If you are a veteran, or a surviving spouse of one, you are entitled to a number of important benefits from the United States government. One benefits program that you may not know about is the Veterans Aid and Attendance program (VA&A). The VA&A program is intended to provide additional monetary assistance, above and beyond that provided by other VA programs such as the VA pension program. The additional assistance is intended to help cover the cost of someone to help you with daily tasks of living, such as dressing, bathing, or cooking. Those benefits may be able to help you remain in your home instead of needing to move to a long-term care facility. In this blog, we will explain how you qualify for VA&A benefits.
How Can You Qualify for VA&A?
As a veteran, or survivor, who is eligible for a VA pension you may qualify for Veteran’s Aid and Attendance benefits if you require the “aid and attendance” of another person on a regular basis.
To be eligible for VA&A benefits, the following must apply:
- You must be eligible for pension or, if you are a surviving spouse you must be eligible for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, or DIC.
- In addition, one of the following must apply:
- You require 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 yourself from the hazards of your daily environment.
- You are bedridden, in that your disability or disabilities requires that you remain in bed apart from any prescribed course of convalescence or treatment.
- You are a patient in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity
- Your eyesight is limited to a corrected 5/200 visual acuity or less in both eyes; or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less.
- You must be at least 65 or officially disabled if younger.
- If you are a veteran, you must be considered a “wartime veteran” meaning you served at least 90 days and served at least 1 day during the wartime dates below, but not necessarily in combat.
- World War II: Dec 7, 1941 – Dec 31, 1946
- Korean War: Jun 27, 1950 – Jan 31, 1955
- Vietnam War: Aug 5, 1964 – May 7, 1975 (or Feb 28, 1961 – May 7, 1975 for Veterans who served in Vietnam)
- Gulf War: Aug 2, 1990 – Undetermined
- You, or your spouse if applying as a survivor, cannot have been dishonorably discharged.
- You are not required to be disabled; however, a higher benefit is available to those who are disabled.
- If you are a surviving spouse, you must have been living with the veteran at the time of their death and must be single at time of claim.
- You must not exceed the current income limit which is subject to change each year.
Do You Qualify for Housebound Benefits?
Housebound benefits are similar to Aid and Attendance benefits but require a beneficiary to be substantially confined to his or her immediate premises because of a permanent disability. Typically, you will be required to provide supporting documentation, such as a report from your attending physician or a report from a long-term care facility, indicating that you suffer from a physical and/or mental impairment to the extent that you need assistance from someone outside your home to be able to complete these simple daily tasks.
What Is the Maximum VA&A Benefit?
The maximum benefit amount for Veterans Aid & Attendance is subject to change each year. For 2019, the following maximum benefit amounts apply:
- Veterans with no dependents:
- Basic pension income limit: $13,537
- Housebound income limit: $16,540
- Aid & Attendance Income Limit $22,577
- Veterans with a spouse or child:
- Basic pension income limit: $17,724
- Housebound income limit: $20,731
- Aid & Attendance Income Limit $26,765
- Surviving spouse or death pension:
- Basic pension income limit: $ 9,078
- Housebound income limit: $11,095
- Aid & Attendance Income Limit $14,529
Contact Veterans Benefits Attorneys
Please download our FREE estate planning checklist. If you have additional questions or concerns about how you qualify for Veterans Aid & Attendance benefits, contact us at the Northern California Center for Estate Planning & Elder Law to find out today by calling (916)-437-3500 or by filling out our online contact form.