Veteran’s Aid and Attendance
The Little Known Benefit That Can Help Veterans Pay For Assisted Living
Although there are many different benefits that help our veterans financially, very few veterans and their spouses know about the Veteran’s Aid and Attendance disability income.
If you are a veteran or a surviving spouse who needs on-going caregiving assistance to complete normal daily activities in your home, assisted living facility, or nursing home, you may qualify for the Veteran’s Aid and Attendance benefit.
The Service Veterans Service Alliance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping veterans and their spouses receive Veteran’s Aid, notes that roughly 10 million seniors in America may qualify for this benefit but only one in every 20 seniors are actually receiving this benefit.
The benefit may pay up to $2,085 per couple, $1,759 for a disabled veteran, or $1,130 for a surviving spouse to help alleviate the costs of having a caretaker.
In order to qualify for Aid and Attendance, all of the following criteria must be met:
- Be eligible for VA pension
- Meet service requirements
- Meet physical disability or handicap requirements
- Meet income/asset limits of eligibility
Contact the same regional Veteran’s Affairs regional representative that you used to apply for pension benefits in writing to apply for the Aid and Attendance benefit.
You may also search for the nearest Veteran’s Service Officer at: http://www.va.gov/ogc/apps/accreditation/index.asp
Do note: if you decide to call the main line at the Veteran’s Affairs Office the representative may not be fully aware of your exact circumstances and may incorrectly tell you that you are not qualified for this benefit. If this happens, look up a good Veteran’s Assistance organization that can help look into your specific situation.
In addition to meeting the above basic requirements, veterans must have served on active duty for at least 90 days with one of those days during a period of war.
Veterans may qualify if they meet at least one of the below criteria:
- Must need daily assistance for everyday living (such as bathing, changing clothes, taking medications)
- Must be bedridden (except for physical therapy)
- Must be a patient in a nursing home with a mental or physical incapacity
- Must have poor eyesight of 5/200 or less with corrected visual acuity in both eyes or have concentric contraction of the visual field to five degrees or less
Under current law, the VA recognizes the following wartime periods to determine eligibility for VA Pension benefits:
- World War II (December 7, 1941 – December 31, 1946)
- Korean conflict (June 27, 1950 – January 31, 1955)
- Vietnam era (February 28, 1961 – May 7, 1975 for Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period; otherwise August 5, 1964 – May 7, 1975)
- Gulf War (August 2, 1990 – through a future date to be set by law or Presidential Proclamation)
Once you have applied, expect to wait for 6-9 months before receiving these benefits. Although receiving the Aid and Assistance benefit may seem like a daunting task, there are organizations and knowledgeable individuals who are more than willing to help you in contacting the VA, filling out the forms, and following up on the progress.