Entitlement to Help Off-Set the Costs of Long-Term Care
There are a variety of benefits administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that may be available to Veterans of the United States armed forces. For example, the GI Bill has benefits to purchase housing. Veteran health care is available throughout the United States at various VA healthcare centers. Burial and cemetery benefits are also available to veterans across the USA. We concentrate on one benefit predominately, the one that is available to Veterans who served during war. This is called Non-Service related Disability Pension. This is a benefit which can help pay for long term care.
The benefit is also known as Aid & Attendance, but that is misunderstood. The benefit is a pension with Aid & Attendance. It is similar to a long term care benefit and it is an entitlement for those war era veterans who are spending the majority of their monthly income on their health care, and who are age 65 or older. It is also paid to veterans or spouses under 65 who are permanently and totally disabled without willful misconduct by the applicant.
|“We truly appreciate your advice, guidance and help with our application and approval. The process progressed exactly as you outlined to us. Your services are “invaluable” for veterans and veterans' families seeking financial help with medical expenses and care. We will most certainly refer you to veterans needing help at every opportunity in the future. As you know, my brother Doug is a retired Marine Colonel so he has many former military contacts. My father is now able to stay at the Regency Park Fair Oaks in Pasadena and have a comfortable, happy place to live. It is such a relief to our family.”|
There are two parts to the benefit and a veteran or widow(er) must be eligible for both in order to qualify for the maximum benefit. The basic Improved Pension and the additional special monthly benefit called Aid and Attendance.
Non Service-Related Disability Pension – Improved Pension
The basic Improved Pension is a non-service related tax-free benefit paid directly to the veteran or widow of the veteran monthly. In order to qualify for the basic pension, an individual must meet certain eligibility requirements set by Congress and administered by the Veterans Administration. This pension is a non-service related disability benefit, which means that the veteran need not have been harmed in service and in most cases, need not have served over seas.
Additional Special Monthly Benefit – Aid and Attendance
The Aid & Attendance benefit is paid in addition to monthly pension. This benefit may not be paid without eligibility to basic pension. A veteran may be eligible for Aid & Attendance if their physician states that they require some regular help with certain activities of daily living. Veterans or widows of veterans are entitled to an Improved Pension with Aid & Attendance which will provide considerable income to help offset the cost of necessary health expenses.
WASHINGTON (Dec. 19, 2006) – The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) reached out to inform wartime veterans and surviving spouses of deceased wartime veterans about an under-used, special monthly pension benefit called Aid and Attendance.
“Veterans have earned this benefit by their service to our nation.” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson. “We want to ensure that every veteran or surviving spouse who qualifies has the chance to apply.”
That's good information to know, but who are these qualified individuals the VA is talking about?
All WWI widows. WWII, Korean Conflict and Vietnam veterans and their widows may be eligible!
Approximately 16 million men and women served in the US Military during WWII alone. If we estimate that the majority of those men and woman married, that makes roughly 30 million Americans who may be entitled to benefits.
The veteran or surviving spouse must be at least 65 years old or, permanently disabled without willful misconduct from the claimant in order to apply for this benefit.
There is no income limit a veteran or surviving spouse can have in order to qualify for their entitlement. If an individual is spending their income on their health expenses, they may qualify.
The amount of assets a veteran or spouse may have is determined on an individual basis. There are many factors taken into consideration including age, health, income and medical expenses.
These are the maximum monthly tax free award amounts for pension with Aid and Attendance for 2017. These benefits are paid directly to the Veteran or Surviving Spouse by the U.S. Government.
- Two married Vets – $3,032
- Single Veteran – $1,911
- Married Veteran – $2,266
- Surviving Spouse – $1,229
Dates of Service
World War I
April 6, 1917 through November 11, 1918, inclusive. If the veteran served with the United States military forces in Russia, the ending date is April 1, 1920. Service after November 11, 1918 and before July 2, 1921 is considered World War I service if the veteran served in the active military, naval, or air service after April 5, 1917 and before November 12, 1918.
World War II
December 7, 1941 through December 31, 1946
June 27, 1950 through January 31, 1955
The period beginning on February 28, 1961 to August 4, 1964 (must have stepped on the ground in Vietnam). And August 5, 1964 to May 7, 1975 without limitation on where the veteran served. “Boot to ground in ‘nam” does not apply to 1964 to 1975 time period.
Persian Gulf War
August 2, 1990 through a date to be prescribed by Presidential proclamation or law.
An important document required in filing a claim with the VA is the honorable discharge. Please watch this video to understand more about how to obtain free copies of your honorable discharge.
Most service members and their next-of-kin can obtain free copies of their Separation documents or DD Form 214 in several ways. You may follow the steps outlined below to order certified copies of your honorable discharge documents. To download a printable copy of these instructions, CLICK HERE.
How to Obtain Certified Copies of Honorable Discharge Papers
- Go to www.archives.gov
- Click on Start Form Online (then Print and Mail) which is in the “Looking for?” box.
- You should now be in a new window, at the top it says “eVetRecs”. Scroll down to click on the “continue” button.
- You are now on step 1 of the “eVetRecs” 4-step system. Click on the up or down small triangle to list choices. This is called a “drop down” menu. When finished click “continue”. On step 2 be sure to choose “benefits”.
- Continue as above choosing your answers for each selection. Choose “continue” after each step. It may require scrolling down or to the right to find the “continue” button.
- Do step 1, step 2, step 3, and step 4.
- Choose “undeleted” copy.
- Enter the name, address, phone number, etc. to direct documents.
- Print the order form. It has a barcode in the top right corner. It should print two pages.
- Fax the form indicated to the fax number stated on the form. Include a death certificate if the veteran has since passed away.
- Keep the order form for your records for future follow up as needed. You can call for status after 10 business days. Phone number to call is at bottom of the form.
NOTE – If the next of kin is requesting the records, a copy of the veterans death certificate must be provided.
The VA requires an original or certified copy of the honorable (or general) release from active duty to accompany the application for benefits.
|“From the first time calling to make contact, the process of going to the introduction workshop and receiving the workbook was clear and informative. Obtaining the right records and providing the right information was our initiative, but the next steps were very helpful from the National Veteran Support group. There was no frustration or stress, the whole staff were friendly and supportive, they provided the guidance to help my mother receive assistance. Thank you so much.”|