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.