Understanding Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefits

Jun 8, 2021
Veteran Benefits

If you are a veteran or married to one, it is vital that you understand the many benefits that potentially come along with your status. For veterans that qualify, Aid and Attendance can enhance the pension that you received from the US government and help you manage health care expenses. Both veterans and surviving spouses are eligible for Aid and Attendance.

There are many advantages of applying for this particular benefit. Key among them is that this benefit is tax-free and is more flexible than Medicaid benefits. For instance, you may use this money to pay for long-term care in a nursing home, assisted living facility or in home living assistance. In order to qualify, the veteran or spouse in question must meet the service requirements, demonstrate medical need for the assistance and pass an income assessment. 

What are the service requirements? 

In order to qualify for Aid and Attendance, the veteran must have spent at least 90 consecutive days in the armed forces, with one of those days being during specific conflicts. The specific conflicts include World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Persian Gulf War. 

On top of serving during one of the qualifying conflicts, there are other requirements. For instance, the armed forces must have discharged the veteran with any status that is not dishonorable. However, the veteran doesn’t need to have been in actual combat. Additionally, as referenced prior, the veteran only has to have served for a single day in one of the required conflicts. Military service outside of the required conflicts can also count. 

What are the medical need requirements? 

In order for the veteran or the spouse to qualify for Aid and Attendance, one of the following 4 medical statements must be true about the veteran or spouse. 

  1. The veteran or spouse needs another person to assist him or her with everyday tasks, like bathing, toileting, eating or dressing. 
  2. The veteran or spouse must stay in bed for the majority of the day due to either disability or illness.
  3. The veteran or spouse is in a nursing home and requires care and monitoring due to a disability or illness.
  4. The veteran or spouse suffers from limited eyesight. The VA defines “limited eyesight” as having 5/200 or less in both eyes, even with the assistance of glasses or contact lenses.

What are the income requirements? 

The Department of Veterans Affairs does not calculate income in the same way that other government entities do. The first step when attempting to qualify for Aid and Attendance involves the VA taking a look at all of your income. Then, the VA will remove any unreimbursed medical expenses. These expenses include in-home care giving, assisted living expenses, paying an adult child to be a caregiver, insurance premiums and potentially other situations. In the event that the VA finds that your medical expenses are greater than 105% of your income, you can get the maximum amount from Aid and Attendance. If your medical expenses do not hit the 105% threshold, you may be eligible for partial benefits. 

If you want to apply for Aid and Attendance or believe that the VA wrongfully denied you, contact us at AmeriEstate to learn more.