Officially known as “The Improved Pension Benefit,” but commonly referred to as “Aid and Attendance,” this benefit is available to veterans who served at least 90 days of active duty, one of which was during a defined wartime period. The benefit is also available to the widows of an eligible veteran.
The benefit is NOT for veterans who are healthy or for veterans who have substantial means at their disposal. To qualify for this benefit, there are income and resource limitations in addition to medical conditions that must be met. The basic requirements that must be met in order to be considered eligible for Aid and Attendance include:
The veteran must serve at least 90 continuous days of active duty service, one of which is during a defined wartime period.
If over 65, no proof of disability is needed. If under 65, the veteran must prove “permanent and total disability which is not service-connected. In addition, the impairment must be reasonably certain to continue throughout the veteran’s lifetime.
Veteran's discharge must be better than "dishonorable."
A veteran's net worth will be reviewed to determine whether or not the benefit is necessary. The VA takes into account the following:
- Veteran's age and life expectancy
- Present medical condition
- Marital status and the spouse's assets
- Number of dependents
- Cost of living expenses
The VA measures a person's net income after subtracting all unreimbursed medical expenses (UME). Mortgage payments or rent do not qualify as UME.
Common unreimbursed medical expenses include:
- Skilled nursing care provided in a Nursing Home or Assisted Living
- In-home nursing care by a Home Health Agency
- Family assistance with bathing, dressing, eating, medication, etc.
- Premiums or for health insurance and long-term care insurance
- Prescription drug cost
- Cost of disposable goods, such as syringes and adult diapers
Many veterans and widows meet the requirements for the Aid & Attendance or Housebound benefit and continue to own a vehicle and home. Some veterans choose to reduce their assets and control by either gifting assets to family or transferring them to a trust. An attorney or financial planner can help you understand the difference between an exempt asset and a non-exempt asset.
Example: Tom is a 80 year-old veteran who has a mortgage of $100,000, a CD of $150,000 and an old Buick. He would be denied the VA benefit because his asset – the CD – would push him over the threshold. If Tom were to redeem his bank certificate of deposit, pay-off his mortgage and trade in his Buick for a new model, he would qualify.
- NO for Independent Living
- YES for Assisted Living
- YES for Memory Care
- YES for Nursing Home (Alabama has four state run VA nursing homes)
$1,360 per month – is the benefit for a veteran with one dependent (a spouse for example). If the veteran suffers from a medical condition they might receive a greater monthly pension.
Many veterans and widows meet all the requirements for benefits. For additional information, click here.
For more information on pension, please click here.
Some information is form an article written By William G. Nolan / The Alabama Lawyer Magazine November 2014 / Volume 74 / No. 6
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides many helpful resources, including the downloadable PDF documents below: