The Veterans' Administration offers a Special Pension with Aid and Attendance (A&A) benefit that is largely unknown. This Special Pension (part of the VA Improved Pension program) allows for Veterans and surviving spouses who require the regular attendance of another person to assist with bathing, dressing, meal preparation, medication monitoring or other various activities of daily living. This benefit is available to individuals who reside in assisted living communities, residential care homes, skilled nursing facilities and those receiving personal in-home care.
This is a "pension benefit" and is not dependent upon service-related injuries for compensation. Most Veterans who are in need of assistance qualify for this pension. Any War Veteran with 90 days of active duty with at least one day during active War time is eligible for this benefit. A surviving spouse of a War Veteran may be eligible if married at the time of death. The individual must qualify both medically and financially. Assets cannot exceed $80,000, however many things including their home, vehicle, annuities, pre-paid funeral expenses and many other items are not included in this number. A Veteran is eligible for up to $1,554 per month, while a surviving spouse is eligible for up to $998 per month. A couple is eligible for up to $1,842 per month. For further information regarding financial qualifications, consider seeking the professional advice of an attorney or financial planner.
There are two ways to apply for the Aid and Attendance benefit. There are some senior communities that will assist you in applying or refer you to a professional who will complete the documentation for you. You may also apply by contacting your Regional Veteran's Administration Office. To locate the closest regional office to you, visit the VA web site.
Once you apply, the average processing time is about 3-6 months depending upon the accuracy of the initial application. However, the VA does pay retroactively from the date of application. The resident is paid directly from the VA. This program financially assists the resident with paying their monthly rent, care and/or services.
The Aid and Attendance Benefit is considered to be the third tier of a VA program called Improved Pension. The other two tiers are Basic and Housebound. Each tier has its own level of benefits and qualifications. While the objective of this site is to disseminate information about the Aid and Attendance Benefit, we urge you to read an important document prepared by the American Veterans Institute that clearly explains the Improved Pension program, its levels of benefits and the qualifications for each. If you or your loved one does not qualify for Aid and Attendance, you may want to check to see if you qualify for another level of the Pension.
For more information about this benefit, please contact your local Veteran's Administration office.