What are Aid and Attendance Benefits for Veterans?

February 25, 2015

Hands holding an American flagAre you or someone you love a veteran starting to explore long term care options and the costs associated?  Long term care, whether it’s at home or in a care community, can be an expensive consideration.  One resource worth looking into is the Veterans Affairs Aid and Attendance program.  Many veterans who’ve served their country selflessly qualify for this benefit and are unaware that it’s available.  Here is some information to get you started in your research regarding the program, who qualifies and how to apply:


What Are the Aid and Attendance Benefits Offered by the Veterans Affairs?

The Aid and Attendance Program is overseen by Veterans Affairs (VA). It is designed to assist veterans and their spouses with financial difficulties by providing additional financial compensation as needed for in-home care or to help cover the expense of a nursing home or assisted living facility. It is available for the veteran, veteran’s spouse, or surviving spouse of a veteran, as long as all of the requirements are met, and it is provided in conjunction with any existing monthly pension.

Basic Requirements

In order to qualify to receive this benefit, certain basic requirements must be met. They include:

  • Eligibility to receive a basic VA pension
  • Meeting requirements for military service
  • Meeting specified disability requirements
  • Income as well as assets fall within certain guidelines


Service Requirements

Each of the following requirements for service must be met in order to qualify to receive Aid and Attendance benefits:

  • Discharged honorably from a branch of the US Armed Forces
  • Served in the military for a minimum of ninety continuous days, at least one of which was during active war periods


The VA uses these timeframes when determining service eligibility as a wartime veteran:

World War I (April 6, 1917 – November 11, 1918)

World War II (December 7, 1941 – December 31, 1946)

Korean conflict (June 27, 1950 – January 31, 1955)

Vietnam era (February 28, 1961 – May 7, 1975 for Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period; otherwise August 5, 1964 – May 7, 1975)

Gulf War (August 2, 1990 – through a future date to be set by law or Presidential Proclamation)

Certain exceptions apply to these guidelines. Moreover, any veteran entering the military after September 7, 1980 must meet a requirement of serving two full years or the full length of time attached to the call of active duty.


Disability Requirements

In order to qualify for benefits, at least one the following circumstances must exist:

  • Another individual must aid the veteran/spouse in completing everyday personal care needs
  • The veteran/spouse is bedridden, excluding convalescence
  • The veteran/spouse suffers from blindness
  • The veteran/spouse resides in a nursing home due to a physical or mental disability


Financial Eligibility

The VA will scrutinize any assets in excess of $80,000 for this program however there are many exceptions that should considered, such as the veteran’s home, vehicles and life insurance policies (except current cash value).  Income limitations are determined by the Maximum Annual Pension Rate (MAPR).  There are many variables affecting this rate which can be found at the VA Benefits website.  Make sure to consult with a VA case worker to be you’re considering all factors when determining financial eligibility.  They’re there to help you!    


What Is the Eligibility for Aid and Attendance Benefits from Veterans Affairs?

In order to be eligible to receive this type of benefit, the individual must be a wartime veteran with no income or income within the guidelines. You must be 65 years of age and meeting disability requirements or a wartime veteran under the age of 65 but completely or permanently disabled. The surviving spouse of a deceased wartime veteran can also qualify for this type of assistance, as long as the spouse has not remarried.


The Application Process

The Aid and Attendance benefit is assistance for a disability occurring outside of military service. It is important to understand that you cannot obtain Aid and Attendance benefits if you are already receiving service-connected compensation.

In order to apply, the veteran or spouse needs to connect with the Veterans Affairs office. Whenever possible, you should contact the VA office at which the claim for pension benefits was filed. A note detailing the reasons why you believe that you are eligible for this benefit should be included along with any documentation that backs up your claim. This documentation can include letters from physicians, nursing home personnel, in-home aides, and anyone else involved in caring for the individual’s personal needs.

Be thorough in the application process and provide all necessary documentation.  Make sure to get the help you need from a case worker with the VA to assist you through this as well.  Some non-profits or public offices such as your local Area Agency on Aging can often help you with the application also.  Once you’ve applied be prepared, this is not something that will happen overnight and often applications can take many months to finally receive a notification of eligibility.  However once in place the benefits are well worth the effort to apply.  This is a benefit that was earned in service to our nation, if you think you or a loved one qualifies or even if you’re unsure, check in with your local VA resource by calling 1-800-827-1000 or visit the Veteran’s Affairs website.    

Hopefully this helps to gain a better understanding of this valuable program and all of us at MyCareMatch.com would like to thank all of our military men and women for their sacrifice and service to this nation.  

About the Author

Doug Breuer is co-founder of MyCareMatch.com and has worked in senior care for the last 9 years for the State of Oregon. From investigating cases of elder abuse to managing the delivery of long term care to residents of Central Oregon, Doug has been involved in all aspects of senior care.

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