The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (still often called the VA or Veterans Administration) has a pension program that helps some veterans or their surviving spouses pay monthly medical expenses. This program is often called Aid & Attendance, but that is not the proper name. In fact, Aid & Attendance is an additional monetary benefit that is available to certain Pension recipients.
These benefits may also be available to members of the Merchant Marine, Coast Guard, Nursing Corp, Women’s Corp, Public Health Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Coast Geodetic Survey, Environmental Services Administration, and to certain cadets at military academies and certain civilians who served on Wake Island during World War II. (We’ll call all of these people “veterans” to make the rest of the page easier to read.)
If the veteran’s service was before 1980, he or she must have served 90 days active duty. If the service was after 1980, 2 years active duty is required. (There are a few exceptions to the length of service requirement, such as discharge for service-connected injury.)
Within those active duty days, the veteran must have at least 1 day during a recognized period of war:
Dec 7, 1941 – Dec 31, 1946 (Up to Aug 15, 1945 for Merchant Marine)
Jun 27, 1950 – Jan 31, 1955
Aug 5, 1964 – May 7, 1975 (Back to Feb 28, 1961 if actually in Vietnam)
Aug 2, 1990 – the present
The pension program has enhanced payout levels for people who cannot get out of the house (Housebound) and for those who need the help of another to perform the activities of daily living (Aid & Attendance.)
As of December 2015, the maximum monthly VA benefits are:
- Veteran and spouse with no additional allowances – $1,404.25
- Veteran and spouse with Housebound enhancement – $1,642.50
- Veteran and spouse with Aid & Attendance enhancement – $2,120.66
- Single veteran with no additional allowances – $1,072.33
- Single veteran with Housebound enhancement – $1,310.42
- Single veteran with Aid & Attendance enhancement – $1,788.83
- Surviving spouse with no additional allowances – $719.16
- Surviving spouse with Housebound enhancement – $879.00
- Surviving spouse with Aid & Attendance enhancement – $1,149.50
- Additional benefits may be available if the veteran or spouse has a dependent child at home or if both spouses are veterans.
Pension is available only to veterans and surviving spouses whose routine, repetitive medical costs are close to or higher than their income. As a result, VA Pension is most often useful for veterans and surviving spouses who need long term care. VA will also look at available assets before awarding Pension to determine if the applicant will outlive their money.
This information is provided to further the mission of
The Koewler Law Firm
“Protecting Seniors and People with Special Needs.”
For help with long term care or with planning for someone with special needs,
call Jim, or contact him through this website.