What is the VA Aid and Attendance Benefit program?

7 answers | Last updated: Oct 23, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

What is the VA Aid & Attendance Benefit program? I called the VA directly for information and was told there is no such benefit.

Expert Answers

Rita Files, LPN, VSR, a nationally recognized expert on the elderly, has more than 30 years of experience in the health care industry, with 20 years focused on eldercare. She has developed programs for many leading providers in the senior living industry. Accredited through the V.A. in veterans' benefits, she is an advocate and powerful resource committed to educating veterans and their families about the nonservice connected pension benefit and providing them with accurate information. She is cofounder and COO of Aging with Grace.

Unfortunately this is a common response. The VA Aid & Attendance benefit program is a descriptor commonly used in the civilian arena when providing information about the VA Non-Service Connected Pension. "Aid & attendance" is actually one tier of a three tiered benefit known in the VA system as VA Pension or Disability Pension. Over the course of years, the VA Pension took on the name Aid & Attendance causing much confusion especially when contacting the VA directly. Often VA personnel will tell a caller "there is no such benefit," and technically they are correct, especially if they are not familiar with the scope of VA Pension.

The VA Pension benefit, which is not dependent upon service-related injuries, allows Veterans and surviving spouses that are low income or have high out of pocket monthly medical expense to receive additional monetary benefits.

To be eligible, the veteran must have served a minimum of 90 days of active military service 1 day of which was during a wartime period and have been discharged from service under conditions other than dishonorable.

The 3 tiers of VA Pension are:

  1. Basic Pension "“ paid to veterans age 65 or older, or, if under 65, are permanently and totally disabled and surviving spouses with countable family income below the yearly limit set by law or those who have no income.

  2. Housebound "“ additional benefit amount paid in addition to basic pension when a claimant is substantially confined to a premise and dependent upon others to get around. If the claimant does not drive, this would be a key indicator for eligibility.

  3. Aid & Attendance "“ additional benefit amount paid in addition to basic pension when the claimant can no longer manage the functions of day to day living. Factors such as not being able to self medicate, cook and clean, bathe, and needing assistance with mobility are all examples of aid and attendance requirements.

The housebound or aid & attendance benefit is often used to defray the cost of home care, assisted living or skilled nursing care for a veteran or the veteran's spouse.

It is recommended when calling the VA ask for information on Pension benefits. Visit the VA web site to learn more about the VA Pension and other benefits available to Veterans.

Community Answers

00amanda answered...

Check VA SMC R2

Carlotta katra answered...

I hear this often and if they do "know" what you're talking about you're likely to still get wrong information. That's why you should enlist the help of a Veteran's Benefits Consultant who can make sure you know everything to get approved as soon as possible.

Veteran's that served during an active wartime are eligible for this great benefit. The key is to qualify for it. To do that you must:

  • Need the assistance of another person to help with either bathing, dressing, toileting, eating, medications, transfering, be legally blind or be unsafe left alone
  • You also must have medical expenses higher than your income which is easily accomplished if you're going to an assisted living. It can be recieved in-home but you must meet the expense ratios.

Veteran's receive $1656, couple $1949 and a widow $1056 per month

There are also asset limits that are calulated based on your age so don't pay attention to the $80,000 limit. You can reposition assets without a penalty unlike Medicaid. You must do so bearing in mind that their may be a need for nursing home care later and you may need Medicaid. I have been trained to coordinate both benefits so that my clients don't get into trouble later and don't face penalties. It takes years of training to understand Medicaid's ins and outs. My experience in the senior care industry helped me gain that as well as Many of the companies assisting with the Aid and Attendance benefits are just insurance agents with a little bit of knowledge. They are more worried about making a commission than about your future.

We make sure you have all the necessary documents they will need the first time. For more information check out http://www.agingavenues.com/topics/aid-attendance-pension-for-veteran-s-and-spouses

There is more required than just the application as well.

A fellow caregiver answered...

It is such a sad and common occurrence that people get that answer when they call the VA.

The VA knows very well what aid and attendance[veteranscareadvisors.com] means and should answer the people honestly.

It is indeed a provision of the non-service connected disability pension benefit as well as the improved death pension benefit for un-remarried surviving spouses.

A free worksheet is available at http://www.VeteransCareAdvisors.com that will walk you through the 5 eligibility criteria.

Cindy l answered...

Cvso jon answered...

All Veterans and profit or not for profit organizations should be utilizing the COUNTY VETERAN SERVICE OFFICE. County Veteran Service Officers (CVSO's) are paid by the County that they reside in and get extensive training from the State & Federal VA on Pensions as well as all other Veterans Benefits. Your tax dollars pay for you to have this absolutely free service. CVSO's have no hidden agendas or incentives of any kind other than doing what is absolutely best for the Veterans that deserve our dignity and respect. Always see your CVSO for any and all Veterans benefits.

Matthew calcagno answered...

Awareness has increased over the last few years and I know that some applications can take 6-12 months. However, veterans will get back pay of the benefits from when their home care started. It is a shame that they went straight to the VA and didn't get the info they needed.

The fact is, if you know anyone that is 65 or older and served in the military at a time of aware, they could be eligible. It is worth anyone's time to find out if they can up to 20 hours of free home care.

On top of that, any surviving spouse is eligible as well!

More info here on starting the care immediately with no cost to the veteran while application is being processed -http://bigheartshomecare.com/veterans_program.php