A Brief Overview: Benefits, Eligibility and Requirements
- What Are Aid & Attendance (A & A) Benefits?
A & A is a benefit paid to veteran’s, veteran’s spouses or surviving spouses by Veteran’s Affairs (VA). A & A is for those who need financial assistance with medical expenses including in-home care, assisted living or skilled nursing care. A & A is a non-service connected disability benefit, which means the disability does not have to be a result of service. A & A benefits are paid to those applicants who (a) are eligible for a VA pension; (b) meet service requirements; (c) meet certain disability requirements; and (d) meet income and asset limits.
- Who is Eligible?
A pension is a benefit that the VA pays to wartime veterans who have limited or no income, are at least 65 years old, or if under 65, are permanent or completely disable. There are also ‘Death Pensions’, which are needs based for a surviving spouse of a deceased wartime veteran who has not remarried.
- What are the Service Requirements?
A veteran or the veteran’s surviving spouse may be eligible if the veteran was discharged fom a banc of the United States Armed Forces under conditions that were not dishonorable, served at least one day (did not have to be served in combat) during certain wartime periods and had 90 days of continuous military service.
- What are the Disability Requirements?
A claimant can be eligible for Aid and Attendance benefits if they meet one of the following disability requirements.
a. The aid of another person is needed in order to perform an activity of daily living, for example bathing or dressing.
b. The claimant is in a nursing home.
c. The claimant is bedridden.
d. The claimant is blind, or nearly blind as defined by the VA.
- What are the Income Requirements?
The claimant’s countable family income must be below a yearly limit set by law. Countable Income includes income received by the claimant and their dependents. It includes earnings, disability/retirement payments, and interest/dividends. A claimant must report all income but the VA may exclude certain income. Public assistance, like SSI, is not counted.
- What are Considered Unreimbursed Medical Expenses?
A portion of unreimbursed medical expenses paid by claimants may reduce the countable income. Unreimbursed medical expenses include: cost of long term care institution or assisted living, health related insurance premiums, diabetic supplies, private caregivers, prescriptions, and dialysis not covered by another health plan.
- What are the Asset Requirements?
Net Worth (the value of your assets) also affects eligibility. VA pensions are a need-based benefit, and a large net worth might affect your eligibility. All personal goods are exempt from the net worth. These goods include the home you live in, a vehicle used for the care of the claimant and household goods. There is no asset limit set by law and the determination of eligibility can be made at the discretion of a VA caseworker.
- What Are the Potential Benefit Amounts?
The maximum A & A benefit that can be paid monthly to a single veteran is $1, 788.00 ; to a surviving spouse is $1,149.00 per month, to a married couple is $2,120.00 per month; and to veteran filing for a sick spouse is $1,406.00 per month.
- How Do You Apply for A & A Benefits?
There are may ways you can apply for the A & A Benefit.
To get started:
a. Call the VA: 1-800-827-1000
b. Apply online: here
c. Veterans applying for the first time can download VA Form 21-526 – click here.
d. Surviving spouses applying for the first time can download VA Form 21-534 – click here.For more information, visit The Law Offices of Robert J. Keltos