If you or a family member is a veteran, it may be worth your while to investigate the department of Veteran Affair’s often-overlooked Aid and Attendance Pension program. Those who qualify for an Aid and Attendance Pension can receive as much as $1,632 per month for a veteran, $1,055 per month for a surviving spouse, and $1,949 per month for a couple.
Aid and Attendance Pensions are available to veterans or surviving spouses who need assistance with activities of daily living, such as dressing, eating, bathing, cooking, using the bathroom and so on. The individual is not required to need assistance for all of these daily activities, but only to be unable to function independently and, therefore, to need some assistance every day. Also, the individual does not have to be living in an assisted living or nursing facility to qualify, but can be receiving assistance at home.
Those who don’t qualify for Aid and Attendance benefits but require some help with daily living may instead qualify for a Housebound Pension.
There are additional qualifications to receive an Aid and Attendance Pension related to, among other things, a veteran’s term of active military service, discharge status, assets and income. The veteran must have been in active military service for at least 90 days and at least one of those days must have been in wartime. Periods of war, as classified by Congress, can be found at www.veteranaid.org/Periods_of_War.
Although applying for an Aid and Attendance Pension is not difficult, it does require numerous documents related to military service and financial and physical status as detailed at www.veteranaid.org/apply. Therefore, if you think that you or a family member may qualify for this benefit or will in the future, you may be wise to start to gather the necessary documentation now. Also, you can get your claim into the Veteran Affairs’ system while you gather the documentation by filing a one page Statement in Support of Claim form as described at www.veteranaid.org/faq. You will need to return the full application along with all supporting documents within a year of filing the Statement of Support of Claim.
Kelly Greene, online.wsj.com, Family Value: A Hidden Benefit for Veterans
www.veteranaid.org, The Aid & Attendance Improved Benefit