”Aid and attendance” is a commonly used term for a little-known veterans’ disability income. The official title of this benefit is “Pension.” The reason for using “aid and attendance” to refer to Pension is that many veterans or their single surviving spouses can become eligible if they have a regular need for the aid and attendance of a caregiver or if they are housebound. Evidence of this need for care must be certified by VA as a “rating.” With a rating, certain veterans or their surviving spouses can now qualify for Pension.
The purpose of this benefit is to provide supplemental income to disabled or older veterans who have a low income or high medical costs. Pension is for war veterans who have disabilities that are not connected to their active-duty service. Pension is primarily intended for very low income veterans, but a special provision in how Pension is calculated can allow veterans or single surviving spouses with high income to also receive the benefit which may be as much as $1, 949 a month. This special provision kicks in for veterans who have ongoing and expensive long term care costs.
Aid and Attendance Pension benefit can pay up to $1,949 a month for qualifying long term care needs such as:
- Family members who provide home care
- Professional home care providers to come into your home
- Assisted Living or Adult Day services
- Nursing Home long term care
- Home renovations for disability
- Prescription drug costs
- Insurance premiums
- Diabetic or incontinence supplies
- Other un-reimbursed medical expenses
If the veteran’s income exceeds the Pension amount, there is usually no award given, however, income can be adjusted for unreimbursed medical expenses, and this allows veterans with household incomes larger than the Pension amount to qualify for a monthly benefit. There is also an asset test to qualify for Pension.
If you have assets and a sizable income, you will most likely need and benefit from the services of a Veterans Benefits Consultant concerning what you need to do before you submit to the VA for an award. It is extremely important that assets that might be gifted or converted to income also meet Medicaid gifting rules in case the veteran or the surviving spouse may have to apply for Medicaid. The consultant can help avoid Medicaid penalties associated with reallocating assets.
Angela N. Manz is a veteran’s benefits consultant who understands the aid and attendance benefit as well as Medicaid rules. Angela N. Manz can be reached at 757-271-6275 or by going to www.manzlawfirm.com