Do you qualify for Veterans Administration Aid and Attendance Benefits?
- October 9, 2012
Astrid de Parry, P.A. - DeLand Office
The Aid and Attendance program is a federal government benefit for wartime veterans who have limited or no income and who are at least 65 years old. If the veteran is younger than 65, he or she must be permanently or completely disabled to receive benefits. This program provides a tax-free monthly pension benefit to veterans and their spouses to assist with their long term care needs. The following represents the monthly benefit for 2012:
- Single Veteran in need of Aid & Attendance $1,703.00
- Veteran in need of Aid & Attendance with spouse $2,019.00
- Widow in need of Aid & Attendance $1,094.00
What are the eligibility requirements for a veteran?
A veteran must have served at least 90 days or more of active duty to qualify for the Aid and Attendance program. One of those days must have been during a wartime period including, but not limited to, World War II, the Korean conflict, the Vietnam era and the Gulf War. Additionally, the veteran must not have been dishonorably discharged.
What are the eligibility requirements for a veteran’s spouse or widow?
The surviving spouse of a veteran may also benefit from the Aid and Attendance program so long as he or she was married to the veteran at the time of his or her death and does not subsequently remarry.
What are the financial eligibility requirements?
Generally, to qualify for Aid and Attendance, an applicant must not have assets in excess of $80,000.00. This figure does not include the value of the applicant’s home, car or certain other items. If an applicant’s assets are over the asset limit, he or she should still consider meeting with an elder law attorney or Veterans Administration counselor for other long term care planning options.
How is the pension benefit calculated?
The Veterans Administration will subtract the applicant’s monthly unreimbursed medical expenses from the applicant’s monthly income to determine whether the applicant qualifies for the Aid and Attendance benefit. For example, if the applicant receives $2,000.00 in monthly income and his monthly medical expenses are $2,000.00, the applicant will receive 100% of the pension benefit. Unreimbursed medical expenses include the following: cost of a long-term care facility, health-related insurance premiums, health-related supplies and services, private caregivers and prescriptions.
There is a dollar for dollar reduction for every dollar the applicant has left over after subtracting the monthly unreimbursed medical expenses. For example, if the applicant’s income is $2,000.00 and his medical expenses are $1,500.00, the applicant will receive the pension benefit less $500.00.
How do I apply?
The necessary forms are available at www.va.gov or by calling the Veterans Administration at 1-800-827-1000.
Whom do I contact?
Even though hiring an attorney is not required, it may be beneficial to do so in order to fully understand the eligibility requirements and properly complete all the necessary paperwork. Potential applicants should also consider meeting with counselors at their local Veterans Administration office.