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VA Aid and Attendance – What is it? Who can get it?

Edited by Rory Clark

The VA Aid and Attendance benefit, which the Department of Veterans Affairs administers, is a non-service-connected pension benefit available to Veterans and spouses who require the assistance and attendance of another person to perform essential personal functions. This benefit is highly beneficial for Veterans and/or spouses residing in assisted living facilities.

The Veteran must meet both service and financial eligibility requirements to qualify for the Aid and Attendance benefit. If the applicant is the surviving spouse of a Veteran, both the deceased Veteran and the spouse must meet specific criteria.

The VA Aid & Attendance Benefit

The A&A program pays the following maximum, tax-free defined benefit every month and can help offset rising care costs.

Veteran/Veteran: $3,071 per month or $36,852 per year

Veteran/Spouse: $2,295 per month or $27,540 per year

Veteran alone: $1,936 per month or $23,232 per year

Spouse alone: $1,244 per month or $14,928 per year

+Dependents $198 per month or $2,382 per year

The benefit can be used to pay for home care, assisted living care, nursing home care, or other personal expenses of the Veteran or surviving spouse.

Eligibility Requirements for VA Aid and Attendance

There are three eligibility requirements for the program.

  • Service Eligibility – For the Veteran, this means 90 days on active duty (2 years after 1980), one day during “wartime,” and no dishonorable discharge. For the surviving spouse, this means that the deceased Veteran spouse was service eligible, and the surviving spouse was married to the Veteran for at least one year before the Veteran’s death.
  • Medical Eligibility – The Veteran or surviving spouse must be 65 years of age and need help to be safe.
  • Financial Eligibility – The program is intended to benefit Veterans and their surviving spouses who are spending all or most of their regular income on long-term care needs. In addition, there are “net worth” rules. Working with the Legacy Elder Law Center, our clients can shelter unlimited family wealth by initiating trust planning at least three years before filing an application for benefits. In 2021, an applicant can be eligible with a “net worth” of up to $130,773 PLUS a home and vehicles even without preplanning.

Does the VA Pension Change If One Spouse Passes?

The short answer is yes. You do have to notify the VA that a spouse has passed. The only change would be that the pension will now transition from the couple’s pension amount of $2,295 to $1,244 a month. So they would see a reduction in the benefit amount, but they would continue to receive their pension.

Does the VA Pension Change When A Widowed Veteran Remarries?

Unfortunately, they would not be eligible for the pension. If, for example, your mother would have remained a widow, yes. But since she remarried, she’s not eligible for the pension under your father’s name. But let’s say her second husband was a Veteran; they may be able to qualify under his name. The pension amount is the same; they need to get a copy of the DD214 to see if they served during a qualified wartime period.

Are VA Pension Benefits Available for Divorced Couples?

Unfortunately, they would not be eligible. Divorce eliminates any rights they may have had. As a result, divorced couples of veterans do not qualify for that benefit.

How Can We Help You?

We are committed to obtaining VA Aid & Attendance for Veterans and their surviving spouses. The Legacy Elder Law Center understands how difficult and time-consuming it can be. We can assist you in comprehending these benefits and determining whether this program is a good fit for you. Our skilled elder law attorneys can help you or a loved one navigate the process of preserving assets and obtaining high-quality long-term care. To schedule an appointment, contact us.

No Charge to Process Applications

The Legacy Elder Law Center never charges a fee to prepare, file, and prosecute a VA Aid & Attendance application for a qualified Veteran or surviving spouse.

About the author

Rory Clark

Rory has more than 30 years’ experience practicing elder law, estate planning, asset protection, Veteran’s affairs, and special needs planning. Through his personal journey, Rory not only understands the complex legal issues involved as a professional but also the intense emotional issues as a caregiver.