Senior Helpers wants to make sure Veterans are aware of a little-known benefit that may help Veterans and their surviving spouses pay for home care (and other care services). If you or a loved one have any questions after reading this, please post your question in the comments area and we will make sure you receive the answers you need. Some of this sounds complicated–and it can be. However, it is worth it to the tune of up to $2,000 per month in potential benefits for qualified Veterans or their surviving spouses.
So what is it? Veterans Aid and Attendance (A&A) is a benefit paid in addition to monthly pension. Benefits may be available for Veterans and surviving spouses who require the regular attendance of another person to assist in bathing, dressing, meal preparation, medication monitoring or other various activities of daily living. This benefit is available to individuals who reside in assisted living communities, personal care homes, skilled nursing facilities and those receiving personal in-home care.
How can these benefits help and how much is available?
Aid and Attendance can help pay for care in the home, skilled nursing facility, personal care home or an assisted living community. A qualified Veteran may be eligible for about $2,000 per month.
Who is Eligible?
Any War Veteran with 90 days of active duty with at least one day during active War time. A surviving spouse of a War Veteran may be eligible if he/she remained married to the Veteran until his/her time of death and has not remarried. The only exception to this rule is if the remarriage took place after January 1, 1971 and ended before November 1, 1990. The individual must meet medical, service and financial qualifications as described below.
- The Veteran requires the aid of another person in order to perform personal functions required in everyday living, such as bathing, feeding, dressing, attending to the wants of nature, adjusting prosthetic devices, or protecting himself/herself from the hazards of his/her daily environment, OR,
- The Veteran is bedridden, in that his/her disability or disabilities requires that he/she remain in bed apart from any prescribed course of convalescence or treatment, OR,
- The Veteran is a patient in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity, OR,
- The Veteran is blind, or so nearly blind as to have corrected visual acuity of 5/200 or less, in both eyes, and concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less.
- At least 90 days of active duty, but need not have served in combat.
- One day of active duty during a period of war (table below lists qualifying periods of war)
- Discharged from service under conditions other than dishonorable
War or Conflict
- WWII:12/7/1941 to 12/31/1946
- Korean Conflict: 6/27/1950 to 1/31/1955
- Vietnam Era: 8/5/1964 to 5/7/1975; for Veterans who served “in country” before 8/5/1664, then 2/28/1961 to 5/7/1975 is applicable.
- Gulf War: At least 24 months, 8/2/1990 until a date to be set by law or Presidential Proclamation.
- VA compares gross monthly income to out of pocket medical expenses.
- Assets are included in the equation for eligibility. Personal property such as the Veteran’s home or vehicle, are not included in this calculation.
- A complicated Income and Asset Test must be “passed” in order to qualify. VA does not disclose this special provision to the public. If these are submitted incorrectly the Veteran will be denied the benefit. Therefore, we strongly recommend you contact your Senior Helpers representative who can put you in contact with VA Accredited Claims Agent who can complete the forms for you- at no charge to you.
There is also a “Housebound” benefit that can be paid in addition to monthly pension, and, like A&A, Housebound benefits first require eligibility to pension (different criteria apply). A Veteran cannot receive both Aid and Attendance and Housebound benefits at the same time.
If I am already receiving monthly payments or a service-connected disability can I get a VA pension too?
You cannot receive a VA non-service connected pension and service-connected compensation at the same time. However, if you apply for pension and are awarded payments, VA will pay you whichever benefit is greater.
How do I apply for Veterans non-service connected pension?
Contact your local Senior Helpers office for assistance and they will provide you with the information you need, including referral to an accredited claims agent who can assist you with your application.