In this Part, we will explore the disability test.
As previously discussed, if a veteran became disabled while serving the country during his or her military service, he or she will likely be eligible for a disability benefit under the VA’s Compensation program, which, unlike the Pension program, is not means tested.
To receive a VA pension benefit. however, the veteran must establish his disability in one of two ways.
First, a veteran can show that a permanent and totally disabling non-service related disability that is reasonably expected to continue indefinitely. This obviously involves the presentation of medical information and/or tests.
Second, older veterans and their surviving spouses can establish a disability status by proof of being age 65 or older.
To obtain the additional benefits under the House Bound and Aid and Attendance benefit, more proof is required.
The House Bound benefit is essentially a benefit for “shut ins”, i.e., persons primarily confined to their homes on a permanent basis. Although, it does not require that the individual be unable to leave the home, persons who regularly drive to a store, church or a doctor’s office would probably not qualify.
For the Aid and Attendance benefit, there are several ways to meet the test. There is a presumption of disability for certain ailments such as blindness or near blindness and for persons confined to a nursing home.
For others, they must make a showing that they need the “aid and attendance” of another. These can be shown by evidence of the need for assistance in performing the normal acts of daily living such as ambulating, dressing, bathing, feeding, toileting, etc. Those who have been admitted to an assisted living facility for these above reasons will likely meet this test.
Next, we will focus on the financial tests.
WARNING: This Primer series is for educational purposes only and is only a general discussion of the topics. It is not a substitute for personalized legal advice based upon one’s individual circumstances and goals. For such advice, seek the counsel of an experienced and qualified elder law attorney accredited to practice before the VA.