Did you know that there are supplemental income options to help Veterans? The Veteran’s Pension benefits is a tax-free monetary benefit payable to low-income wartime Veterans. Hundreds of thousands of veterans are eligible for this benefit, including spouses of veterans. If you are looking for help affording assisted living, this benefit can significantly reduce costs.
Veterans Assisted Living Benefits
If you are a veteran who is overwhelmed by the high cost of long-term assisted living, home care aides, adult day care, or skilled nursing, the Veterans Aid and Attendance benefit may be the right solution for you. This pension is also referred to as the “improved pension,” the “VA assisted living benefit,” or “veterans elder care benefits.”
Aid & Attendance and Household Benefit
Veterans and surviving spouses of veterans may be able to qualify for a VA pension if they require the aid and attendance of a caregiver, and/or if they are housebound. These benefits come from the VA and are paid in addition to the monthly veterans pension. These benefits cannot be added together, and only apply to those who are qualified. The following are the benefits accessible by recipients of this benefit.
Aid & Attendance
Aid & Attendance applies for Veterans over the age of 65 that require assistance with activities of daily living such as dressing, eating, cleaning, or going to the bathroom. The following benefits are available based on eligibility as determined by Veterans Affairs.
To qualify for Aid & Attendance, you must meet one of the following conditions:
- You require the aid of another person to perform personal functions required in everyday living, such as bathing, feeding, dressing, attending to natural needs adjusting prosthetic's, or protecting yourself from the hazards of your daily environment.
- The veteran is bedridden, in that his/her disability or disabilities requires that he/she remain in bed apart from any prescribed course of convalescence or treatment, OR,
- The veteran is a patient in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity, OR,
- The veteran is blind, or so nearly blind as to have corrected visual acuity of 5/200 or less, in both eyes, or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less.
Veterans or their surviving spouses must be at least 65 or officially disabled if younger.
Period of Military Service
Veterans must be considered “wartime veterans” meaning they served at least 90 days and served at least one day during the wartime dates below, but not necessarily in combat.
- World War II: Dec 7, 1941 – Dec 31, 1946
- Korean War: June 27, 1950 - Jan 31, 1955
- Vietnam War: Aug 5, 1964 - May 7, 1975 (or Feb 28, 1961 – May 7, 1975, for Veterans who served in Vietnam)
- Gulf War: Aug 2, 1990 - Undetermined
Veterans cannot have been dishonorably discharged.
Veterans are eligible without a disability, but a higher benefit is available to those who are disabled.
- Aid & Attendance Eligibility – the veteran must require help with the activities of daily living at home, in nursing homes or assisted living. The need for that help does not have to be related to their military service.
- Housebound Eligibility – the veteran needs to have the disability rating of 100% that prevents them from leaving their home. The disability does not have to be related to their military service.
A surviving spouse must have been living with the veteran at the time of their death and must be single at the time of claim.
To qualify, veterans must have a combined, countable income that is less than the pension amount for which they are eligible. For example, a married veteran that is eligible for $20,028 must have a countable income less than this number. If the married veteran’s income is $10,000, then they qualify for an additional $10,000 in pension benefits.
The VA also allows applicants to deduct expenses and forms of income from their countable income. It’s important to explore all possible options for deducting income and expenses, because your actual income may be much higher than your countable income.
Veterans should deduct all of their medical-related expenses for themselves and their spouses that are greater than 5% of the Maximum Annual Pension Rate (MAPR). For example, for a married couple, 5% of the MAPR is $1,301. Therefore, if a couple has an annual income of $30,000 and $25,000 in medical-related expenses, one would subtract $1,301 from $25,000, which means $23,699 of their medical expenses could be deducted from their income. Therefore, their countable income would be $6,301 vs. an actual income of $30,000.
Medical-related expenses include:
- Skilled Nursing
- Assisted Living
- Adult Day Centers
- Home Care
- Medicare Premiums
- Prescriptions not covered by insurance
Income that doesn’t count towards countable:
- Income from Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Welfare benefits
2018 Aid & Attendance Income Limits
|Veteran Family Status||Income Limit|
|Veteran with no dependents||$21,962|
|Veteran with a spouse||$26,036|
No matter where you are in life, Landmark Senior Living is here to make the process of growing older less worrisome and stressful. In the business of helping seniors for more than 30 years - our mission is to provide the best care in thriving communities that foster meaningful relationships for the rest of your life.
We care about those who served our country and those who continue to do so. That’s why we’re unveiling a new campaign to help senior veterans and their spouses unlock the benefits available to them through the Aid and Attendance Program offered by the VA. If you’re looking for assisted living benefits for Veterans, visit Landmark Senior Living in Fall River.