The Veteran’s Aid and Attendance Pension (“VA A&A” or the “Aid and Attendance Pension”) is a cash benefit paid (in addition to low-income pension) to qualifying wartime veterans or their widows who require long-term care and have non-service connected disabilities. Unfortunately, most Veterans and their widows are not aware of this valuable program.  Once qualified, many Veterans and widows are able to afford the quality long term care they need and deserve. 

This Pension benefit was created to provide qualified veterans and their surviving spouses with a tax-free pension benefit to help defray the cost of long-term care in assisted living facilities or at home. The VA A&A Pension benefit can make a big difference in affording an in-home caregiver in order to be able to stay at home, or to afford to live in an assisted living facility of their choice.

To qualify for this cash pension benefit, the Veteran or the Veteran’s widow must:

  • meet certain financial criteria (income and net worth), and 
  • must need help with activities of daily living (assisted living or at home but not skilled nursing care), and
  • have qualifying military service:  

    • served 90 days active duty, of which at least 1 day was during a defined conflict time-period, or 
    • is the widow of a veteran with qualifying service, and 
    • discharge from service must be anything other than dishonorable, 
  • the veteran or widow must not be able to work due to disability or age (65 or older). 

The 2021 VA A&A maximum benefit rates are as follows:

2 Veterans/Spouses $3,071 per month $36,852 annually
Married Veteran $2,295 per month $27,540 annually
Single Veteran $1,936 per month $23,232 annually
Surviving Spouse $1, 244 per month $14,928 annually

Case Study:  Gene is a single Korean War veteran. Gene has $100,000 in investments, a home, and a car. Gene had a stroke and needs help with his activities of daily living and wants to stay at home. His monthly income is $2,500.00 in Social Security. Gene’s daughter moved in to help, but she works full time and cannot afford to quit to be his caregiver. He has been paying $3,000.00 per month for 30 hours per week of home care but is concerned about affording more care in the future, especially since his other general living expenses are $1,200.00/month.  Gene comes in to see us. Once we run the numbers and review his DD-214 Military Service record and medical information it is clear he already meets the medical, income, and net worth eligibility criteria. Once approved for benefits, Gene now has $4,436.00 per month in income (Social Security and VA A&A), which is sufficient to cover his living expenses of $1,200 and home care expenses of $3,000.00, with a little more to spare each month. 

If you want more general information on frequently asked questions and eligibility criteria on the VA A&A Pension program you can check out our FAQs page.  However, you should always consult with an experienced elder law attorney regarding qualifying for or applying for VA A&A to ensure that any asset protection planning does not also jeopardize future eligibility for ALTCS benefits, in case of need. Call our office at 480-922-1010 or email info@bivenslaw.com to schedule your consultation. With years of experience in long term care planning, we can help guide you through the long-term care public benefits planning maze.