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Veteran’s Aid and Attendance Pension

Friday, July 17, 2015

Veteran’s Aid & Attendance Pension

As we celebrate our month of independence this July it is important to reflect on those who have helped to preserve the freedom we hold close to our hearts as United States citizens. Our military men and women have fought for and protected our country and they deserve our thanks and help, and the Veterans Aid and Attendance Pension is a great place to start! With so many war veterans over the age of 65, and their spouses, many know little or nothing about the availability of the Aid & Attendance (A&A) pension through the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA).  With more than 1/3 of Americans that are wartime veterans, many families could benefit from available assistance to help pay for care that they or their loved one needs.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR AID & ATTENDANCE PENSION?

According to California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR) A pension is a benefit that the VA pays to wartime veterans who have limited or no income and who are at least 65 years old or, if under 65, are permanently or completely disabled. There are also "Death Pensions," which are needs based for a surviving spouse of a deceased wartime veteran who has not remarried.

What are the Service Requirements for Aid and Attendance?

A veteran or the veteran's surviving spouse may be eligible if the veteran:

-              Was discharged from a branch of the United States Armed Forces under conditions that were not dishonorable AND

-              Served at least one day (did not have to be served in combat) during the following wartime periods and had 90 days of continuous military service:

World War I: April 6, 1917, through November 11, 1918

World War II: December 7, 1941, through December 31, 1946

Korean War: June 27, 1950, through January 31, 1955

Vietnam War: August 5, 1964 (February 28, 1961, for veterans who served "in country" before August 5, 1964), through May 7, 1975

Persian Gulf War: August 2, 1990, through a date to be set by Presidential Proclamation or Law.

If the veteran entered active duty after September 7, 1980, generally he/she must have served at least 24 months or the full period for which called or ordered to active duty (there are exceptions to this rule).

Three Tiers of the VA's Improved Pension

There are three tiers of VA benefits for older wartime veterans and their dependents. Basic Pension can be considered the first tier, Housebound the second tier, and Aid and Attendance the third tier. Award amounts increase as the tier increases, and the tiers are based on the needs of the applicant:

Basic Pension: Basic Pension is designed to function as cash assistance for low income veterans and their dependents, so applicants may be healthy, but must have a very low income.

Housebound Benefit: For the second tier, Housebound, assistance with day to day activities must be needed "regular basis."

Aid and Attendance: Assistance must be required on a "daily basis."

Financial Eligibility

Assistance from the VA is "means tested," which means that only people who seem to genuinely need these benefits will receive an award. It also means that benefits are determined based on the applicant's income, assets, and needs. 

Applicants whose countable incomes are over maximum thresholds, including their homes, may still qualify, depending on their age and the amount of their monthly allowable medical benefit. In situations that are borderline, it can't hurt to apply, as decisions are largely made on a case-by-case basis:

This countable income formula can help you determine what is an allowable medical deduction, and how to arrive at what the VA is determining as "countable income."

The following chart includes the set yearly income rate/annual pension Aid and Attendance limit set by Congress; it also includes the maximum monthly benefit:

Aid and Attendance Maximum Annual Pension 
Rate (MAPR) Category

If you are a…

Basic Pension MAPR

5% of Basic Pension MAPR

(The amount you subtract from
medical expenses…)

Annual Aid and Attendance Pension Rate

Your yearly income must be less than…

Single Veteran

$12,868
($1,072 per month)

$643

$21,466
($1,788 per month)

Veteran with Spouse/
Dependent

$16,851
($1,404 per month)

$842

$25,448
($2,120 per month)

Two Veterans Married to 
Each Other

$16,851
($1,404 per month)

$842

$34,050
($2837 per month)

Surviving Spouse

$8,630
($719 per month)

$431

$13,794
($1,149 per month)

Surviving Spouse with 
One Dependent

$11,296
($941 per month)

$564

$16,456
($1,371 per month)

CANHR.org

If you believe you or a family member may qualify for the Veterans Aid & Attendance Pension, please call A Senior Connection at 916-208-3338 and we will be happy to see if we can help you to get the benefits owed to you or your loved one.

A SENIOR CONNECTION

We specialize in helping families with Assisted Living, Residential Home Placement and In-Home Care Services.

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