX, Amelia is the former Content Marketing Manager for When she’s not writing about online reputation management, online reviews, and social media in the senior living space, she enjoys yoga and running with her dog Rockefeller. She graduated from Wellesley College cum laude with a dual degree in English and Medieval/Renaissance Studies.


  1. chwilowki July 25, 2013 Reply

    Great post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed! Extremely helpful information specially the last part 🙂 I care for such info much. I was seeking this particular info for a very long time. Thank you and best of luck.

  2. Patty July 31, 2013 Reply

    And remember, this is NOT a Yes or No award, it is If and when – so if you have been denied, do not give up, find out why and Reopen your claim at the right time. If you haven’t filed yet, find out what you need to be successful before you file – this can reduce both stress and the time to award significantly!

    Patty Servaes

  3. James Alto October 11, 2013 Reply

    I just got my 100percent service related disability for ptsd however it seems that all vet that have ptsd at 100 percent they rate as mentally incompetent because they don’t think that I can handle my va funds and by them doing so they take away my second amendment rights and they turn my name over to the FBI for placing my name on the national data base for not possessing weapons, ammunition etc and the state can come into my home at any time and even if someone else own a weapon in my place they can arrest me for violating the Brady bill which states that any one who has been determined to be mentally incompetent by any state or federal agency will have their rights taken away. I just wanted to let others know what is going on. The va states that is has the right to control all veterans. And only 185 out of 127,000 vets since 1986 have tried to oppose them. This their documents. So being so they are making me have a fiduciary to take care of my funds and they are delaying my funds until they can approve of the person who will take care of this and they don’t have to accept the person whom you choose and the process can take months and with the budget cuts it will certainly take a lot longer. So now I can see how veterans have taken other steps to end it all or not try any longer to collect the benefits that we fought for which has destroyed our lives. Thanks for listening.

    All of this is true.
    There has been a lot more problems than I have mentioned but I am sure that all vets have experienced similar issues. So now they can see why I have anger issues. But going to behavior regulation class has helped show me that all vets are mostly the same with problems dealing with anger given the va has increased the stress which had led me to panic attacks and grand mal seizures.

    Jim Alto


  4. Patricia JANE Babcock April 13, 2017 Reply

    Sorry I almost forgot – If the veteran requires assistance with 2 or more ADL’s due to service related injuries/illnesses and is rated as 100% or Individually Unemployable (IU) by the VA then Aid & Attendance benefits can be added to their compensation benefit.

    In the Pension benefit it can be the spouse who needs the assistance with the 2+ ADL’s that qualifies for the Aid & Attendance. There are 3 levels of Pension (Standard – strictly income/asset based, pension with Housebound status, and Pension with Aid & Attendance) each has different cutoffs and payouts.

  5. Josh March 6, 2019 Reply

    I agree with all the points, but you can also talk to some of the representatives from Wings For Warriors ( ) that can help with getting the right benefits for you.

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