Community Blog

New & Improved Qualifications for Veterans Aid and Attendance

By Debbie Humphrey

Veterans Day is a Federal holiday set aside for Americans to honor the courageous individuals who serve – or have served – in one or more branches of our Nation’s military.

The fabric of my family is woven with many Veterans, and I am humbled to know so many more in my personal and professional life, that I am honored to offer my appreciation and gratitude to Veterans whenever possible.  Without their service and sacrifices, we would not be afforded the freedoms and democracy with which we, as United States citizens, are graced.

As a Certified Senior Care Advisor, I frequently get to meet Veterans and/or their surviving spouses who need help. However, financial concerns can make it difficult for them to afford non-medical in-home care. Thankfully, the Veterans Administration “Aid and Attendance” program is available to help cover the expense of in-home care for Veterans and/or their surviving spouses.

Of course, there are requirements that must be met to qualify for Aid and Attendance benefits, and as of Oct 18, 2018, a new mandate came into play.

First, a Veteran, or his/her spouse  must have a medical need and include a physician’s statement with specific recommendations for their care.

Secondly, a Veteran must have served a minimum of 90 days active duty, with at least one day during a period of wartime conflict, and he/she was honorably discharged after their term of service.

The third requirement involves income status, and this is where the language has changed. According to an article published by Caregiver.com, as of Oct 18th, the VA will examine a Veteran’s assets from the previous three years to determine eligibility for benefits.

These assets include bank accounts, stocks, bonds and commercial or secondary property holdings and also, one year’s Income for VA Purposes (IVAP), including disbursements from annuities or trusts. Home equity and personal property, including automobiles, are exempt from asset calculations.

Furthermore, I received a news release from CarePlanning® Institute confirming  the VA has “increased the asset limits to $123,600, for all single and married Veterans and their surviving spouses,” which is encouraging since they are reporting that “50% of seniors in this country have less than $44,000 in assets (excluding home equity).  “(Aid & Attendance) benefits will now be open to millions more of our Veterans and their surviving spouses who are over age 65.”

Moreover, “To calculate IVAP veterans and surviving spouses can deduct certain unreimbursed monthly care expenses, including skilled nursing, in-home care (even if provided by a non-spouse relative), assisted living costs,  long-term care and health insurance premiums,” the Caregiver article stated.

With the rising costs of nursing home and assisted living care, Veterans and/or their surviving spouses should review their assets a minimum of three years before they may need care. However, tread carefully, because penalties may apply if you transfer assets within the three years prior to eligibility for A&A benefits. The good news, is the length of the penalty period has been reduced from 10 years to 5 years, maximum.

To avoid these penalties,  I highly recommend Veterans, their surviving spouses, and/or family members, consult with a VA-accredited attorney to navigate what can be a complex process. Please understand, working with VA-accredited attorneys and agencies like Home Helpers® is a must!

If you or a special loved one is a Veteran, or surviving spouse of a Vet, who qualifies for Attendance benefits in North Pinellas or West Pasco Counties, give me a call. The VA has changed the definitions regarding activities of daily living and the scope of homecare assistance allowed has expanded.

Home Helpers® is accredited with the VA, and we do accept Aid & Attendance benefits. Our compassionate caregivers are available to provide non-medical assistance, including light housework, errands, meal preparation, transportation assistance, companionship and more.

Home Helpers® is honored to have received the Provider of Choice 2017 & 2018 awards from Home Care Pulse, and we proudly serve male and female seniors in Clearwater, Dunedin, Palm Harbor, Safety Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Holiday, New Port Richey, Trinity, Port Richey, Hudson and surrounding areas. Home Helpers®…we are Making Life Easier℠  727.942.2539

Source: Caregiver.com

CarePlanning® Institute