By Attorney Elena A. Lidrbauch
The Veterans Administration offers a variety of benefits to veterans and their families. Some of the benefits entitle the veteran to medical services, while others provide financial assistance. Some require that there be a service connected disability, others do not. It can be challenging to sort out the various benefits and their accompanying eligibility rules. It is little wonder that some benefits may be overlooked.
The Aid & Attendance pension is one such benefit. It is a non-service connected cash benefit paid monthly to the veteran as a supplement to existing income. There are three general eligibility requirements:
- The veteran must have served at least 90 days of active duty with at least one of those days during a period of war and the veteran’s discharge was other than dishonorable.
- The veteran must be blind, living in a nursing home, or significantly disabled needing assistance from another individual.
- The veteran must have sufficiently low income and resources. The VA reviews income and resources available to the veteran and deducts out of pocket medical expenses to determine whether the veteran has insufficient funds to cover medical expenses. The veteran’s home, vehicle, furnishings and household goods are generally exempt. In addition costs of Assisted Living may be considered a medical expense.
Those over age 65 are automatically considered to have met the disability test for pension. In addition, a widowed spouse of a veteran may be eligible for Aid & Attendance death pension if the widow(er) has insufficient resources to meet his or her own medical expenses.
The table below shows the 2010 maximum Aid & Attendance pension benefits:
Veteran – single
Veteran – married
$1,949.00/month or $23,396.00/year
$1,056.00/month or $12,681.00/year
Married Veterans both in need of Aid & Attendance
$2,540.00/month or $30,480.00/year