Aid and Attendance is a Veteran’s Administration long-term care benefit. It is a reimbursement for care, including home care, residential care, and assisted living. A veteran or spouse applying for the VA Aid and Attendance benefit must need help with some of the activities of daily living (ADLs). These activities are essential tasks that are an indicator of a person’s ability or inability to take care of themselves. ADLs include transferring (mobility), bathing, dressing, toileting and eating.

When a Person Needs ADL Help

The VA recognizes five types of daily living activities. Here are examples of the kind of ADL assistance a person may need:

Transferring – helping someone move from one place to another, including getting in and out of a bed or chair, help up and down stairs, or in and out of a vehicle.

Dressing – help putting a person’s clothes on or taking them off; buttoning, zippering, or tying shoes.

Bathing –any type of bathing assistance, including helping a person get in and out of a tub or shower, adjusting the shower head or changing water temperature. When a person is considered a fall risk, having someone standing nearby in case help is needed is also a type of bathing assistance.

Eating – cutting up or pureeing a person’s food so it can be eaten. Making sure a person is eating nutritiously may also apply depending on the situation.

Toileting – help with any type of toilet hygiene. It includes getting to the toilet, getting up from the toilet and cleaning oneself. Any help needed with incontinence (lack of voluntary control over urination or defecation) also falls into this category.

When a person has memory loss, including Alzheimer’s or dementia, assistance with ADLs can also include reminders, such as reminders to bath, change clothes, or eat.

Medication management, transportation, meal preparation, housework and shopping are not considered activities of daily living. They fall under a different category called Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs). When a veteran or spouse only needs help with IADLs, they are not eligible for the Aid and Attendance benefit.

When filing a claim for Aid and Attendance, the veteran or spouse will need to provide evidence that they require help with at least two ADLs. Documenting the need for ADL assistance is an important part of an Aid and Attendance claim. If it isn’t done properly, the claim can be denied.

More About Standby Assistance

Help with daily living activities also includes standby assistance, which means someone is near the individual to help them if and when it is needed. A common example of standby assistance is being able and ready to catch someone if they start to fall. It can also apply to any help a person might need on an immediate basis with any of the five activities of daily living.

Assisted Living and ADLs

When a person transitions to assisted living, their care needs will be evaluated. This usually includes some type of assessment to determine the amount of help the person requires with ADLs and IADLs. Assisted living facilities typically provide various levels of care. In facilities with 3 levels of care, Level 1 is a low level of care, Level 2 is a moderate level of care and Level 3 is a high level of care.  

Level 1 in minimal assistance. The resident lives mostly independently with very little supervision. Level 2 care is for residents who need more help with ADLs and IADLs. For example, a person may be able to dress themselves, but has trouble bathing.  A resident who requires Level 3 care usually requires 24/7 assistance with most ADLs.

Aid and Attendance

The Aid and Attendance enhanced pension benefit is a tax-free long-term care benefit for veterans and spouses.

In addition to needing help with daily living activities, the veteran must have served at least 90 days of Active Duty with at least 1 day during an eligible period of war. These wartime periods have been established by Congress with very specific beginning and ending dates (excluding the Persian Gulf War).

These dates are:

World War II: From December 7, 1941 to December 31, 1946, inclusive. If the veteran was in service on December 31, 1946, continuous service before July 26, 1947, is considered World War II service.

Korean Conflict: From June 27, 1950, to January 31, 1955, inclusive.

Vietnam War era:  From November 1, 1955, to May 7, 1975, for veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period. From August 5, 1964, to May 7, 1975, for veterans who served outside the Republic of Vietnam.

Persian Gulf War: August 2, 1990, through date to be prescribed by Presidential proclamation or law.

The veteran must have also received an honorable, or anything other than dishonorable, military discharge.

A spouse must have been married to the veteran at the time of his or her passing and, except in very rate circumstances, never remarried.

The veteran must also be at least 65 years of age, or totally disabled. A spouse can be any age.

Paying for Long-term Care

The cost of any type of home or facility care can be extremely high. These days, home caregivers typically earn $25 to $30 per hour, while assisted living facilities range in price from $3,500 to over $6,000 per month.

Aid and Attendance is a monetary benefit that can help make a veteran’s or spouse’s long-term care more affordable.

Here are the maximum Aid and Attendance monthly pension benefit amounts:

Surviving Spouse$1,432 Monthly / $17,184 per year
Single Veteran$2,229 Monthly / $26,748 per year
Married Veteran$2,642 Monthly / $31,704 per year
Two Vets Married$3,536 Monthly / $42,432 per year

Other Aid and Attendance requirements

There are additional Aid and Attendance requirements pertaining to the veteran and/or spouse’s income and assets that you should be familiar with before applying for the benefit. Researching this information online can be difficult and confusing. The easiest way to find out if you or a loved one meet the VA’s Aid and Attendance financial criteria is to contact one of our Benefit Consultants at 877-427-8065 or click here.

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