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Blog Feature

By: Marissa Salvesen on June 2nd, 2017

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The Aid & Attendance Benefit: Is Your Aging Loved One Eligible?

assisted living | veterans | Aging & Caregiving

veteran-aidVeterans are willing to lay down their lives for their country, but many aging seniors are unaware of one aspect of the country’s attempt to give back.

If your aging loved one is eligible for a VA pension, he or she may also be entitled to the Aid & Attendance Program, which offers monthly benefits to help cover assisted living care costs to veterans and their surviving spouses.

About the Aid & Attendance Benefit

The Aid & Attendance Benefit (A&A) is a tax-free monthly monetary stipend toward assisted living care. If your aging loved one requires the help of another person for everyday activities, he or she may be eligible for this critical compensation.

This allowance is in addition to the standard monthly veteran’s pension and increases the overall pension amount. Income and asset cutoffs rise accordingly, so previously ineligible veterans may be eligible. The compensation is far from insignificant: in some cases, it can double the basic veteran’s pension.

Offered through the Department of Veteran Affairs, compensation is not limited to veterans with service-related injuries. Applicants need only have served at least one day of the 90-day minimum wartime service requirement.

Qualifying for A&A

At least one of the following conditions must be met in order to receive A&A as a supplement to the monthly pension amount:

  • The aid of another person is required for bathing, dressing, personal care, and/or other activities of daily living
  • Disabilities require that the applicant remain in bed
  • Mental or physical incapacity mandates residence in a nursing home
  • Limited vision per the specifications of the Department of Veteran Affairs

Applying for the Aid and Attendance Benefits

Applications are accepted in writing at the VA regional office where your loved one applied for pension benefits, or at any VA regional office in the case that jurisdiction is unknown. Copies of evidence are required, including a report from your loved one’s physician detailing the extent of injury, disease or impairment. The report should also include information about the applicant’s mobility and daily home life.

According to a 2012 New York Times article, very few living veterans are aware of the A&A benefit: of the 1.7 million eligible WWII vets still living in 2011, only a small fraction were granted the widely underused stipend due to lack of education about this entitlement. An attorney can help to explain the application process and describe in detail the different requirements that must be met in order to be eligible for the benefits. While the process can be lengthy, these benefits can provide quite a bit of help in covering costs and are worth investigating.

Key Takeaways

  • Your aging loved one may be eligible for the VA Aid & Attendance pension, a little known VA benefit.
  • Even if your loved one doesn’t qualify for the basic pension, he or she may still qualify for the A&A.
  • While the application process may be intensive, the potential benefits are significant.
  • Consider the help of an attorney when investigating VA benefits and working through the application process.
paying for assisted living

About Marissa Salvesen

My journey into the world of senior living began when I started working for United Methodist Homes in 2010. Starting as an Activities Director at one of our-winning assisted and independent living communities and then transitioning to Marketing and Promotions Manager for UMH, I now work as the Manager of Mission Development, fostering the Mission and Values of our organization. I love sharing stories about the many ways we build meaningful relationships and enrich the lives of those we serve, and am proud to be part of building UMH’s 140-year legacy of caring. Wondering what makes our communities such special places to live and work? Connect with me and find out!

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Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.