Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefits
The Veterans Aid and Attendance Pension is administered by the Veterans Administration as an added benefit to our retired military personnel and spouses. The program, known as the A&A Pension, provides a monthly benefit to help veterans and surviving spouses that require assistance with the activities of daily living (ADL), such as bathing, cooking and eating.
The benefit currently provides up to $1,632 monthly to a veteran, $1,056 to a surviving spouse or $1,949 to a couple. There are three levels of the program:
- The highest level of benefits are awarded to those who require assistance with the activities of daily living;
- The mid tier of benefits are provided for those who are housebound, but not quite as limited in their ability to conduct normal daily activity; and
- The lowest level of benefits are provided for those who have ‘basic’ needs. With this level, once a veteran reaches the age of 65, the Veterans Administration considers and classifies them permanently and totally disabled regardless of their physical condition.
To be eligible for the Veterans A&A pension, veterans and/or spouses must:
- Have been a War-Time Veteran with 90 days of active duty. A “War-Time Veteran” is classified as having one day beginning or ending during a period of war. A surviving spouse may also apply.
- The veteran and/or spouse must meet medical and financial requirements.
- Medical requirements: Either must need the assistance of another individual to perform the activities of daily living. Those that are blind, in a nursing home or in an assisted living facility also qualify medically.
- Financial requirements: The applicant must have less than $80,000 in assets (bank accounts, stock, personal property, etc) NOT including their home or car.
The A&A Pension program does not provide benefits for those already receiving disability compensation from the Veterans Administration. While the normal approval process takes 6-9 months, priority is given to applicants age 70 and up in the application process.
Veterans should establish a comprehensive plan with an estate planning attorney to make the most of this valuable benefit in a comprehensive estate plan.