The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) developed a pension designed to provide financial assistance to disabled veterans who lacked the necessary funds to provide the care they need. This pension extends to the veterans surviving spouse as well. Unlike Medicaid, this pension is "relatively" easy to qualify for and provides substantial advatages over other need-based programs.
While this benefit is not new, its not very ‘advertised’ and people are not aware of it, or assume they are not eligible. There are millions of dollars in the fund that are currently going unused.
The benefit is called the VA "Aid and Attendance" pension. Benefits may also be available for house-bound individuals that require daily assitance to maintain their health, dignity and safety.
Pension will pay up to:
- $1743.00 per month for Veteran and one dependant (wife)
- $1470.00 per month for Veteran alone
- $945.00 per month for surviving spouse
The pension is a tax-free benefit paid directly to the qualified applicat. The benefit amount paid is available in addition to any other existing resource the senior uses to pay for their care.
- Veteran must have served at least 90 days of active duty, with at least one day served during a time of war.
- Assets must be less than $80,000.00 (Assests do not include your personal residence, auto or other assest you use on a regular basis)
- Financial need: In general, there must be less income each year than the cost of care provided (which is not difficult considering the high cost of care.) The cost of care not only includes the actual cost (such as hiring the caregiver) or the monthly charges at an assisted living, but also includes the cost of doctor appointments and prescription drugs (non-reimbursed amounts), medical supplies, eye glasses, hearing aides, travel to doctors appointments, etc.
- Medical diagnosis: There must be a medical reason why you cannot live independently and need regular assistance and care. Assistance with various ADL’s up to full assisted living or nursing home care will qualify.
Processing time by the VA generally takes from 4 to 12 months from date of application. However, once approved, the pension is paid directly to the applicant via direct deposit and is retroactive from the first day of the month following receipt by the VA.
You can apply for this yourself by searching the VA website . I also found a press release on their website here: Aid and Attendance an Under Used Benefit. There are also companies that will do the lengthy, time consuming and confusing application for you for a fee. If time is of the essesnce and you are not familiar with VA forms, I recommend using one of these companies. Contact me for information.