Is There Extra V.A. Help for Veterans Who Are Housebound or Can't Care for Themselves?

A fellow caregiver asked...

Is there extra V.A. help for veterans who are housebound or can't care for themselves?

Expert Answer

A low-income veteran with wartime service who is unable to care for himself or is disabled and housebound might be eligible for V.A. Aid & Attendance (A&A) or Housebound benefits, which can be paid in addition to a low-income, wartime veteran's basic pension. A veteran must qualify for a low-income veteran's basic pension in order to also get either A&A or Housebound benefits. A veteran can receive either A&A benefits or Housebound benefits, but not both at the same time.

How to determine eligibility. A veteran eligible for a low-income pension may also be eligible for A&A benefits if at least one of the following conditions applies:

  • The veteran requires assistance from another person to perform activities of daily living (ADLs): bathing, eating, dressing, using the toilet, getting in and out of a bed or chair, walking, taking medication.

  • The veteran is bedridden, meaning that his condition requires that he remain in bed other than during prescribed convalescence or treatment.

  • The veteran resides in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity.

  • The veteran is blind (corrected visual acuity of 5/200 or less, in both eyes). A veteran eligible for a low-income pension may also be eligible for Housebound benefits if at least one of the following conditions applies:

  • The veteran has a single, permanent 100 percent disability (as determined by V.A. disability rules) and is therefore substantially and permanently confined to his residence.

  • The veteran has a single, permanent 100 percent disability, plus another disability or disabilities evaluated by the V.A. as 60 percent or more disabling.

How to apply. A veteran applies for A&A or Housebound benefits at the regional office that processes the veteran's pension benefits. If the veteran is just beginning the low-income pension application process, he can apply for the basic pension as well as A&A or Housebound benefits at any V.A. regional office. For more information on applying for low-income V.A. pension benefits, see Does the V.A. have a pension for senior or disabled low-income veterans?.