The “Aid and Attendance Pension” is an improved pension benefit paid to certain wartime Veterans or their widows that can make a big difference in affording in-home care or assisted living. This Pension benefit was established in 1952 to provide qualified Veterans and their surviving spouses with a tax free pension benefit to help defray the cost of long-term care. Single Veterans may receive up to $1,732.00 per month, Married Veterans may receive up to $2,054.00 per month, and Widows may receive up to $1,113.00 per month.

Who is eligible for VA Aid & Attendance Pension benefits?

Veterans or their widows must meet three criteria to qualify:

  1. Qualifying military service
  2. Medical necessity
  3. Financial eligibility (net income and resource limits apply)

What is the qualifying Military Service?

Generally, the Veteran must have the following military service:

A. Veteran was discharged from service under conditions other than dishonorable,

AND

B. Veteran served at least 90 days of active military service, 1 day of which was during a wartime period.

What are the Medical Criteria?

A Veteran/widow age 65 or older, or if younger, permanently and totally disabled, may be eligible for A&A when:

A. The Veteran/widow requires the aid of another person in order to perform personal functions required in everyday living, such as bathing, feeding, dressing, attending to the wants of nature, adjusting prosthetic devices, or protecting himself/herself from the hazards of his/her daily environment, OR,

B. The Veteran/widow is bedridden, in that his/her disability or disabilities requires that he/she remain in bed apart from any prescribed course of convalescence or treatment, OR,

C. The Veteran/widow is a patient in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity, OR,

D. The Veteran/widow is blind, or so nearly blind as to have corrected visual acuity of 5/200 or less in both eyes, or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less.

What are the Financial Criteria?

A. Countable Income.

Income includes income received by the Veteran and his or her dependents, if any, from most sources. It includes earnings, disability and retirement payments, interest and dividends, and net income from farming or business.

B. Net Worth.

Net worth means the net value of the assets of the Veteran and his or her dependents. It includes such assets as bank accounts, stocks, bonds, mutual funds and any property other than the Veteran’s residence and a reasonable lot area. There is no set limit on how much net worth a Veteran and his or her dependents may have, but net worth cannot be “excessive”. The decision as to whether a claimant’s net worth is excessive depends on the facts of each individual case. All net worth should be reported and VA will determine if a claimant’s assets are sufficiently large that the claimant could live off these assets for a reasonable period of time.

How Does VA calculate the Aid & Attendance pension amount?

The annual A&A pension is calculated by first totaling all of the countable income. Then any allowable deductions are subtracted from that total. The remaining countable income is deducted from the appropriate annual A&A pension limit which is determined by the number of dependents, if any. This amount is then divided by 12 and rounded down to the nearest dollar. This gives the amount of the monthly payment.

If medical expenses exceed 5% of the maximum benefit amount, they can be deducted to reduce income. The expense for a state-licensed nursing home/assisted living facility is typically the most significant expense. Deductible expenses also include Medicare premiums (part B and/or D), in-home care (medical), hygienic supplies (Depends, etc.), adult daycare, and supplemental health care premiums. Expenses for the spouse (Veteran’s Pension) are also countable. If he or she is in a care facility, only the medical portion of the cost is a deduction, and the portion for room and board is not. In-home care that is medical in nature is also deductible, but housekeeping, laundry, cooking, and shopping assistance are not.

What are the 2013 Maximum Aid & Attendance Pension Benefit Amounts?

2 Veterans/Spouses $2,676.00 per month $32,123.00 annually
Married Veteran $2,054.00 per month $24,652.00 annually
Single Veteran $1,732.00 per month $20,795.00 annually
Surviving Spouse $1,113.00 per month $13,365.00 annually

Examples:

Single Veteran receives $2,500.00 per month in income, consisting of social security retirement and retirement pension. He has $10,000.00 in savings, plus his home and car. He pays for home health care, costing $2,000.00 per month, leaving no monthly income to pay for household or general living expenses. The Veteran is quickly exhausting his savings.

After deducting the $2,000.00 in medical expense from the $2,500.00 of income, his net monthly income is $500.00. Since he is a single Veteran, his monthly income per the VA should be $1,732.00. Thus, the VA will pay him $1,232.00 per month in A&A pension benefit to bring his net total monthly income up to $1,732.00. Now this Veteran has a total monthly income of $3,732.00 (Social Security, retirement pension, VA A&A pension), of which he pays $2,000.00 for home health and has $1,732.00 left for household and general living expenses each month.

Married Veteran and his spouse receive combined incomes of $3,000.00 per month consisting of social security and retirement pension. They have $50,000.00 in savings and a car. The Veteran’s medical expenses total $2,000.00 per month.   Aftert deducting the medical expenses of $2,000.00 the net income is $1,000.00.  Since a Married Veteran should be entitled to $2,054.00 per month, the VA will pay the difference of $1,054.00 per month in A&A pension benefit..

How can Bivens & Associates, P.L.L.C. assist you with Veterans Aid & Attendance pension benefits?

All attorneys at Bivens & Associates, P.L.L.C. are VA Accredited. We routinely assist clients in determining whether they meet all criteria for eligibility, and what steps, if any, are required to meet such criteria.