The Veterans Administration Aid & Attendance Pension benefit helps qualifying Veterans or their surviving spouse with the cost of long-term care expenses in assisted living, memory care or at home.  This is an income-tax free extra monthly payment added to the amount of a monthly VA pension for qualifying wartime veterans or their widows. The 2021 maximum A&A Pension amounts are as follows:

2 Veterans/Spouses         $3,071 per month

Married Veteran              $2,295 per month

Single Veteran                  $1,936 per month

Surviving Spouse              $1,244 per month

 

To qualify, there are three criteria:   

  1. Qualifying Military Service
  2. Medical Necessity
  3. Financial Eligibility- Income and Net Worth

 Qualifying Military Service

                The Veteran must have served at least one (1) day during a wartime period (see below) and have at least 90 days of continuous active military service with an honorable discharge.

War Time Periods:
World War II.   Dec. 7, 1941 – Dec. 31, 1946
Korean conflict.   June 27, 1950 – Jan. 31, 1955
Vietnam Era.   Feb. 28, 1961, to May 7, 1975, for Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period. Aug. 5, 1964, to May 7, 1975, for Veterans who served outside the Republic of Vietnam.

Persian Gulf War.   Aug. 2, 1990 – ongoing

 

Medical Necessity          

               Applicant must be 65 or older or have permanent or total disability, and have a non-service connected disability or medical condition such that:  

  1. Applicant requires the aid of another person in order to perform activities of daily living, such as bathing, feeding, dressing, continence, mobility, and grooming, or protecting himself/herself from the hazards of his/her daily environment; or
  2. Applicant is bedridden; or
  3. Applicant is a patient in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity; or
  4. Applicant is blind, or so nearly blind as to have corrected visual acuity of 5/200 or less in both eyes, and concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less.

 2021 Financial Eligibility

 1.  Net 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. Net annual income is the equivalent of the claimant and their dependent’s gross annual income, less all applicable deductible medical expenses*.

*If unreimbursed medical expenses (UME) exceed 5% of the maximum benefit amount, they can be deducted to reduce income. Typical examples include but are not limited to  non-reimbursable medical and long-term care expenses such as the cost of adult day care, assisted living or in-home medical care, health insurance premiums, medical co-pays and prescriptions.

 2. Net Worth

Net worth limit for claimant and their dependent, if any, is $130,778.00. Net worth is the value of the Veteran’s and dependent’s countable assets plus the annual net income.

Example: Single Veteran has $130,000 in assets and net annual income of $10,000. The total of $140,000 exceeds net worth limit of $130,778.00. Veteran is not eligible.

How Does VA calculate the A&A pension amount?

The monthly A&A pension benefit amount is calculated by deducting the monthly net income from the applicable maximum monthly A&A pension limit. The difference will be monthly A&A pension paid.

 

2021 Maximum Benefit Amounts

2 Veterans/Spouses $3,071 per month
Married Veteran $2,295 per month
Single Veteran $1,936 per month
Surviving Spouse $1,244 per month

 

Examples:

Single Veteran receives $1,500.00 per month in income, consisting of Social Security retirement and pension. He has $10,000.00 in savings, plus his home and car. He pays out-of-pocket for home health care, costing $2,000.00 per month. After deducting the $2,000.00 in medical expense from the $1,500.00 in income, his net monthly income is zero (no negative numbers). As such, he will receive the maximum amount of $1,936.00/month.

Married Veteran and his spouse receive combined incomes of $3,000.00 per month.  They have $50,000.00 in savings, a house, and a car. The Veteran’s out-of-pocket medical expenses total $2,000.00 per month. As such, the couple’s net income is $1,000.00. The VA will pay $1,295.00/month in A&A pension to increase the couple’s net income up to the married veteran A&A pension limit ($2,295.00/month).

How Do You Apply for A&A Pension Benefits?

The application process requires various VA forms and submission of many supporting documents. It is best to get help before your application is submitted. See www.va.gov/pension/how-to-apply for information on filing for VA pension with the extra A&A pension benefits.

How can we help you?

Applying for and qualifying for A&A pension can be confusing and time-consuming. We can help you understand these benefits and determine if this program is right for you. When it comes to paying for long term care using government benefits in Arizona, we can help you determine whether Medicaid (ALTCS), A&A Pension, or both programs should be pursued. In the process, our experienced elder law attorneys can chart a course to preserve assets and obtain quality long term care for you or your loved ones. Call today to schedule an appointment.

NOTE:       This is a basic general outline only. The information herein is effective 1/01/2021, and subject to change.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this document is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as offering legal advice or creating an attorney client relationship between the reader and the author. You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in this document without seeking appropriate legal advice about your individual facts and circumstances from an attorney licensed in your state. Bivens and Associates, P.L.L.C. expressly disclaims all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all information contained in this document.