The correct answer to this question is a qualified, “Yes”. There is a Veterans Administration benefit that may be available to a veteran or their spouse under certain conditions. This benefit may provide financial assistance up to a maximum of $1,949 per month. It is called the Aid and Attendance” (A & A) entitlement and it is an additional benefit available to those who are eligible for the “Non-Service Connected Disability Pension Benefit” or the “Improved Death Pension Benefit with Aid and Attendance.”
Aid and Attendance is the most commonly used term when referring to these benefits. A & A benefits are available to wartime Veterans and their surviving spouses. It is a part of the Veterans Administration’s Disability and Death Pension program. Be sure that you understand the meaning of the terms, “Pension” and “Aid and Attendance”, as the VA uses them and also the eligibility requirements for each.
In this case, the term “Pension” means a VA benefit paid to the veterans of a period of wartime service because of non-service-related disability or age. It may also be paid to the surviving spouse of a wartime veteran if they have not remarried. There are two special monthly benefits that may be added to that basic Pension under some circumstances: Housebound benefits and Aid and Attendance benefits. You cannot apply for Housebound or Aid and Attendance benefits without being eligible for the basic Pension benefit.
These are the rules for determining eligibility for the “Non-Service Connected Disability Pension Benefit” or the “Improved Death Pension Benefit” (for spouses). Basic Pension entitlement requires that the veteran or spouse meet several criteria:
- Wartime service with honorable discharge -The veteran was in active military service for 90 days or more with at least one day of service during a period of war, or served at least one day during a period of war and was discharged or released from service for a service-connected disability, or served for a combination of 90 days or more in two or more separate periods with at least one day being during a war period.
What counts as “wartime service”? Here are the dates currently accepted –
- World War II: Dec 7, 1941 – Dec 31, 1946
- Korean War: Jun 27, 1950 – Jan 31, 1955
- Vietnam War: Aug 5, 1964 – May 7, 1975 (or Feb 28, 1961 – May 7, 1975 for veterans who served in Vietnam)
- Gulf War: Aug 2, 1990 – Undetermined
- Demonstration of “limited net worth” and not having an annual net income in excess of the minimum income guaranteed by the VA
- Is age 65 or older or is permanently and totally disabled from non-service-connected disability not due to the Veteran’s own willful misconduct.
This is explained in a Veterans Administration publication that can be viewed and downloaded here.
A veteran or their spouse qualifies for A & A if they meet the basic Pension requirements above AND meet any one of the conditions below:
- They need the aid of another person to accomplish personal functions required in everyday living. Examples are preparing meals, eating, bathing, toileting or protecting themselves from hazards in their environment, for example, falling.
- They are a patient in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity.
- They are bedridden, meaning that their disability or disabilities restrict them to bed, not including a prescribed course of convalescence or treatment.
- They have impaired eyesight, limited to a corrected 5/200 visual acuity or less in both eyes, or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less.
If you are not clear on these requirements, the VA has a short video on YouTube explaining the A & A benefit here.
All of this sounds complicated and confusing; in fact, there are lawyers and law firms that specialize in this type of eligibility case. The VA also has social workers who might be able to assist you. No one can guarantee that you will qualify for these benefits. The VA considers each case on its individual merits and the financial requirements are subject to several considerations such as valuing assets, other dependents, etc.
Be cautious when you seek help or advice on this matter. A few assisted living facility managers have directed veterans to financial advisors who have placed their assets in annuities or other investments that benefited the advisor but might not have been best for the veteran, even if they made him or her eligible for A & A.
This is a complicated question. It might require advice from attorneys, financial advisors, medical experts and social workers. However, these challenges need not be faced alone. Finding Assisted Living and FindingAssistedLiving.com exist to help both veteran and non-veteran seniors or their loved ones make the best choice for their situation. FAL can provide dependable, knowledgeable, unbiased advice on local providers of home health services, physical therapists and other services related to the maintenance of independent living. Please call on us for advice you can trust and be sure to check out our Veterans Services listings of county veterans services offices.
Thank you for visiting the web site of FindingAssistedLiving.com The information contained on this website is provided for educational and informational purposes only. The contents of this site are not and should not be construed as legal advice. The website is not an offer to perform services on any matter. This website contains general information from a variety of sources and might not reflect current legal developments, verdicts or settlements. Please consult a professional such as an attorney and or CPA when taking these matters into consideration for you or loved one.