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The VA Aid & Attendance Benefit – Don’t take No for an Answer

The VA Aid & Attendance Benefit – Don’t take No for an Answer
The VA Aid & Attendance Benefit – Don’t take No for an Answer
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Veterans are a valuable asset to our nation; they gave of their time, talents and physical abilities to defend our nation. And they deserve the best rewards for their service.

The senior population has a HIGH percentage of Veterans in need of the VA Aid & Attendance Benefit. But the process to receive the benefits can be overwhelming and time consuming.

Veterans and survivors who are eligible for a VA pension and require the aid and attendance of another person, or are housebound, may be eligible for additional monetary payment. These benefits are paid in addition to monthly pension, and they are not paid without eligibility to Pension.


Who is eligible for the VA Aid & Attendance Benefit?

  • You require 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 yourself from the hazards of your daily environment
  • You are bedridden, in that your disability or disabilities requires that you remain in bed apart from any prescribed course of convalescence or treatment
  • You are a patient in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity
  • Your eyesight is limited to a corrected 5/200 visual acuity or less in both eyes; or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less

What are the requirements for the Veteran (and un-remarried surviving spouse) to apply for the VA Aid & Attendance Benefit?

  1. Served at least one day of active duty during a period of war
  2. Served at least 90 days in total on active duty for our WWII, Korea or Vietnam War veterans
  3. Were other than dishonorably discharged
  4. Now need the assistance of another person
  5. Meet certain financial requirements

The full award amounts for 2014 are the following:

  • $1,130 for Surviving Spouse
  • $1,360 for a Well Veteran with an Ill Spouse
  • $1,785 for a Veteran and
  • $2,085 for a Married Veteran where the veteran needs care

The VA Pension Benefit – Don’t take No for an Answer

No is a word that represents FINAL. But is it really? Maybe it is an option to question the decision.

Did you know that qualifying for the VA Aid & Attendance Benefit is not a simple “Yes” or “No” answer and that there is no qualifying asset amount established by the VA? This benefit is actually an “If” and “When” award and each applicant has a unique qualifying asset amount.

Of the five criteria, 1, 2 & 3 are a YES or NO response, but for 4 & 5, it is an IF and WHEN response. If and When opens the door to a possible YES.

Asset is another word that holds great POWER in the decision of the VA. Assets can change from month to month. And Asset is a close partner with the word TIMING. Many veterans and surviving spouses are told they have too much in assets but are NOT told when their assets will be in compliance.

Questions to consider when the Veteran receives the NO response…

  • Is it because they have too much in assets? If yes, they should have been told when, given their current medical expenses, their assets will no longer be a barrier. Often, if they are working with a company interested in moving assets, they may not have been told that simply by waiting a few months their assets will be reduced enough for them to receive the benefit.
  • Is it because they are independent with activities of daily living? If yes, let them know, and make a note in their file, that if and when they need care services, they need to file for the VA benefit.
  • Is it because their income minus their assisted living fee resulted in a positive number? If yes, perhaps they were working with someone who doesn’t understand partial, Housebound or Basic Pensions

Patty Servaes from ERBC – Guest Blogger & SLS Partner

When a Veteran or Surviving Spouse is receiving less than the full amount, ask if they received information on claiming all out of pocket medical expenses from the VA at year-end. A resident receiving $250 per month who can recoup an additional $2,000 to $10,000 a year or more needs to know how to do it! Thousands of dollars a year are lost to residents who don’t understand they can have the VA reimburse them for out-of-pocket medical expenses such as eyeglasses, prescriptions, and incontinence supplies if they are receiving less than the full Pension award.

Yes, No, If and When – four words that can change the life of a Veteran (and un-remarried surviving spouse) regarding their need for Aid & Attendance.

The VA Aid & Attendance Benefit – Don’t take No for an Answer.

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