Understanding Veterans’ Benefits:
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has two special programs that provide eligible veterans, their spouses or surviving spouses with supplemental income that can help cover the costs associated with long-term care: Aid and Attendance Benefits and Housebound Allowance.
Aid and Attendance Benefits
The Aid and Attendance benefit is a monthly pension benefit. It helps pay for long-term care services in a senior living community that provides assistance with the activities of daily living such as bathing, grooming, eating and medication management in an assisted living community, memory care community, or a private-pay nursing home. Those living in an independent living community community may be able to use the benefit if the community meets specific requirements.
“The pension can be used to offset the cost of long-term care and make senior living more affordable than ever.”
– Mali Covington, Patriot Angels
This tax-free VA benefit provides veterans with monthly payments on top of their monthly VA pension. The amount of the Aid and Attendance benefit increases every year at the same percentage as Social Security.
The 2024 maximum monthly benefit for those qualifying for the Aid and Attendance level of pension is:
- Surviving Spouse of a Veteran: $1,478
- Veteran with no Spouse or dependent children: $2,300
- Married couple where the Veteran requires care: $2,727
- Veteran married to a veteran: $3,649
- Veteran is healthy but Spouse requires care, Veteran qualifies
for Income Improvement Pension: $1,806
Aid and Attendance Eligibility
Veterans must have served at least 90 days of active duty, and one of those days must have been during a declared war including World War II, The Korean War, the Vietnam War and Persian Gulf War.
The veteran or surviving spouse must also meet an income requirement. Countable income can include income from pension payments, and interest and dividends from investments. The VA also considers assets and expenses when determining eligibility.
Other criteria includes:
- The veteran must be 65 or over, or 100% disabled before the age of 65. Surviving spouses can be any age.
- The widow or widower of a veteran must have been married to them for 1 year before they passed and not be remarried.
- The veteran must have received a general, honorable or medical discharge.
- The veteran must meet medical criteria that demonstrates they need the aid of another person to perform the activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing or cognitive care.
Housebound Allowance for Veterans
Housebound is an increased monthly pension amount. Permanently disabled veterans who are mostly confined to their homes may be eligible. Veterans may qualify for this increased benefit if:
- They are permanently disabled and have a medical need for supervision.
- They are unable to leave their home or senior community due to disability.
- They meet medical criteria that demonstrates they need the aid of another person to perform the activities of daily living.
Aid and Attendance and Housebound Allowance benefits cannot be received at the same time. More on Aid and Attendance benefits.
Help is Available
Navigating the VA system and its paperwork can be overwhelming – especially for people with disabilities. But there are organizations, such as Patriot Angels, who specialize in helping veterans apply for these benefits.
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