The Veterans Aid and Attendance Program is a VA long-term care benefit for veterans and spouses who need help with daily living activities.  The program has been around for a long time but is not very well known. In fact, it is one of the VA’s most underutilized benefits.

Home care, assisted living and other types of long-term care can be very expensive.  In 2021, the average cost for homemaker services was $26 an hour, and $27 for home health aides. These rates are almost 11% to 13% higher than the previous year and continuing to increase.  The average cost of an assisted living facility (private, one bedroom) has also gone up to $4,500 per month.

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The good news is that Aid and Attendance can help veterans and spouses pay for the care that they need.  It’s a way of offsetting the expense of home or facility care if you don’t have enough income.

Here is a breakdown of the maximum monthly pension benefit amounts:

Surviving Spouse$1,318 Monthly / $15,816 per year
Single Veteran$2,050 Monthly / $24,610 per year
Married Veteran$2,431 Monthly / $29,175 per year
Two Vets Married$3,261 Monthly / $39,036 per year

To apply for the benefit, the veteran must have served during wartime. This is a key requirement that opens the door to being able to submit an Aid and Attendance pension application.

The eligible wartime periods are specific dates approved by Congress for World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam Conflict and Gulf War. 

For World War II, the period starts on December 7, 1941, and ends on December 31, 1946. If the veteran was still on active duty after December 31, 1946, until July 26, 1947, it is also considered wartime service. There are approximately 240,000 still alive in 2022.

The Korean War period begins on June 27, 1950 and continues until January 31, 1955.

For the Vietnam war era, there are two different periods. The early period starts on November 1, 1955, and goes to May 7, 1975, for Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that time, or on a ship off the coast. For Vietnam veterans who served outside the Republic of Vietnam, the eligible wartime period is from August 5, 1964, to May 7, 1975.

Gulf War veterans can also qualify for the benefit if they entered service on August 2, 1990. Right now, there is no ending date for this wartime period. Eventually it will be established by law or presidential proclamation.

Another military service requirement is that the veteran received an honorable or anything other than dishonorable discharge.

An important document that will be needed to show proof of the veteran’s discharge status and when he or she served, is a military DD Form 214 (DD-214). The initials DD stand for U.S. Department of Defense, and 214 is the form number.

DD-214s were first issued in 1950. An earlier version of this document was called “Report of Separation from Active Duty.”

A DD214 is a verified, complete record of a veteran’s U.S. military service. It includes information on when and how long the veteran served in Active and Reserve duty, highest rank and pay grade held, awards and metals and other important military service data.

DD214s are stored at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC). On July 12, 1973, a fire at the NPRC destroyed 16-18 million Army and Air Force military records. After the fire, the NPRC worked to salvage as many records as possible. They also began collecting auxiliary records to reconstruct missing information.

Another qualification for the VA Aid and Attendance Program is that the veteran needs help with activities of daily living (ADL). These tasks are considered basic living skills, such as dressing, bathing, ambulating, feeding and toileting. A common misconception is that ADLs also include transportation, meal preparation and medication management. These are instrumental ADLs, not ADLs.

The VA will look at the veteran’s financial condition as well, including income and assets. The income requirements can be easily misunderstood, with many people incorrectly concluding their Social Security and pensions are too high to qualify. Net worth criteria can also be confusing. For example, many people incorrectly count their home as an asset, even though it is exempt.

The best way to find out if you meet the VA’s financial qualifications is to speak to a Benefit Consultant who can go over your particular situation and explain in more detail how their financial regulations work. Call 877-427-8065 today to get all of your VA Aid and Attendance Program questions answered.

If you are a surviving spouse seeking Aid and Attendance benefits, you will need to meet the same financial requirements as the veteran. The surviving spouse must also have been married to the veteran for at least one year and married to the veteran when he or she passed and never remarried.

In addition to paying for home and assisted living facility care, the benefit can also be used to cover the cost of adult day care, board and care homes and a skilled nursing facility.

Community centers for seniors with disabilities are called adult day care. Most adult day care facilities specialize in a specific type of medical condition, such as dementia. The center provides activities and meals for individuals who still live at home.

A board and care home is similar to an assisted living facility but not as big. It is a permanent residence for individuals who can no longer liver on their own. Board and care homes provide meals and activities, as well as help with ADLs.

A skilled nursing facility is a care facility for individuals who need medical assistance in addition to help with daily living tasks. Skilled nursing facilities are staffed with registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and certified nursing assistants.

The Veterans Aid and Attendance Program can help veterans and spouses off-set the cost of personal care. Contact us today at 877-427-8065 or click here to find out more about how the benefit and claim process works.

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