The purpose of the VA’s Aid and Attendance Benefit is to assure that someone who served our country during wartime is not alone and forgotten in disability and old age. The Aid and Attendance Benefit, also referred to as Special Pension, is a benefit for war-time veterans in need of financial help in order to pay for long-term care. This includes assisted home care, nursing home care, and living facility care. Paid by Veterans Affairs, this benefit is paid in addition to a veteran’s basic pension.
Aid and Attendance is a needs-based benefit, which means that it primarily aims to help veterans or their surviving spouse who need assistance with activities that they can otherwise do on their own when in full health. The phrase “Aid and Attendance” comes from the need for veterans to have other individuals “aid” them and “attend” to them in order to carry out activities of daily living.
To qualify for Aid and Attendance, a veteran or a veteran’s spouse must first meet certain conditions in terms of service, health, and financials.
For service requirements, a veteran must have been on active duty for a minimum of 90 consecutive days, including having served at least one day in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam War, or Persian Gulf War—although not necessarily in combat. Also, a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces must not have discharged the veteran dishonorably.
A war-time veteran or surviving spouse must also be at least 65 years of age. If the veteran is below 65 years of age, then he or she must be permanently and totally disabled in order to qualify.
Disability requirements include the need for the aid of another individual to perform activities of daily living. Such activities include going to the bathroom, bathing, getting dressed, and driving. Other disability requirements include the claimant being bedridden, the claimant being in a nursing home due to physical or mental incapacity, or the claimant being blind or with a corrected visual acuity of 5/200 or below in both eyes.
A veteran or surviving spouse’s net worth affects eligibility, and so they must therefore meet income and asset limitations. An applicant must generally have less than $80,000 in assets, not including his or her vehicles and home. This is not a hard limit, however, as the final determination will also take into account the veteran’s age, life expectancy, and care expenses.
Depending on the level of benefits, the Aid and Attendance Benefit ranges anywhere from $1,380 to $2,085 every month for a married veteran, and ranges from $1,054 to $1,758 a month for a single veteran. For a war-time veteran’s surviving spouse, the benefit ranges anywhere from $707 to $1,130 a month. If two veterans are married, then the benefit ranges anywhere from $1,380 to $2,790 each month. If there are dependents in any of these situations, then the amount typically increases by $180 a month.
Consult with an Attorney
The elderly typically deal with specialized and sensitive needs, including the need for long-term care. An Alabama elder law attorney can provide you and your family with the information and tools needed to help make the best decisions for you and your loved ones.
If you are a veteran or a surviving spouse and you believe you may qualify for Aid and Attendance, it would be best to discuss your issues with a compassionate and qualified elder law attorney who can help you plan for the future. Call James B. Griffin, LLC at 205-502-2199 today.