Happy Veterans Day! This is a very special day in which we, as Americans, recognize and celebrate those who have fought and served in the United States military. I have many family members who have served, so this day is always meaningful to me.
Throughout history, men and women of the United States Armed Forces have selflessly served our country. While some have paid the ultimate price, others are now disabled or face health problems. In addition to war-related injuries, veterans from World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam face another challenge — age-related illnesses and limitations.
To help veterans and their spouses maintain their independence and maximize their dignity and quality of life, there is a benefit known as Aid and Attendance. Unfortunately, many people who may qualify for this pension benefit are NOT aware of it. The amount paid for Aid and Attendance is over and above a veteran’s monthly pension.
What is Aid and Attendance?
Aid and Attendance is a pension benefit that pays qualified veterans and their spouses for specific costs associated with home care and care provided in an assisted living facility. Care services must be necessary due to cognitive or physical limitations and may include custodial and personal care.
Coverage Amounts and Income Restrictions
To qualify for Aid and Attendance, claimants must have an adjusted annual income under established income thresholds. Certain costs can be subtracted from a person’s total income to determine the adjusted income. For example, incurred costs associated with medical, custodial and personal care that are not reimbursed are subtracted to determine the adjusted income.
For the current income thresholds, call the Veterans Administration at (800) 827-1000, or visit their website: www.VA.gov. Click “Benefits” on the home page, then click “Compensation and Pension,” and go to “Fact Sheets.”
For veterans, go to “Veterans with Limited Income” and click “Pension.” For spouses, go to “Dependents and Survivors’ Benefits” and click “Death Pension Benefits.”
Aid & Attendance Qualifications
To qualify for this benefit, the claimant must be unable to live independently without support and:
• Require regular aid with personal care activities such as bathing, dressing, feeding, personal hygiene, transferring or with adjusting a prosthetic or orthopedic device.
• Need aid due to safety risks (physical or mental limitations) associated with injury or illness.
The Application Process
If pension benefits are being received by a veteran or his/her spouse, write a letter to the VA indicating you’d like to apply for Aid and Attendance. To help speed the process, you can include a physician’s statement indicating your medical condition and necessity.
If pension benefits are NOT being received, the veteran or his/her spouse must apply to receive pension benefits before applying for Aid and Attendance. The process to apply for pension benefits requires considerable paperwork be compiled and filed.
The qualification and application processes can be quite confusing. While there is limited information about Aid and Attendance on the VA website, the resources I strongly recommend at Home Helpers® include https://www.careplanninginstitute.org/ and https://vcchc.com/.
Veteran’s Service Officers are located in every county, and it’s their job to find benefits for veterans. In Pasco and Pinellas Counties contact:
Pasco County Division of Veterans Services: 727.834.3282
Pinellas County Veterans Services: 727.464.8460
Note: Make sure you understand the difference between working with a “recognized” versus and “unrecognized” organization.
Other qualifications include, but are not limited to:
• A minimum of 90 days active military service with at least one day during period of war*
• An honorable discharge or discharge other than dishonorable
• An income threshold applies
*For men and women called into the military after 9/1980, the minimum service requirements is now 24 continuous months of military services or active duty.
Home Helpers® is a recognized organization providing services referred to above. Our non-medical and personal care services are similar to what is often provided by family members and are designed to help senior veterans maintain their independence and avoid isolation. Care services include general assistance, companionship, help with transportation, errands, and much more. Additionally, care-giving support services can be provided anywhere a family needs them...in the home, hospital, rehabilitation center, retirement community, etc.
If you have any questions about Aid and Attendance benefits, I am happy to share information and resources, and I will gladly schedule a FREE Consultation, at your convenience, to assess specific needs and find the perfect caregiver for approved care-giving services for you or your special senior veteran. Call me today: 727.942.2539
We, at Home Helpers® Clearwater, are honored to have received the Home Care Pulse – Best of Home Care® Provider of Choice Award for 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020. 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℠