Aid and Attendance Benefits for Veterans
Veterans and Spouses - Pension for Home Care and Assisted Living
VETERAN ADMINISTRATION (VA) PENSION PROGRAM
This program is designed around the VA’s Aid and Attendance pension program and provides financial benefits to qualified veterans and their spouses or their surviving spouses at no cost to them or their families.
To qualify for the VA’s pension program the following criteria must be met::
Served at least 90 days of active duty in the military * Served at least one day during a qualified period of war, those periods include:
- Mexican Border: 5/9/1916-4/5/1917
- WWI: 4/6/1917-11/11/1918 (Russian Front 4/6/1917-4/1/1920)
- WWII: 12/7/1941-12/31/1946
- Korean Conflict: 6/27/1950-1/31/1955
- Vietnam Era: 8/5/1964-5/7/1975
- Persian Gulf War: 8/2/1990-TBD
- Be honorably discharged
- Have medical necessity * Be financially eligible
You do not need to have been wounded or disabled during your service time to qualify for this benefit.
American Veterans in need of assistance should take advantage of benefits offered for assisted living facility care or for home care. Statutes governing Veterans’ benefits are located within Title 38 of the U.S. Code. Veterans entitled to receiving benefits can access funds after qualifying on a need basis. Consumers need to be aware that Veterans as well as certain widows or widowers are also entitled to non-service connected benefits if they meet certain conditions. Learn more about Aid and Attendance at SilverCensus Blog!
Want to compare assisted living facilities? Click Here
Here are a few frequently asked questions about VA Benefits that you may find helpful:
Choose a topic below
Aid and Attendance Guidelines
Do Veterans Benefits cover assistance for senior citizens?
Yes, you can receive benefits for Home Health Care, Assisted Living or Nursing Home care.
Can a Veteran or Spouse get both VA benefits and Medicaid?
Yes, in many cases you can qualify for both.
I understand it takes one year or more to be awarded Veteran Benefits. Is this true?
It has been our experience that Veteran Benefits can take on average 5 months for the past 2 years. It is important to note that Veteran Benefits are effective the first day of the month following the date which the application was received by the Veteran Administration. When approved, recipients will receive a lump sum retroactive payment.
How long do the Veteran Benefits last?
As long as the recipient needs care.
Can I get medical care and prescription drugs from the Veteran Administration?
Yes, the Veteran (not the spouse) will qualify for complete free medical care and prescription drugs when they are awarded the pension.
My husband who was a Veteran died. Can I get any benefits?
Yes, as long as you were married at the time of death and not remarried, unless to another Veteran.
Do I have to have a Service Connected Disability to receive benefits?
No, this is a non service connected pension.Back to top
Veterans /Spouse in need of Assisted Living Care
What are the maximum Benefit Amounts allowed for Veterans while living in an Assisted Living Care Facility?
Surviving Spouse: $1,056.00
Spouse in care with Veteran at home: $1,291.00
Veteran in care Spouse at home: $1,949.00
Veterans only 1 in care: $1,949.00
Veterans in care: $2,539.00
Do all nursing homes, Assisted Living Care Facilities (ALFs) or home health care agencies accept VA benefits?
Yes, since the benefit is paid directly to the Veteran or spouse, home care assistance while a senior lives in their own home or at an Assisted Living Facility (ALF) is considered private pay. Home health care services are paid privately from funds received through a recipient’s benefits. Keep in mind that should a senior be eligible for home health care services through Medicare, some restrictions do apply.
Do all Veterans qualify for Assisted Living Benefits or Home Care Benefits?
No, in order to receive Veteran Benefits you must have served in the military 90 continuous days of full time active duty, one of them during wartime (whether you saw action or not) and NOT HAVE a dishonorable discharge.
Can I use my Veteran Benefit at any Assisted Living Care Facility that I select?
Yes, Veteran benefits are considered portable in all 50 states. You can move from one care facility to another and maintain your benefit.Back to top
Veterans /Spouse in need of Home Care Services
Veterans /Spouse in need of Home Care ServicesBack to top
What are Aid and Attendance (A&A) and Housebound benefits?
Aid and Attendance is a benefit paid in addition to monthly pension. This benefit may not be paid without eligibility to pension. A Veteran may be eligible for Aid and Attendance (A&A) when:
1.The Veteran requires the aid of another person in order to perform personal functions required in everyday living, such as bathing, feeding, dressing, attending to the wants of nature, adjusting prosthetic devices, or protecting himself/herself from the hazards of his/her daily environment, OR,
2.The Veteran is bedridden, in that his/her disability or disabilities requires that he/she remain in bed apart from any prescribed course of convalescence or treatment, OR,
3.The Veteran is a patient in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity, OR,
4.The Veteran is blind, or so nearly blind as to have corrected visual acuity of 5/200 or less, in either eyes, or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less. Housebound is paid in addition to monthly pension. Like Aid and Attendance (A&A), Housebound benefits may not be paid without eligibility to pension.
