Aid and Attendance is a monetary benefit paid by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to veterans, or surviving spouses. The benefit may not be paid without eligibility to a VA basic pension. Aid and Attendance is an additional amount for applicants who need require the aid and attendance of another person, or are housebound.
It is a non–service connected disability benefit, meaning the disability is not a result of military service. Aid and Attendance benefits are paid to those applicants who:
A pension is a benefit that the VA pays to wartime veterans who have limited or no income and who are at least 65 years old or, if under 65, are permanently or completely disabled. There are also “Death Pensions,” which are needs based for a surviving spouse of a deceased wartime veteran who:
A veteran or the veteran’s surviving spouse may be eligible if the veteran:
If the veteran entered active duty after September 7, 1980, generally he/she must have served at least 24 months or the full period for which called or ordered to active duty (there are exceptions to this rule).
Veterans or surviving spouses can be eligible for Aid and Attendance benefits if they meet the following disability requirements:
The VA recently announced a net worth limit of $123,600 effective October 18, 2018. Not worth includes both income and asset limits for the Aid and Attendance Pension. Income means all income received by the claimant and his or her spouse. It includes earnings, disability and retirement payments, interest and dividends, and net income from farming or business. A claimant must report all income.
The following chart includes the Maximum Annual Pension Rate (MAPR) for the Pension with Aid and Attendance.
|If you are a…||Maximum Annual Aid and Attendance Pension Rate|
|Single Veteran||Up to $21,962
($1,830 per month)
|Veteran with Spouse/
|Up to $26,036
($2,169 per month)
|Two Veterans Married to
|Up to $34,837
($2,902 per month)
|Surviving Spouse||Up to $14,113
($1,176 per month)
A portion of unreimbursed medical expenses paid by claimants may reduce the countable income.
Unreimbursed medical expenses include: cost of a long term care institution or assisted living, health related insurance premiums (including Medicare premiums), diabetic supplies, private caregivers, incontinence supplies, medical alert devices, prescriptions and dialysis not covered by any other health plan. Only the portion of the unreimbursed medical expenses that exceed 5% of the basic pension MAPR may be deducted (see above chart for this amount).
Example A: Single Veteran/No Spouse or Dependents — Income Less Than MAPR
Example B: Married Veterans — Income Below MAPR — Need Aid and Attendance
Beginning October 18, 2018, the VA has set a limit of up to $123,600 for a claimant’s net worth and a three-year “look back” period. If married, this includes the net worth of the couple. Net worth is defined as income and assets. Income and assets. VA pensions are a need–based benefit, and a large net worth might affect your eligibility.
The VA does not count a primary residence or primary vehicle as part of the net worth. Assets include: realestate, land, land rights, vehicles, boats, motor homes, accounts at financial institutions, annuities, and trusts.
The VA will look back at a claimant’s financial history for a period of three years (36 months) form the application date to determine if any asset transfers affect his/her eligibility. A claimant may be disqualified up to a period of five years if asset transfers for less than market value were made. In other words, the VA does not allow an applicant to hide assets or gift their assets to their heirs in order to qualify for the Pension.
Medicaid rules vary by state, please research the rules in your state.
Applying for VA pension is often complicated and may take some time. It is a good idea to keep copies of all unreimbursed medical bills for at least twelve months. The average wait for approval is six months. However, the benefits are retroactive to the date of application.
You can apply directly to the VA for a VA Pension with Aid and Attendance, however unless you are familiar with VA claim forms, we suggest seeking help with the application.
To apply or contact the VA directly:
The veteran or surviving spouse will need to gather the following VA Forms (Forms can be found at http://www.va.gov/vaforms/) before applying for benefits:
Marriage certificate and death certificate (surviving spouses only)
Asset information (bank account statements, etc.)
Verification of Income (social security award letter, and statements from pensions, IRAs, annuities, etc.)
Proof of medical premiums (insurance statements, medication or medical bills that are not reimbursed by Medi-Cal or Medicare)
Voided check for Aid and Attendance direct deposit
Military discharge or separation documents (DD 214)
You may want to contact Veterans Home Care(R), a family owned company that offers their VetAssist Program(R) to veterans and surviving spouses. They will help you determine if you are eligible for the VA’s Aid and Attendance benefit and help you file a claim at no charge. If you qualify fo their VetAssist Program(R), they offer a no-interest loan to so that you can begin home care or adult day care while the VA processes your claim. Call toll fee 888-314-6075 for more information or email: [email protected]
Because filling a VA claim can be as complicated as filing your taxes, you may want to first file VBA-21-0966 Intent to File form. The VA will recognize the date of receipt of the Intent to File form as the retroactive date that our pension begins. After receiving this form, VA will give you the appropriate application to file for the general benefit you select on the Intent to File form. After filing the ITF 21-0966 form, you have one year to complete your application for the VA Pension with Aid and Attendance.
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