If you are one of the brave men or women who has served our country in the Armed Forces, or you are a surviving spouse of one, you probably already realize that you are entitled to a number of veteran’s benefits as a result of that service. Most people are aware of the benefits such as low-interest mortgage loans, educational benefits, and low-cost health care services. There is another benefit program, however, that is less well known but that might be of great help to you. Known as the Veteran’s Aid & Attendance, or VA&A, program, it provides yet another avenue of assistance to veteran’s who need it. To ensure that you are aware of the program and your potential eligibility, the Kirkwood elder law attorneys explain VA&A benefits and application procedures.
What Does the VA&A Program Do?
The Veteran’s Aid & Attendance program is intended to provide additional monetary assistance above and beyond that provided by the VA pension program. The additional assistance is aimed at helping veterans who need help with daily tasks of living, such as dressing, bathing, or cooking by providing the financial resources to hire someone to help.
Who Is Eligible for VA&A Benefits?
You may qualify for Veteran’s Aid and Attendance benefits if you are a veteran, or survivor, who is eligible for a VA pension and you require the “aid and attendance” of another person on a regular basis. If you are housebound you may also be eligible for monetary benefits each month.
To be eligible for VA&A benefits, the following must apply:
- You must be eligible for pension or, if you are a surviving spouse you must be eligible for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, or DIC.
- One of the following requirements must be met:
- You require the aid of another person in order to perform personal functions required in everyday living, such as bathing, feeding, dressing, attending to the wants of nature, adjusting prosthetic devices, or protecting yourself from the hazards of your daily environment.
- You are bedridden, in that your disability or disabilities requires that you remain in bed apart from any prescribed course of convalescence or treatment.
- You are a patient in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity
- Your eyesight is limited to a corrected 5/200 visual acuity or less in both eyes; or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less.
- You must be at least 65 or officially disabled if younger.
- Veterans must be considered “wartime veterans” meaning they served at least 90 days and served at least 1 day during the wartime dates below, but not necessarily in combat.
- World War II: Dec 7, 1941 – Dec 31, 1946
- Korean War: Jun 27, 1950 – Jan 31, 1955
- Vietnam War: Aug 5, 1964 – May 7, 1975 (or Feb 28, 1961 – May 7, 1975 for Veterans who served in Vietnam)
- Gulf War: Aug 2, 1990 – Undetermined
- You, or your spouse, cannot have been dishonorably discharged.
- You are not required to be disabled; however, a higher benefit is available to those who are
- If you are a surviving spouse, you must have been living with the veteran at the time of their death and must be single at time of claim.
- You must also not exceed the current income limit which is subject to change each year.
Who Is Eligible for Housebound Benefits?
Another benefit that is similar to the VA&A benefit is the “Housebound” benefit. To be eligible for Housebound benefits, you must be substantially confined to your immediate premises because of a permanent disability. Be prepared to provide supporting documentation, such as a report from your attending physician or a report from a long-term care facility (LTC), indicating that you suffer from a physical and/or mental impairment to the extent that you are confined to your immediate premises and you need assistance from someone outside your home, or the LTC facility, to be able to complete the simple daily tasks of living.
How Do I Find Out If I Am Eligible for Benefits?
The best way to find out if you are eligible for VA&A benefits or housebound benefits is to follow the instructions on the VA website. If you feel you have been wrongly denied benefits, consult with your Kirkwood veterans benefits attorney right away.
Contact Kirkwood Elder Law Attorneys
If you have additional questions or concerns, please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar, or contact the experienced Kirkwood elder law attorneys at Amen, Gantner & Capriano, Your Estate Matters, LLC by calling (314) 966-8077 to schedule an appointment.