VA offers tax-free, monthly monetary payments to certain wartime Veterans and their surviving spouses. The Aid & Attendance pension is a benefit for Veterans who do not have a service-connected disability resulting from their military service. Aid and Attendance amount is available for those who need the “aid and attendance” of another person for their routine daily living activities on a permanent basis. Veterans and their surviving spouses can get home care services through this pension. This pension is separate from Veterans Healthcare benefits and any home care assistance benefits through the healthcare program.
In order for a Veteran or surviving spouse to qualify for the aid and attendance pension, they have to meet the following ‘4 M’ criteria:
- Military Service
- Medical Needs
- Monetary Needs (Asset and income)
- Marriage (Surviving spouse)
- Must have atleast 90 days of Active Duty (doesn’t require in a combat role)
- Atleast one of those 90 days should be during a war period. See below for war periods as defined by VA
- Received other than dishonorable discharge
- Over 65 years of age
- Documented medical need, needing assistance with activities of daily living (some examples: can’t drive, can’t hear, limited mobility, chronic illness etc)
- Low income (qualified expenses can be counted towards reducing your income, for example medical expenses)
- Total assets should be less than $158,000
- Personal assets (including primary home, car) are not counted towards asset limit
- Surviving spouse must be married to the Veteran at the time of Veteran’s death
VA Defined War Periods
- World War II: December 7, 1941-December 31, 1946
- Korean Conflict: June 27, 1950-January 31, 1955
- Vietnam Era: August 5, 1964-May 7, 1975 Veterans who served February 28, 1961-August 5, 1964, must have served “in country” (Vietnam)
- Persian Gulf War: August 2, 1990- date to be prescribed by Presidential Proclamation or law. Must have served active duty for two years or the full period of which the veteran was called for active duty
Following are the benefits available for someone who qualifies. Its important to note that these benefits are only available to use towards home care assistance for activities of daily living (ADL) and VA is very strict about ensuring that the benefits are used in a compliant manner. This money can’t be used for any other purpose and VA can claim all the money back if they find out that the money was used for some other purpose or in a non-compliant manner.
- Couple (Veteran and Surviving Spouse): $2,169 per month
- Single Veteran: $1,829 per month
- Surviving Spouse: $1,176 per month
How to Apply?
You can apply for the Aid & Attendance benefits directly with VA. There are other third parties who can help apply for these benefits. Advantage of going with those third parties is that they usually have experience in working with VA and they can ensure all the documents are in place before submitting your application. There is a risk of delay in getting application approved and benefits started if your application is not accurate or complete. That is why going to these third parties is a good option. Watch out if someone asks you for a fee to file for the benefits since VA doesn’t allow for anyone to charge a fee to help Veterans apply for the benefits. One company that is nationwide and helps Veterans and surviving spouses get these benefits is Veterans Home Care and their exclusive VetAssist® program. Another company is Care Planning Institute. Both these companies offer free help with applying for Aid & Attendance benefits for Veterans and surviving spouses and they work with a network of agencies to provide home care services.
Overall, this a great benefit for those who need home care assistance. For additional questions or if you need more information, you can reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (832) 612-0472 and ask to speak with a Veterans benefits specialist or visit our page dedicated to Veterans and surviving spouses here. You can also see if you qualify or submit your referral by visiting our Aid and Attendance page.