VA Aid & Attendance
This most important benefit is overlooked by many families with Veterans or surviving spouses who need additional funds to help care for ailing parents or loved ones. This is a “Pension Benefit” and IS NOT dependent upon service-related injuries for compensation. Aid and Attendance can help pay for care in the home, Nursing Home or Assisted Living facility. A Veteran is eligible for up to $1,788 per month, while a surviving spouse is eligible for up to $1,149 per month. A Veteran with a Spouse is eligible for up to $2,120 per month and a Veteran with a Sick Spouse is eligible for up to $1,406 per month*.
The household income of the veteran or the surviving spouse cannot exceed the Maximum Allowable Pension Rate (MAPR) for that category of application. (We list 9 categories of pension income amounts in the section on how pension is calculated.) As an example, using rates for 2014, a husband and spouse with no medical rating cannot have a combined income of more than $1,381 a month or $16,569 a year from all sources. As another example, a single surviving spouse with an “aid and attendance” medical rating cannot make more than $1,149 a month or $13,562 a year from all sources. The household income can be reduced to meet the income test under certain special conditions. Households earning $2,000 to $6,000 a month or more might still qualify even though their income does not meet the income test.
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).
Net Worth (the value of your assets) also affects eligibility. VA pensions are a need–based benefit, and a large net worth might affect your eligibility. All personal goods are exempt from the net worth. These goods include the home you live in, a vehicle used for the care of the claimant, and household goods and personal effects such as clothes, jewelry and furniture. Unfortunately, there is no asset limit set by law, and the determination of eligibility can be made at the discretion of a VA caseworker.