Wartime veterans, as well as their surviving spouses, may be entitled to the Aid and Attendance Pension provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs. This is a tax-free, monthly benefit which provides financial assistance to those 65 years and older, who are in need of assistance because of blindness, or need the help of another person to perform two or more activities of daily living, such as bathing, toileting, dressing, eating, walking and transferring. This benefit can be very helpful for anyone needing in-home care, or care in an assisted living facility or a skilled nursing facility.
To be eligible for the Aid and Attendance Pension, a Veteran must meet the following requirements:
- Must have served at least 90 days of active military, naval or air service, having a minimum of one day during an active war-time period. If service began after September 7, 1980, 24 months of active service is required.
- Must have been discharged from service under other than dishonorable status.
- Must meet age or disability criteria. A veteran must be 65 years or older or totally disabled.
- Must meet asset and income requirements as outlined below.
- Must require regular assistance of another person to perform daily activities.
Asset and Income Requirements
Eligibility for the Aid and Attendance Pension is also determined by Net Worth. Assets, such as Bank Accounts, CD’s, Trusts, Stocks, Bonds, Annuities, and Real Estate other than a residence, are countable for Net Worth. Assets which are not included in the Net Worth amount include the home in which one resides, household furnishings, clothing and vehicle.
Effective October 18, 2018, the VA has established new rules and guidelines for the Aid and Attendance Pension. Up until this date, the VA has not had a look back period, such as the one used by Medicaid. There is now a three-year look back period, during which time assets cannot be transferred for the purpose of qualifying for the Aid and Attendance Pension.
The VA now has a ceiling asset limit. The amount of allowable assets in 2018 is $123,600.
The VA also looks at monthly income, which should be less than the monthly expenses. Monthly Income includes Wages, Social Security Benefits, Pensions, IRA and Mutual Fund Distributions, Dividends and Interest payments. Monthly expenses which are countable include Health Care expenses, in-home care and assisted living costs, health insurance premiums and some unreimbursed medical expenses, such as prescriptions, dental costs, hearing aids and batteries, doctor’s fees, incontinence supplies and vaccines.
There are two other pensions that a Veteran may qualify for:
Basic Pension This is a tax-free, needs-based benefit for low income Veterans. It helps veterans and their families cope with financial challenges by providing supplemental income. This benefit does not require a physical disability.
Housebound Pension This is a tax-free pension for a Veteran or surviving spouse, who is permanently disabled and substantially confined to their home.
Pension Rates – 2018
This is the maximum allowable amount per month.
Basic: $1,097 No Dependents
$1,436 With Spouse or Child
Spouse Housebound: $1,340 No Dependents
$1,680 With Spouse or Child
$899 Surviving Spouse
Aid and Attendance: $1,830 No Dependents
$2,169 With Spouse or Child
$1,176 Surviving Spouse
World War I: Apr. 6, 1917–Nov. 11, 1918
World War II: Dec. 7, 1941–Dec. 31, 1946
Korean Conflict: June 27, 1950–Jan. 31, 1955
Vietnam Era: Aug. 5, 1964–May 7, 1975
(Feb. 28, 1961–Aug. 4, 1964 for veterans who
served in the Republic of Vietnam)
Persian Gulf War: Aug. 2, 1990–TBA
Veteran Benefits Checklist
The VA requires certain documents to be included with the VA Pension Application. The only original documents needed are the Military Discharge Papers.
• ORIGINAL Military Discharge/Separation Papers (DD-214). If needed, Military Records can be requested through www.archives.gov.
• Copy of Marriage Certificate (For all marriages)
• Copy of Death Certificate (For surviving spouses)
• Driver’s License or ID card
• Social Security Card
• Medicare Card
• Health Insurance Card
• Proof of Health Insurance Premiums (Include medical expenses not paid by Insurance or Medicare)
• Current Social Security Benefits Letter
• Proof of Income–This includes Pensions, Interest, IRA and Mutual Funds Distributions, Annuities, etc.
• Net Worth Information–This includes Bank Accounts, Trusts, Stocks, Bonds, Annuities, CD’s, etc.
• Banking Information for Direct Deposit of Monthly Payments (Include a voided check)
• Previous Year’s Tax Return (if applicable)
• Employment History (If you are under the age of 65)
• Guardianship or Conservatorship Certified Letters (If you are a court-appointed guardian)
• Physician Statement (VA Form 21-2680) This should include current diagnosis, medical status, prognosis, ability to care for oneself, etc.
• Attendant Affidavit
• Physicians Protected Environment Statement (If applicable)
• Facility Services Questionnaire (If applicable)