Aid and Attendance: The VA Benefit for Senior Living
If you or your spouse has served in the armed forces during time of war, you deserve much respect and gratitude—and you also might be entitled to a VA benefit for senior living that could be of great value. At Avalon Park, we want you to know the details of this important program as you make plans for your future.
The VA benefit for senior living that could make a big difference
Wondering how to afford senior living is something that worries many seniors. One bright spot that many do not know about is the Aid & Attendance benefit program offered through the Department of Veteran Affairs, and how it can be of assistance. This benefit is relatively unknown, and those who are aware often don’t fully understand the difference it can make when it comes to paying for senior living.
The Aid & Attendance benefit was established in the 1950s to help wartime Veterans or their surviving spouse pay for care in independent living, assisted living, home health care, adult day care or skilled nursing care by providing monthly payments in addition to their monthly VA pension.
Who is eligible
This VA benefit for senior living starts with the Basic Pension and, depending on your medical need, gives you a rating which may add money to your pension. But you must meet certain criteria which are generally described here:
1. Military service
Served on active duty at least one day during a period of war, at least 90 days in total and you were other than dishonorably discharged. Or, your spouse at the time of their death met this criterion.
Periods of war for this VA benefit:
World War II – Dec 7, 1941 thru Dec 31, 1946
KOREAN WAR – June 27, 1950 thru Jan 31, 1955
VIETNAM WAR –
1. Feb 28, 1961 thru Aug 4, 1964 only if you served in the country of Vietnam.
2. Aug 5, 1964 thru May 7, 1975 no matter where in the world you served.
PERSIAN GULF – Aug 2, 1990 thru a date to be prescribed by Presidential proclamation of law. Here, minimum active-duty requirement is 2 years or period for which you were called up active, whichever is shorter.
2. Medical requirement
The medical rating is determined by the Veteran’s medical situation if alive, of that of their surviving spouse. The applicant must meet at least one of these medical requirements:
- You need another person to help you perform daily activities, like bathing, feeding and dressing.
- You have to stay in bed – or spend a large portion of the day in bed – because of illness.
- You are a patient in a nursing home due to the loss of mental or physical abilities related to a disability.
- Your eyesight is limited (even with glasses or contact lenses you have only 5/200 or less in both eyes; or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less).
3. Financial requirement
This two-pronged requirement takes into account income and assets. Household income of the Veteran or surviving spouse must be less than the pension in which you are applying. However, you can deduct your medical insurance premiums, including Medicare, as well as the cost of home care and independent or assisted living fees.
The amount of assets you can have is equal to the Maximum Federal Community Spouse Resource Allowance defined by Medicaid – which is $148,620 for 2023. Assets exclude your primary home, family transportation and your normal personal possessions.
(National Guard or Reservists are to be considered wartime Veterans for the VA pension if they have been called up active for OTHER than Active Duty Training and served the required minimum number of days during a period of war.)
Considering independent living at Avalon Park? This VA benefit for senior living can help you
It is good to know that Veterans Aid & Attendance can help you offset the cost of independent living initially, then as your health evolves you can transition to assisted living or skilled care. At Avalon Park in Cottleville, should you needs change, you can receive supportive care right in your apartment, without moving.
How to apply for the Aid & Attendance benefit
1. Send a completed VA form (https://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-21-2680-ARE.pdf)
to the Pension Management Center (PMC) that serves your state. Find your PMC at https://www.va.gov/pension/pension-management-centers/
2. File a claim online at https://www.va.gov/pension/application/527EZ/introduction
3. Apply in person at a VA office nearest you https://www.va.gov/find-locations/?facilityType=benefits
Smart Tip: the filing process can be complex and lengthy. Consider working with a VA Accredited Agent who can help you navigate the process and typically reduce the time it takes for your application to be approved.