Veterans Day is November 11, a day to express our gratitude for all who have worn the uniform. We take the occasion to tell you about a benefit that may be available to aging/disabled veterans: Improved Pension with Aid and Attendance. Many veterans and their families are not aware of this valuable V.A. benefit, or tend to confuse it with V.A. compensation. This post will clear up the confusion.
What Is Veterans Disability Compensation?
Many of our clients receive V.A. compensation. This is a service-related benefit. That means that to qualify, a veteran must have incurred a disability as a result of active service in the military. This program also has benefits for surviving spouses, children and parents.
Eligibility for V.A. compensation is NOT income-based. It is based on two factors: First, the veteran’s number of dependents. Second, the level of disability. The V.A. rates disability from 10% to 100%, in ten percent intervals. The greater the disability level, the higher the level of benefits.
V.A. compensation is tax free.
Our firm does not handle compensation. Veterans get free advice and assistance through county veterans services offices. You can see a list of offices by county here. There are also veterans services officers associated with a variety of non-profit veterans organizations.
You can read more about compensation here.
What Is Veterans Improved Pension With Aid & Attendance?
There are several key differences between V.A. compensation and V.A. pension. Pension is available only to veterans who are 65 and older, or who have a permanent and total disability, or who are residing in a nursing home because of disability. The qualifying disability does not have to be the result of military service. At least one day of the applicant’s service must have been during certain wartime periods.
Importantly, the V.A. considers the applicant’s countable income and assets when determining eligibility and calculating the level of benefits. The veteran’s spouse’s income and assets are also taken into consideration.
Aid and Attendance is an extra amount that the V.A. adds to a veteran’s basic pension if the veteran is unable to perform one or more of the activities of daily living (for example, toileting, bathing, eating, dressing) and needs help at home, or is living in a facility. Hence the term, Improved Pension With Aid and Attendance. This benefit can be extremely helpful to veterans and their families who are struggling with the cost of long-term care. Widows and widowers may also be eligible for benefits under certain circumstances. Eligibility includes a cap on net worth; as of Dec. 1, 2022, the cap is $138,489.
Unfortunately, Aid and Attendance is not widely known nor widely advertised. When our attorneys help older veterans who are seeking Florida Medicaid benefits for nursing care, we also routinely help them apply for Aid and Attendance, if they are eligible. All our firm’s elder law attorneys are accredited by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Note that no one may charge a veteran for help with preparing a claims application.
You can read more about Aid and Attendance on our website, and download a guide here.
A heartfelt thank you to all our veterans. Wishing everyone a meaningful Veterans Day.