Practice Areas

Veterans Affairs

Edited by Rory Clark

The Best Veteran Benefit You Didn’t Even Know Existed

In addition to other more well-known Veteran’s benefit programs, like service-connected disability payments and health care benefits, the Department of Veterans Affairs (the “VA”) administers a program that pays tax-free cash benefits to older, wartime vets and their surviving spouses who need assistance because of the natural disabilities associated with aging. This program is called VA Aid & Attendance. Here is a concise summary of the benefit program.

The Aid & Attendance Benefit

The A&A program pays the following maximum, tax-free defined benefit on a monthly basis 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

There are three eligibility requirements for the program.

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  • 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 an application for benefits is filed. In 2021, even without preplanning, an applicant can be eligible with a “net worth” of up to $130,773 PLUS a home and vehicles.

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.

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