For qualifying veterans, Aid and Attendance is an enhancement to Veterans pension. This benefit can pay a Veteran and a surviving spouse cash every month. The cash is tax free and unlike Medicaid benefits, may be used in any way, including paying for long-term care in a nursing home, assisted living facility, or care at home. The maximum benefits for 2017 include:
- $2,122 per month for a married Veteran
- $1,794 per month for a single Veteran or the current spouse of a Veteran
- $1,153 per month for a Surviving Spouse
- $2,846 per month for two Veterans
However, before the Veteran, their Spouse, or Surviving Spouse receives any benefits, they must first meet the eligibility requirements:
- Service Requirements
- Medical Need
- Income Assessment
- Asset Requirement
- If the Veteran or Surviving Spouse Does Not Qualify
The Veteran must have served during a period of declared wartime*, served a minimum period of time, and been discharged with a status of anything other than dishonorable.
For the service requirement, the Veteran must have served ninety (90) consecutive days. One of those days must have been during one (1) of the following times:
- World War I: April 6, 1917 through November 11, 1918
- World War II: December 7, 1941 through December 31, 1946
- Korean War: June 27, 1950 through January 31, 1955
- Vietnam War: August 5, 1964 through May 7, 1975
*beginning time extended to February 28, 1961 for a Veteran who served in country before August 5, 1964. The term "in country" means that the Veteran must have served within the boundaries (including inland waterways) of the Republic of Vietnam. Veteran's who for example served on a ship offshore, or pilots who flew missions over Vietnam but were based offshore or in a different country, are not generally considered to have served "in country" during this "pre-war" period.
- Persian Gulf War: August 2, 1990 through Present
The Veteran does not need to have been in actual combat. The Veteran only needs to have served for one (1) day during the dates mentioned above.
The Veteran or Surviving Spouse must have a medical need that requires the aid and attendance of another to perform activities of daily living. A doctor will need to certify that the Veteran or Surviving Spouse does, in fact, need the assistance of another. The Veteran will also have to demonstrate that resources are being spent for this assistance.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) calculates income in an odd way. First, the VA will look at all of your income. It will then subtract any unreimbursed medical expenses from your income. Unreimbursed medical expenses can include in-home caregiving expenses, assisted living expenses, insurance premiums, paying an adult child to be a caregiver, among others. The Veteran will receive the maximum benefit amount if the medical expenses exceed 105% of income, otherwise, a smaller amount will be granted. Every Veteran’s situation is different and a detailed analysis is needed to determine income qualifications.
The VA also looks at the veteran's or their spouse's or surviving spouse's assets to determine the need for this cash benefit. Assets include all bank accounts, brokerage accounts, etc. However, the asset limitation does not include the veteran's or the surviving spouse's primary residence.
The VA eligibility worker has wide discretion in determining the asset requirement for each case. For a married veteran, $80,000 and below seems to be the amount that the eligibility worker has discretion over to approve an application. An application with more than $80,000 in assets is likely to be reviewed by the VA eligibility reviewer’s supervisor for approval. For a single veteran or a surviving spouse of a veteran, $40,000 and below seems to be the amount that the eligibility worker has discretion over to approve an application.
If the Veteran or Surviving Spouse Does Not Qualify
If the veteran or surviving spouse does not currently qualify for Veterans Pension with Aid and Attendance due to the income requirement or asset requirement, AmeriEstate's elder law attorneys can help. There are proven strategies we can implement to qualify and obtain these cash benefits.
Call (800) 235-0963 to schedule your initial consultation call. Let our elder law case managers discuss your care needs and your situation as it relates to the qualification requirements. Once we conduct an initial assessment, our expert Veterans Affairs Accredited attorneys can navigate you through the process.