Saturday was Veterans Day. While it’s nice to devote a day to recognizing veterans, what about the other 364 days of the year—and the many veterans and their families who struggle with the cost of long-term care? I would like to use this forum to discuss a misunderstood and underutilized benefit available to eligible veterans, spouses, and widows: the Aid and Attendance Pension Benefit. The amount of this tax-free benefit depends on the veteran’s family situation.
Here are some examples:
- Single veteran: up to $2,229/month
- Married veteran in need of assistance: up to $2,642/month
- Spouse of a healthy veteran: up to $1,749/month
- Surviving spouse of a deceased veteran: up to $1,432/month
- Both spouses are eligible veterans: up to $3,536/month
The benefit doesn’t have to be paid back and it can be used to pay anyone, including the recipient’s child, for home care. It can also be used to pay for professional care in the home, assisted living, nursing home care, insurance premiums, prescription drugs, co-pays, and more. The bottom line? Aid and Attendance can help an eligible veteran, spouse, or widow live at home or assisted living for as long as possible, receive the care he or she needs, and protect the recipient’s life savings.
To be eligible for Aid and Attendance a veteran must:
- Have served 90 days or more of active duty, with at least one of those days taking place during a time of war
- Have received a discharge other than dishonorable
- Have medical expenses or care needs
- Meet financial guidelines established by the VA
For a surviving spouse to be eligible for Aid and Attendance, he or she must have been married to an eligible veteran for at least one year and never remarried.
Sadly, many veterans and their families mistakenly believe that their asset levels or incomes exceed VA limits. However, through the use of available exemptions and proper planning, an eligible veteran, spouse, or widow may be able to qualify for the VA Pension Benefit without having to spend all of his or her savings to pay for necessary care. As always, I’m here to help veterans and their families obtain all of the benefits to which they are entitled.
Until next time, take care…