The aid and attendance benefit is a non-service connected disability pension benefit. The aid and attendance part of this pension benefit is an entitlement if the veteran is home bound and requires the assistance of another individual for his or her activities of daily living.
Aid and Attendance Explained
If a veteran served ninety days of active duty with just one day during an officially recognized time of war and meets the below mentioned criteria, he or she may be eligible to receive this aid and attendance benefit:
- The veteran was discharged with other than dishonorable circumstances. (This is normal)
- The veteran served active duty in the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines or Coast Guard. (Ocean-going Merchant Marines qualify during WWII; National Guard does not count unless they were called to active duty during Gulf I and Gulf II)
- The veteran is housebound. (This basically means he or she is no longer able to drive and the doctor indicates in writing that he or she should no longer be driving a motor vehicle. That includes motorized golf carts)
- The veteran looking for the aid and attendance entitlement has a disability not related to his or her active duty which requires the need of another individual to assist with this activity. The most common ones are assistance with dressing, attending to the needs of nature, grooming, bathing, transferring into or out of bed or a chair. (They just need one of these. In addition, people who suffer with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, severe arthritis, or are blind will meet this medical requirement. The doctor will need to issue a written evaluation to these activity requirements.)
- The veteran and any dependents (spouse, disabled children living at home) must have total liquid assets of less than around $80,000. Liquid includes checking, savings, certificates of deposit, stocks, bonds, money markets, etc. For aid and attendance applications the VA claims they have no established threshold for determining when assets are too great to be eligible. Common practice for the past decade has been to have those assets be below $80,000. (The primary home does not count in the total assets. However, a rental home or vacation home net worth will count towards this amount. Additionally, it appears that in 2013 the VA will institute a 3 year look back on asset transfers to help cut down on financial planners and attorneys manipulation of excess assets to make wealthy veterans who can pay for their own care, qualify for this tax-payer funded benefit.
If the veteran meets all the above criteria then they should be eligible to receive the aid and attendance benefit from the VA.
How much the VA will pay them under the aid and attendance benefit is determined by another calculation.
Aid and Attendance Benefit Calculation
The VA allows the veteran to receive a maximum benefit as follows:
- Veteran with dependent (usually a spouse) $2,020 per month
- Veteran living alone $1,1704 per month
- Widowed un-remarried surviving spouse of a veteran $1,094 per month
To determine how much you can receive is a simple math equation.
- Take the total household income from Social Security, Retirement benefits plus interest and dividends.
- Subtract from this total household income the amount you pay for supplemental health insurance premiums, long-term care insurance premiums, doctor office visit co-payments, prescription drug out-of-pocket expense and the cost of any home health care, oxygen, diabetic supplies or assisted living facility costs.
- The remaining amount is called the “countable household income” by the VA.
- You subtract this “countable household income” from the maximum benefit amount listed above. (If the “countable household income” is negative you don’t need to do step 4 as you will be eligible for the full maximum benefit amount listed above.
- The difference between the maximum aid and attendance benefit listed above and the “countable household income” is the amount of aid and attendance benefit the VA will send you every month.
Do you qualify for the aid and attendance benefit?
If yes, you should get the Aid and Attendance Handbook – Click Here
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