A Veteran may be eligible for Housebound benefits when:
1.The Veteran has a single permanent disability evaluated as 100-percent disabling AND, due to such disability, he/she is permanently and substantially confined to his/her immediate premises, OR,
2.The Veteran has a single permanent disability evaluated as 100-percent disables AND, another disability, or disabilities, evaluated as 60 percent or more disabling.
Can a Veteran receive both Aid and Attendance (A&A) AND Housebound benefits at the same time?
A Veteran cannot receive both Aid and Attendance and Housebound benefits at the same time.
Is there an income limit required to receive benefits?
Income is reduced by recurring, non-reimbursable medical expenses. Amounts vary.
What is countable income for Veterans pension eligibility purposes?
Income to consider when applying for Veterans Pension Eligibility includes income received by the Veteran and his or her dependents, if any, from most sources. It includes earnings, disability and retirement payments, interest and dividends, and net income from farming or business.
Are there any exclusions to income or deductions that may be made to reduce countable income?
Yes, there are exclusions. The following are examples of what may be excluded:
Public assistance such as Supplemental Security Income is not considered income.
Many other specific sources of income are not considered income, however, all income should be reported. VA will exclude any income that the law allows.A portion of unreimbursed medical expenses paid by the claimant after VA receives the claimant’s pension claim may be deducted. (These are expense you have paid for medical services or products for which you will not be reimbursed by Medicare or private medical insurance.) Certain other expenses, such as a veteran’s education expenses, and in some cases, a portion of the educational expenses of a child over 18 are deductible
When qualifying for benefits, is there an asset or savings limit?
How is Net Worth a factor when applying for Veteran Benefits?
Net worth means the net value of the assets of the Veteran and his or her dependents. It includes such assets as bank accounts, stocks, bonds, mutual funds and any property other than the Veteran’s residence and a reasonable lot area. There is no set limit on how much net worth a Veteran and his dependents can have, but net worth cannot be excessive. The decision as to whether a claimant’s net worth is excessive depends on the facts of each individual case. All net worth should be reported and the Veteran Administration will determine if a claimant’s assets are sufficiently large that the claimant could live off these assets for a reasonable period of time. Veteran need-based programs are not intended to protect substantial assets or build up an estate for the benefit of heirs.
I need care but my husband (the Veteran) does not need care. Is there a benefit for me?
Yes, spouses are entitled to care.
How does the Veteran Administration calculate pension? (direct from the Veteran Administration website)
Your annual pension is calculated by first totaling all your countable income. Then any deductions are subtracted from that total. The remaining countable income is deducted from the appropriate annual pension limit which is determined by the number of your dependents, if any, and whether or not you are entitled to housebound or aid and attendance benefits. This amount is then divided by 12 and rounded down to the nearest dollar. This gives you the amount of your monthly payment.
How Does VA Calculate Your Pension?
Your pension is calculated to be an amount equal to the difference between your countable family income and the annual pension limit set by Congress. If, for example, the annual income limit for a veteran and spouse as set by Congress is $13,855 and your income combined with your spouse’s income is $10,855, your VA pension will be $3,000 ($13,855 – $10,855 = $3,000) paid in monthly installments. If your total countable family income is more than $13,855 in this example, then you are not eligible for VA Veterans Pension for that year. You may reapply again at any time your countable income falls below the limit. A portion of your unreimbursed medical expenses (what you paid out of pocket after medical insurance pays) may reduce your countable income. Using the example above for combined family income ($10,855): If your medical expenses for a year are $8,000 and your medical insurance pays $6,400 of that, your unreimbursed medical expense is $1,600. That portion of your unreimbursed medical expenses ($1,600 in the example above) which is more than 5% of the maximum rate of pension, or $693 in this example ($13,855 x .05 = $693), may be deducted from your total combined income which then increases the amount VA will pay to you.
Since the $1,600 out of pocket expenses is greater than $693, you may reduce your family income by $907 ($1,600 – $693). So, your income for VA pension purposes is now $9,948 ($10,855 – $907).
Your VA pension would then be $13,855 (maximum rate for a veteran with a spouse) minus $9,948 ( total family income after deducting unreimbursed medical expenses), or $3,907 for that year.
Net worth, or corpus of estate (the value of your assets) also has a bearing on your pension eligibility. Because VA pension is a needs based benefit, a large net worth may render you ineligible.
Net worth and corpus of estate mean the market value, less mortgages or other encumbrances, of all real and personal property owned by the veteran, except the veteran’s dwelling (single family unit), including a reasonable lot area, and personal effects suitable to and consistent with the claimant’s reasonable mode of life.
There are a number of other criteria that may affect your eligibility to pension benefits such as veterans who are in need of regular aid and attendance to manage normal daily activities, or who are in a care facility.
What can I do if I have been denied Veteran Benefits?
I have been told I do not qualify for benefits. Can Silver Census help me?
What sort of questions should I ask when choosing a Benefit Consultant?
How long have they been actively helping Veterans receive the non service connected pension?
How many cases have they successfully completed with award of benefits?
What is their percentage of success?
Can they coordinate VA benefits with Medicaid benefits?
How do they get paid (is it by selling you something)?
Do they work with you until benefits are received or do they pass you on to a third party?Back to top