If you’re a veteran or a surviving spouse, you might be missing out on tens of thousands of dollars in benefit payments to help you pay for assisted living, home care, or skilled nursing! It’s called the Veterans Aid and Attendance (A&A) benefit, and it’s possibly the VA’s best kept secret.
What is Aid and Attendance?
The Veterans Aid and Attendance Program is a program through the Department of Veterans Affairs which supplies additional monthly payments – above the normal VA pension amount – to qualifying veterans who require the aid and attendance of another person to complete activities of daily living.
This can include activities like bathing, feeding, dressing, toileting, or managing your medication – many of the things that caregivers at Assisted Living communities help residents with every day. Many people find that the extra help they get from Assisted Living actually allows them to live more independently and with less worry! A&A benefits can also be used to pay for In-Home Care, Memory Care, and Skilled Nursing Care.
How much money are we talking about?
In 2019, a single veteran can receive up to about $1,800 a month and a veteran with a spouse or dependent up to about $2,200. A surviving spouse can get a monthly payment of up to about $1,200.
How do I know if I qualify for Aid and Attendance?
Generally, to receive the A&A benefit, you must already be eligible for the normal VA pension, which includes:
- Wartime Service:You must have served at least 90 days of active duty, with at least one of those days during active wartime (see the VA’s website for specific dates). You do not have had to have served in actual combat; a desk job stateside would still allow you to qualify. You must also not have been dishonorably discharged.
- Income Qualification: The VA will look at your total monthly income – including Social Security, pensions, and IRAs – and compare it to the annual pension limit set by Congress. But if you’re worried that your monthly income is too high to qualify, you might be in luck. The good news is, the cost of your unreimbursed recurring medical expenses can be subtracted from your monthly income. That means the fees you pay for home care, assisted living, or a nursing home may not count against you.
To receive the additional A&A benefits, at least one of these statements must also be true in addition to the requirements above:
- You need another person to help you perform daily activities, like bathing, feeding, and dressing, or
- You have to stay in bed—or spend a large portion of the day in bed—because of illness, or
- You are a patient in a nursing home due to the loss of mental or physical abilities related to a disability, or
- Your eyesight is limited (even with glasses or contact lenses you have only 5/200 or less in both eyes; or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less).
Where do I even begin?
It can take six to eight months on average to have your application approved, but some applicants wait for more than a year. So don’t delay!
The application process may seem daunting, but help is available to walk you through the process. Contact our care navigation team at Providence Solutions and we’ll help you get the benefits you’ve earned! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at (708) 342-8090.