We should all remember and be thankful for veterans throughout the year in the United States; however, we should also take a moment to say a special thank-you to all those who have served America on Veterans Day. As we celebrate Veterans Day this year we would also like to take the opportunity to inform Veterans and Surviving Spouse’s about a veteran’s benefit that many potentially eligible beneficiaries are unaware of – Veterans Aid and Attendance benefits.
Veterans, survivors, and dependents are eligible for a wide array of benefits and services as a result of the veteran’s service to the country. The type and extent of benefits available depends on a number of factors such as the length of service, service during time of war, and injury or disability. The Veterans Aid and Attendance program, or VAA, offers a monthly monetary benefit to eligible veterans and surviving spouses.
Eligibility for FAA benefits is generally based on a two-prong test. First, the applicant must be eligible for either pension or, in the case of a surviving spouse, to Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, or DIC. Second, the applicant must prove a need for assistance to complete common, every day, tasks such as getting dressed, eating, or taking a shower. A showing that the applicant is in a nursing home, is bedridden, or that his or her 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” will also suffice to pass the second prong. In addition, a similar program to the VAA program also offers benefits if you are “substantially confined to your immediate premises because of permanent disability.”
If your application to the VAA program is approved you will receive an additional financial benefit each month along with your pension or DIC payment. A surviving spouse, for example, could receive an extra $301 in addition to the $1,215 he or she receives in DIC benefits each month.
To find out if you are eligible for VAA benefits you need to write a letter to the regional VA office serving your area. Finding your local office can be accomplished on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website. In your correspondence you need to explain why you need the assistance and why you think you qualify for benefits. Include a doctor’s report is possible supporting your claim of injury or disability.
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