The Veterans’ Administration offers a Special Pension with Aid and Attendance (A&A) benefit that is largely unknown. This Special Pension allows for Veterans and surviving spouses who require the regular attendance of another person to assist in the activities of daily living, for example, eating, bathing, dressing, walking, toileting, etc. It also includes individuals who are blind or a patient in a nursing home because of mental or physical incapacity. Assisted care in an assisted living facility also qualifies, and in-home care can qualify depending on needs.
This important benefit is overlooked by many families who need additional funds to help care for ailing parents or loved ones. This is a “pension benefit” and is not dependent upon service-related injuries for compensation. Most Veterans who are in need of assistance qualify for this pension.
Aid and Attendance can help pay for care in the home, nursing home or assisted living facility. For 2012, a married Veteran is eligible for up to $2,019 per month, a single Veteran is eligible for a maximum of $1,703 per month, and a surviving spouse is eligible for up to $1,094 per month. There are increases each year for cost of living.
Qualifications are generally as follows:
(a) Veterans must have served 1 day during an active war, had no less then a 90 day service, and received an honorable discharge (or, more specifically, something other than a “dishonorable” discharge).
(b) Surviving spouses must still have been married to the veteran when the veteran passed.
(c) A doctors order insisting that the veteran (or surviving spouse) needs the aid and attendance of another person every day.
(d) For other than a service-connected disability, the veteran must have less than $80K in assets. However, the VA can set the amount wherever the claims officer determines is appropriate.
It is often difficult to predict how the VA will process the claim. Each case is unique and carries its own set of challenges. It generally takes between 4 to 6 months for the application to be processed. Fortunately, all benefits are retroactive to the original filing date, unless the veteran dies before approval.