The Veterans Aid and Attendance Pension is a widely unknown benefit offered to veterans. It is meant for veterans or surviving spouses who need assistance at home. This assistance could be around-the-clock or sporadic, but it is necessary for the veteran to be able to function in daily activities, such as eating, grooming, and taking medications. The benefits are not reserved for veterans who live at home - those who live in an assisted living home are also eligible. The benefit is rather helpful, as up to $1,788 is offered to veterans and up to $1,149 is offered to surviving spouses who qualify. Understanding how to apply can help make a great financial difference in the lives of those qualified to receive these benefits.

Medical Qualifications

Recipients must qualify both medically and financially for Veterans' aid and attendance benefits. Medically, a veteran or a surviving spouse must prove the need for assistance with the tasks necessary to live on a day-to-day basis at home. Those who live in an assisted living residence or a nursing home could qualify as well. Adequate proof of inability to care for one's self can be determined by a physician's evaluation and written proof of the person's medical conditions.

Financial Qualifications

In order to qualify for the aid from a financial perspective, the following documents will have to be provided to the Veterans office:

  • Discharge papers showing the reason for discharge
  • Certificate of marriage
  • For a surviving spouse, the death certificate of the veteran
  • Proof of any Social Security being received
  • Proof of any assets
  • Adequate proof of any income outside of Social Security benefits
  • Proof of insurance payments
  • List of all medical expenses
  • List of all bank accounts

Filling out the Paperwork

The application to apply for the aid is VA Form 21-527EZ. The application can be downloaded directly from the VA. The application must be completed in its entirety and all required documentation included. The more information provided to the VA, the quicker the application can be approved. Typically, it can take up to 10 months for the process to be fully completed.

Some of the most important information to include, which may affect how high priority an application becomes, may include:

  • The nature of the disease and/or injury that caused the veteran or spouse of a veteran to need further financial benefits.
  • The issues that it has caused, whether they are physical, mental, or both. As many details as possible should be provided in order to avoid a lot of back and forth with the VA during processing. This should include details such as inability to dress one's self, inability to go to the bathroom without help, etc.
  • Proof of how difficult it is for the veteran or spouse to get around physically. Details of where and how the person currently gets around, whether he or she goes anywhere or is stranded at home because of the inability to get around without help should be noted.

The idea behind the Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefits is to provide beneficiaries with some assistance in paying for medical needs above and beyond the standard medical needs of a veteran. The injury and/or illness does not have to be caused by war or any other veteran-related activities - they can be completely separate. The only requirement is that the person was a veteran for at least 90 days with at least one of those days being during a war period. A surviving spouse must have been married to the veteran during the veteran's time in the military in order to be eligible.

The ability to receive this benefit is rather high, but many veterans overlook this benefit or simply do not know about it. The application process can be long and even overwhelming, but it is worth it in the end. In fact, many assisted living facilities are aware of the benefit and of who would and would not qualify for it. This gives them the leeway to allow certain veterans into the facility even without the ability to pay for the services because they know the Veterans Aid and Attendance pension will be available within the year.

Anyone who needs help applying for this aid can always go to a local VA office and request assistance. It is not worth overlooking the benefits this pension can offer, especially if a person is struggling to pay for care. Financial aid is available as a "Thank you for service to our country."

Sources

Senior Veterans Service Alliance. What Is the Veterans Aid & Attendance Pension Benefit? Available at http://www.veteransaidbenefit.org/veterans_aid_attendance_pension_benefit_explained.htm Accessed on July 3, 2016.

VeteranAid.org. How to Apply for Aid and Attendance. Available at http://www.veteranaid.org/apply.php Accessed on July 3, 2016.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Pension. Available at http://www.benefits.va.gov/pension/aid_attendance_housebound.asp Accessed on July 3, 2016.

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