Only a fraction of eligible veteran Americans over 65, and their spouses, know about the availability of the Aid & Attendance (A&A) pension through the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). With more than one third of Americans that are wartime veterans, many families could be benefitting from available assistance to help pay for quality care. Learn more about the A&A pension, including who is eligible and why it matters.
Veterans Aid & Attendance
The VA assists U.S. Veterans and their families by providing supplemental income through pension benefit programs. The pensions are available to U.S. military veterans and surviving spouses. Veterans and widowed spouses who require the aid and attendance of another person may be eligible for additional pension benefits for care assistance in the home or in an assisted living community. The Aid & Attendance pension is available to honorably discharged wartime veterans with 90 days of active duty, and their surviving spouses.
In order to qualify for A&A, your physician needs to establish that you require daily assistance with tasks such as dressing, undressing, bathing, cooking, eating and others. The A&A pension can provide significant financial support to a veteran or surviving spouse in the following amounts:
- Up to $1,758 per month to a veteran
- Up to $1,130 per month to a surviving spouse
- Up to $2,085 per month to a couple
- Up to $1,380 per month to a veteran filing with a sick spouse
The Veterans A&A Improved Pension Webinar
A Place for Mom’s Regional Director, Sue Johansen, and Founder of VeteranAid.org, Debbie Burak, co-hosted a recent webinar to discuss the A&A pension program and answer attendee’s questions about veteran benefits. Johansen is an expert in senior care, and has assisted hundreds of families in navigating the senior living process and providing valuable resources to seniors.
Burak established VeteranAid.org, a nationally ranked website and respected resource, on November 20, 2005. She is an advocate for veterans, a media spokesperson, and Burak’s personal experience with the benefit application process, further adds to her expertise.
We invite you to watch the following webinar to gain further information on this valuable financial resource available to eligible veterans and surviving spouses.
Your Questions Answered
The following are your top five questions about veteran benefits from the Veterans Aid & Attendance Improved Pension webinar, answered by VA expert, Debbie Burak.
1.What types of senior living communities qualify for benefits?
The key factor is the need for help with Activities of Daily Livings (ADL’s). Help can be delivered via home care, an assisted living community, a nursing home, etc. Independent living situations do not always qualify, although if the senior is receiving onsite homecare they may qualify.
2. If benefits are declined, do they give you a reason and can you appeal it?
You will receive a detailed explanation of the denial. You don’t ever want to appeal. Instead, file a form that allows you to provide additional information.
3. Do VA benefits for care apply to family members who are caring for the senior? For example, someone who’s left the work force to care for the senior?
No they do not. If a family member is acting as the caregiver, then the applicant needs to be paying the family member the same as they would any non-family caregiver. It is up to the family member to claim the income on their taxes just as you would any other source of income.
4. Do you need to be living in an assisted living facility in order to apply?
Any care facility or home care service is eligible if the veteran needs help with Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s).
5. I found someone who will help expedite the paperwork, but he charges $600. Is that legal?
No one can legally charge a veteran or their spouse for completing or expediting VA pension paperwork.
More Veterans Information and Resources
We invite you to visit the VeteranAid.org and A Place for Mom websites, which offer additional information and resources regarding the Veterans Aid & Attendance Improved Pension and other topics related to senior living. The “Guide to VA Benefits and Long-Term Care” is a recommended resource.
Additionally, if you have an aging loved one who is ready to move into assisted living, A Place for Mom’s Senior Living Advisors are locally available across the U.S. to assist families.
Honor a Veteran
A Place for Mom has created the Wall of Honor to pay tribute to the men and women who served our country. Please take a moment to view the collection of photos and stories already contributed. You are invited to honor a loved one who is a veteran by adding your own submission. Submissions can be made at any time and process is easy. Learn more here.
Do you have further questions about the Veterans Aid & Attendance pension program or about veteran benefits in general? Share your questions with us in the comments below.