The VA has several benefits for disabled veterans. A disabled veteran is a service member who became ill or were injured while serving on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training in the U.S. military. When a veteran’s disability is directly caused by their military service, it is called service connected.
Veterans with a service-connected disability may qualify for VA disability compensation, a monthly monetary benefit.
Both service-connected disabled veterans and veterans with non-service-connected health conditions may also qualify for Aid and Attendance, a special VA benefit that helps offset the cost of long-term care.
Aid and Attendance is a tax-free benefit that can be used for in-home care, board and care, an assisted living community, or a private-pay nursing home. Once the benefit is approved, the money is deposited each month directly into the claimant’s account.
The VA compensates veterans with physical or mental health conditions. The pay can range from $152.64 per month to over $3,000 per month depending on your rating. The pay is even higher for veterans with a spouse and/or dependents.
The application process involves a medical review to determine how your condition effects your ability to live and work. You are assigned a disability rating based on the seriousness of the condition.
In some cases, the VA simply presumes that a health condition was caused by military service, such as a chronic illness that appeared within one year after discharge (e.g. hypertension, arthritis, or diabetes), an illness caused by contact with toxic chemicals, hazardous materials, or an illness resulting from time spent as a prisoner of war or, after serving for 90 days you are diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease).
Veterans who are receiving disability compensation for their service-connected injuries or illness may also be eligible for Aid and Attendance, a special monthly compensation that can help pay for personal care. The amount of money you receive through the Aid and Attendance program will depend on the compensation you are already receiving for your service-connected disability.
Aid and Attendance for Disabled Vets
Aid and Attendance is an additional monetary benefit added to VA pension or disability compensation for veterans who need help with personal care either at home or in a care facility, including residential care home, assisted living facility or skilled nursing facility.
The requirements for Aid and Attendance pension include the veteran having served at least 90 days of active duty with at least one day during an eligible period of war, and an honorable or anything other than dishonorable discharge.
The wartime periods are:
- World War II: from December 7, 1941, to December 31, 1946
- Korean War: from June 27, 1950, to January 31, 1955
- Vietnam War: from November 1, 1955, to May 7, 1975, for Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam, and August 5, 1964, to May 7, 1975 for Veterans who served outside the Republic of Vietnam.
- Gulf War: from August 2, 1990, to a future date to be set by law or presidential proclamation
You can also qualify for Aid and Attendance if you:
- Started on active duty as an enlisted person after September 7, 1980 and served at least 24 months or the full period for which you were called or ordered to active duty with at least 1 day during wartime.
- Were an officer and started on active duty after October 16, 1981, and you hadn’t previously served on active duty for at least 24 months.
The veteran must also be 65 years of age or older, or totally disabled, or a patient in a nursing home or receiving Social Security Disability or SSI.
Daily Living Activities
To qualify for Aid and Attendance, the veteran or spouse must need help with some of the activities of daily living (ADL). There are 5 ADLs recognized by the VA:
Bathing – needs assistance with washing the body, getting in and out of a tub or shower, adjusting the shower head, changing the water temperature or stand-by assistance when the person is a fall risk.
Dressing – needs help dressing but can also include reminders to dress and picking out clothes.
Eating – cutting up food so it can be eaten or reminders to eat. It does not include cooking or meal preparation.
Toileting – help getting to the toilet, cleaning oneself or getting up from the toilet. Any assistance needed with incontinence.
Mobility – movement from one place to another, help getting in and out of a bed or chair, up and down stairs or in and out of a vehicle.
Benefit Amounts for Aid and Attendance Pension
Here are the maximum Aid and Attendance benefit amounts.
|Single Veteran||$2,050 monthly – $24,610 annually|
|Married Veteran||$2,431 monthly – $29,175 annually|
|Two Vets Married||$3,261 monthly – $39,036 annually|
Aid and Attendance for Surviving Spouses
VA disability compensation is only paid to veterans. The surviving spouse of a VA disabled veteran may qualify for a separate benefit called Disability Indemnity Compensation (DIC) if the veteran died in the line of duty or died from a service-connected illness or injury.
Both veterans and spouses can receive Aid and Attendance if they meet the benefit requirements and qualifications. The spouse must have been married to the veteran for at least a year, and at the time of the veteran’s passing, and not remarried. A surviving spouse must also need help with some of the activities of daily living. The veteran the spouse was married to must also have served 90 days of active duty with one day during a wartime period for VA pension eligibility.
The maximum Aid and Attendance pension benefit for a surviving spouse is $1,318 per month.
Getting an Aid and Attendance claim approved can be difficult due to the complexity of the paperwork. There are also strict financial guidelines that need to be followed. If you or a loved one need help paying for home care, adult day care, board and care, assisted living, or skilled nursing facility care, contact one of our Benefit Consultants at 877-427-8065 today to find out more about the claim process and what it takes to get a benefit approved or click here.