Currently, there are about 19 million veterans in the United States. These are persons who served in the US defense forces and retired or were discharged honorably. When making a veteran determination, the US government considers several factors, such as length of services, type of service, period of service, and conditions for discharge. If you consider yourself a veteran, you can apply for aid and attendance (A&A) benefits.
What Is Aid and Attendance Benefit?
The US Department of Veteran Affairs recognizes that most veterans are elderly or ailing and may have difficulties completing routine activities. Most of them live at home and need the help of a caregiver. Others live in assisted living facilities where they have to pay despite having no source of income. In this context, the government gives them monthly allowances on top of their pension benefits.
Do You Qualify for Aid and Attendance Benefit?
If you served on active duty for more than 90 consecutive days, you qualify for A&A benefits. Unlike the military retirement pay, you are only eligible for A&A if you have qualifying financial needs and you weren't discharged dishonorably. Other basic requirements include:
- Be over 65 years
- Have limited sources of income
- Have a permanent disability
- Be living at home but require assistance with daily activities
- Residing in a nursing home
- Receiving social security disability
- Receiving supplemental security income
If you were to pass away, your surviving spouse would receive Aid and Attendance benefits if they meet all the above qualifications.
What are the Clinical Requirements?
Besides the basic requirements, you must also meet all the clinical requirements, such as:
- You constantly need someone else to help perform daily activities, such as dressing, feeding, and bathing.
- You are bed-ridden for the better part of the day due to illness
- You have a physical or mental disability and require close medical monitoring.
- You have a severe visual impairment and have to wear glasses or contact lenses constantly.
What are The Income and Asset Limits?
For you to qualify for A&A, the government considers your net worth, including the value of your residence, personal effects, and automobile. Currently, the net worth limit is $123,600, including all your assets and income.
How Do You Apply for Aid and Attendance Benefits?
Applying for V&A is a complex process that requires assistance from an attorney or your pension management center (PMC). In such a case, you need to get a VA form, fill it and take it to your PMC. You can also apply in person and take the form to the nearby VA office. When completing the form, remember to attach available evidence, such as a doctor's report, to prove existing illness or disability.
If you consider yourself a veteran, you can apply for Aid and Attendance benefits and get additional monetary payment to complement your pension. However, be ready to prove active duty and financial and clinical eligibility.