The VA ‘Aid and Attendance’ Program

US Department of Veterans Affairs

US Department of Veterans AffairsIf you or your spouse is a veteran, you may have heard of the VA program available to wartime veterans called “Aid and Attendance” or just “A & A.” This program may be of great value to a veteran who is overwhelmed with the cost of long-term senior care, assisted living facilities, home care aids, skilled nursing or even adult daycare.
A wartime veteran or their surviving spouse may be eligible to receive a non-service connected pension (the need for care does not have to result from military service). There are three levels of VA Pensions:

  • The Basic Pension for healthy veterans over the age of 65 with low incomes.
  • The Aid & Attendance benefit for veterans over the age of 65 who require assistance with activities of daily living.
  • The Housebound benefit for veterans with a disability rating of 100% that prevents them from leaving their home. This disability does not have to be related to military service.

The Aid & Attendance and Housebound pensions provide additional monthly income over and above the Basic Monthly pension. To be eligible for either of these pensions, one must also meet the requirements for the Basic Pension.  The Aid & Attendance (A&A) increased monthly pension amount may be added to a veteran’s monthly pension amount if they meet one of the following conditions:

  • The veteran is a patient in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity.
  • The veteran is bedridden.
  • The veteran requires the aid of another person to perform personal functions required in everyday living.
  • The veteran has limited eyesight (a corrected 5/200 visual acuity or less in both eyes).

The Aid and Attendance benefit is often referred to by other names. The terms, “improved pension, “VA assisted living benefit,” or “veterans elder care benefits” are all different names for the same program.  All of them refer to additional benefits, added to a basic VA pension.
Keep in mind that there may be conflicts between pensions and other assistance from the Department of Veterans Affairs or other government programs. For example, a veteran may not receive both VA disability benefits and a VA Aid and Attendance Pension (they can receive the higher benefit of the two programs). Also, receiving a VA pension may disqualify a veteran from receiving Medicaid benefits.
What counts as wartime service? Currently, these are the periods covered:

  • 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
  • Gulf War: Aug 2, 1990 – Jan 2, 1992
  • Operation Iraqi Freedom, Sep11, 2001– still open

All of this sounds complicated and confusing to many people. 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. 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. has several trusted and knowledgeable Approved Vendors who may be of assistance in answering your VA Aid and Assistance questions. They are:

For any senior-related need, you may contact an Advisor by phone at 866-333-2657 (se habla Español), or by using this contact link- Contact Us. Check out our website at and take an online look at our senior living magazine, Magazine. You can view the entire Directory of Approved Vendors.

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