Veterans Pension Benefits Aid & Attendance Benefits
One of the areas of our practice is assisting veterans, and their spouses obtain veterans pension benefits aid and attendance benefits that are available through the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Such VA benefits can provide financial support to help pay for long-term-care needs, including in-home care, to avoid the necessity of assisted living or skilled nursing care, and the associated cost of assisted living facilities and skilled nursing homes.
These benefits are often misunderstood and are greatly underutilized because most veterans are unaware of the veterans’ pension benefits aid & attendance, and the VA does not promote the availability of the benefits to eligible veterans, even though they have been available in some form since the Spanish-America War. In 1979, Congress substantially improved the level and availability of the veterans’ pension benefits aid & attendance benefits. With our training and experience working within the VA rules and regulations, tax law and trust law, we can help qualify many veterans, including you (even if the VA has already told you that you don’t qualify).
These benefits are not dependent on a service-connected disability or injury. They are not “compensation” for service-connected disabilities. All veterans over 65 years of age who have significant medical needs from any source are potentially eligible for these veterans’ benefits.
VA benefits are, in part, dependent on meeting the means testing required by VA pension benefits law. Some veterans require planning to meet the requirements to receive VA benefits. In some cases, a Veterans Asset Protection Trust can be established to ensure that the veteran meets the eligibility requirements for the veterans’ pension benefits aid & attendance.
We help veterans benefits planning for veterans and their families for the following veterans’ services:
- Assistance to veterans, their widows or widowers, and families with planning and qualifying for both the veterans’ pension benefits aid & attendance benefits
- Medicaid asset protection planning and other long-term care planning to provide in-home care, assisted living facilities or skilled nursing home care
What Are The VA Pension Benefits Qualification Requirements?
The veteran must:
- Have served at least one day on active duty during a war period.
- Have served 90 days consecutive active duty (24 months if service was after 1980) – or 90 days of active service during war periods.
- Have received a discharge that was better than dishonorable.
- Be over 65 years of age or 100% disabled.
The widow must:
- Have been married to the veteran at the time of the veteran’s death.
- Have been married to the veteran for at least 12 months, unless they had a child.
- Cannot have divorced the veteran (there are very limited exceptions).
- Cannot have remarried (there are some exceptions).
- The total amount of “countable assets” is limited to the amount that is reasonably expected to be utilized within the veteran or widow’s lifetime.
- There is no government regulation or rule that provides a specific limitation on the exact amount of “countable assets.”
- Allowable income, after authorized deductions, may not exceed the maximum pension provided for each veteran’s specific circumstances.
- The income after subtracting the un-reimbursed medical expenses of the veteran or the widow must be less than the maximum pension for that Veteran’s classification; un-reimbursed medical expenses include Medicare premiums and co-pays.
- All of the income of the veteran, and any dependent living with the veteran must be counted.
- All of the veteran’s family (spouse and dependent child) income from all sources must be counted.
There are three levels of VA Pension benefits:
– Basic Pension Benefits
– Housebound Pension Benefits
– Aid and Attendance Pension Benefits
– It is the lowest payment level among the various VA pension benefits.
– There are no medical need requirements to qualify for basic VA pension benefits.
There are medical needs requirements the veteran must meet to qualify for Housebound pension benefits or aid and attendance pension benefits.
The veteran must be over age 65 or if under 65, 100% disabled to qualify for any benefit.
Pension With Housebound:
– Higher pension benefits than Basic, but less than Aid and Attendance amounts
– Claimant must be housebound
– Is unable to drive an automobile
– Is unable to leave home without assistance from another person.
– There is no requirement that the veteran is totally disabled or have a disability rating.
Pension with Aid and Attendance:
– Highest pension amount provided for veterans who are not disabled as a result of a service-connected injury or disease.
– Requires that the veteran need the aid and attendance of another person to complete at least three of their activities of daily living (ADLs) (eating, dressing, toileting, bathing, mobility).
– Aid and Attendance benefit amount is based on the veteran’s health and medical condition.