What is Aid & Attendance Benefit?
Many of America’s military veterans require help with everyday tasks or maintaining hygiene due to service-related disabilities, age, and more. Nearly a third of all veterans in Utah served in Vietnam, and another 15% served in the Gulf War. There are over 140,000 veterans in Utah alone, and many of them struggle to make financial ends meet with their limited pension payments.
However, there are additional benefits that veterans and their widowed spouses may be able to pursue.
The VA Aid & Attendance benefit is a special program that is often overlooked in favor of other Veterans Affairs benefits. Those who qualify may be able to take advantage of this unique program to increase their quality of life and maximize their income stability.
In a nutshell, Aid & Attendance is compensation available to certain qualifying war era veterans and surviving spouses who need assistance with everyday and/or hygienic tasks, such as bathing or getting dressed. The benefit is distributed as monthly payments that eligible veterans can use to pay for home assistance, such as nursing help or equipment. It may even be used towards assisted living, memory care, and nursing home care.
It is awarded in addition to one’s veteran pension. Aid & Attendance does not replace a veteran’s standard pension amount.
Who is Eligible for the Aid & Attendance Benefit?
Only certain veterans and spouses are eligible for Aid & Attendance. For starters, you must be eligible for a VA pension and meet at least one of the below requirements:
- You require the help of another person to perform daily activities, including but not limited to feeding, bathing, and dressing
- You must stay in bed or spend a large portion of your day in bed because of illness
- You are a patient in a nursing home because of the loss of physical or mental abilities related to a qualifying disability
- Your eyesight is limited, even with contact lenses or glasses. “Limited” means you have 5/200 vision or less in both eyes
- You have a qualifying and permanent disability that requires you to spend most of your time in your home
Not sure if you qualify for a veteran pension? You must meet at least one of the below criteria to qualify for the basic pension package:
- Be 65 or older with limited or no income
- Have a permanent and total disability
- Reside in a nursing home
- Receive Supplemental Security Income
- Receive Social Security Disability Insurance
Additionally, veterans must have qualifying wartime service experience to receive the Aid & Attendance benefit. Widowed spouses of eligible veterans automatically qualify if they meet the incoming clinical requirements and income limits above and have not remarried since.
How to Get the Aid & Attendance Benefit
Veterans and their widowed spouses can get this benefit by applying for VA Aid & Attendance on the Department of Veterans Affairs VA.gov website. Applicants must fill out a specific form and mail it to their state’s pension management center. If needed, your doctor can fill out the required information in the “examination information” section of the form. Alternatively, applicants can bring the completed form to a VA regional office.
Once the application is sent, the VA may take several weeks or months to come to a decision.
Does the Aid & Attendance Disqualify You from Other Benefits?
Yes. Veterans are not able to receive both Aid & Attendance and VA Disability compensation at the same time. Furthermore, you cannot benefit from the Aid & Attendance benefit if you already receive VA Housebound benefits.
As you can see, the Aid & Attendance benefit can be an important resource that veterans and their spouses should apply for if they need monetary assistance to pay for home nursing, special equipment, and more. Individuals with more questions should visit the VA Benefits website today or contact the VA Office for more information.
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