Have you ever heard of the “Aid and Attendance Veteran’s Pension Benefit”?
I have recently posed this question to some elderly Veterans at a local “Senior Expo” here in Mesa. It was alarming to discover how many were completely unaware of this veteran’s pension benefit and what it was all about. We’ve all heard of the ‘Unknown Soldier”. I like to call this one the “Unknown Benefit”. The experience I had this week inspired me to write this blog for the men and women who gave so much to protect our country’s freedoms, to help them learn a little more about the “Unknown Benefit”.
What is Aid and Attendance?
Aid and Attendance is a veteran’s pension benefit specifically designed for those who served during wartime and today require the “aid and attendance’ of a caregiver to perform daily living activities. Those who are disabled, blind, etc. and/or currently living in a nursing home or assisted living in Arizona are likely the best candidates. If both husband and wife are veterans, the benefit can help reduce the overall cost of senior care, especially if they require the care and supervision found at senior housing options like assisted living or memory care.
How Do I Qualify for Aid and Attendance Veteran’s Pension Benefit?
According to www.veteranaid.org, you must submit an application and there are basic qualifications that must be met, both medically and financially.
“The application will require a medical evaluation from a physician, current medical issues, net worth limitations, and net income, along with out-of-pocket medical expenses.”
For the medical side, minimally, you must require assistance with activities of daily living (ADL’s) including but not limited to:
- Eating, etc.
Financially, the qualifications can be a little gray, but in general, your total assets must be less than $80,000, not counting the house and car. The benefit can be put towards monthly expenses for assisted living, in-home care or other medical and living expenses. Payments are made directly monthly like a social security by the U.S. Treasury Department.
How Do I Apply for Aids and Attendance?
As should be expected, the application process can be both a paperwork and bureaucratic nightmare. In most cases, the approval process can take 6-9 months with those over the age of 90 able to ask for their application to be expedited . Here are a couple links for printable forms to submit for wartime veterans who have served 90 days or more, and this link is for the surviving spouse of wartime veterans. Despite the lengthy process, the really good news is that when you are finally approved, your benefits are back paid retro-active to your application date.
How Much Can I Receive From This Benefit?
According to the latest information released concerning the 2017 rates for Aid and Attendance, the benefit for a wartime vet with a living spouse could be as much as $2,100/per month. A single, surviving spouse could receive as much as $1,100/per month to help with their on-going care needs.
Where Can I Get More Details about the Aid and Attendance Veterans Benefit?
There is a free, one-minute questionnaire available that is helpful if you are trying to figure out if you or a loved one may qualify. Visit www.veteranaid.org for more details on the application process and complete step-by-step instructions on how to apply for Aids and Attendance.
In honor of all living and deceased veterans who have fought for our freedom, I want to extend my hand and thank you for your service on this Veteran’s Day 2017. Thank you. It’s a privilege to give back where I can and assist our elderly vets and help their families learn more about the government benefits for veterans.