Aid and Attendance is a VA benefit for veterans and spouses who need home or facility care. To receive the pension benefit, you must meet various Aid and Attendance qualifications regarding military service, marital status, care needs, income and assets.
The history of veterans benefits dates back to 1636, when the pilgrims of Plymouth Colony provided support to disabled soldiers who defended the colony. During the Revolutionary War, disabled soldiers were given pensions. By the 1800s, military benefits were being provided to soldiers as well as their widows and dependents.
A new veterans benefits system was implemented by Congress during World War I with programs that included monetary compensation, vocational rehabilitation and insurance for veterans who were injured during wartime. The Veterans Administration (VA) was established in 1930.
Currently the VA is organized into three administrative areas: Veterans Health Administration (VHA), Veterans Benefit Administration (VBA) and National Cemetery Administration (NCA).
The Aid and Attendance benefit program is managed by the VBA. Detailed information about the benefit and how it works, including qualifications, can be found in Title 38 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The Code contains the permanent regulations published in the Federal Registrar by the various executive departments and agencies of the U.S. federal government. The Federal Registrar is a daily publication of proposed and final administrative rules for federal agencies.
Wartime Service Qualification
One of the man requirements for the Aid and Attendance pension benefit is that the veteran served at least 90 days of active duty, with at least one day during a wartime period established by Congress.
If you are a World War II veteran, you must have served from December 7, 1941 to December 31, 1946. WWII service also includes the period from January 1, 1947 to July 26, 1947.
Korean War veterans are eligible if they served from June 27, 1950 to January 31, 1955.
You can also qualify for the benefit if you served during the Vietnam Conflict from November 1, 1955, to May 7, 1975 (in the Republic of Vietnam) and August 5, 1964, to May 7, 1975 for anyone serving outside of the republic.
Anyone who served in the Gulf War beginning on aught 2, 1990 may be eligible for this benefit as well.
Discharge Status Qualification
In addition to wartime service the veteran must have received an other than dishonorable discharge. When a person is discharged from the military, they are released from their obligation to serve. There are different types of discharges, such as honorable discharge, general discharge and other than honorable discharge.
A person who received a dishonorable discharge is the considered the highest level of punishment. It is for actions that are considered inexcusable, such as murder, manslaughter, sexual assault and desertion. A dishonorable discharge prevents you from receiving a pension and can make you ineligible for other benefits and services such as education, health care, disability compensation and home loans.
If you received an other than honorable, bad conduct or dishonorable discharge, you may still qualify for the Aid and attendance benefit by applying for a discharge upgrade.
Aid and Attendance applications must include a certified copy of the DD Form 214. This document is used as proof of a veteran’s military service and discharge status. You can order the DD214 from the National Archives, but it may be faster to pay for a DD214 expediting service to retrieve the information.
The Aid and Attendance benefit also has age requirements. A veteran must be 65 years of age or older, or totally disabled, or a patient in a nursing home, or getting Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income. A spouse can be any age.
Need of Care Qualification
The Aid and Attendance benefit is a reimbursement for care, which means the veteran or spouse must be paying for care before a claim can be filed. The care must include assistance with some of the activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, dressing, mobility, toileting and eating. Claims that do not show proof of the applicant needing help with ADLs will be denied.
A veteran or spouse can receive care at home or in a care facility. The care can also be provided at an adult day care, residential care facility (board and care) and skilled nursing facility.
Because you do not have to be licensed to provide ADL assistance, family members and friends can be hired by the veteran or spouse to provide home care. There are also caregiving agencies that provide in-home care. The average cost of hiring a caregiver from an agency is $25 to $30 per hour. There are no VA requirements regarding how much you must a caregiver.
An assisted living facility is a long-term care community for veterans and spouses who can no longer live independently. Residence can receive ADL help at an assisted living facility, along with other services such as meals, housekeeping, laundry and recreation and social programs. Some facilities specialize in certain types of care, such as memory loss and Parkinson’s.
Assisted Living Facilities usually range in price from $3,500 to $4,500 or more depending on the type of care the person needs. Northeastern states typically have the highest cost of care compared to the rest of the country.
The VA has various financial requirements that you will need to know about before applying for the benefit. Online information regarding pension income and assets rules can be confusing due to all the VA’s financial regulations.
To get accurate data on Aid and Attendance income and asset criteria, call one of our Benefit Consultants today at 877-427-8065 or click here. It’s also a great way to get pre-qualified for the benefit.