For those who have served our country, as well as their spouses, there is an important Veterans Administration benefit for senior living that you should know about: The VA Aid & Attendance Benefit. For those who qualify, this program can be a welcome source of funding for senior care. Here are some facts about eligibility and service requirements, as well as some common myths that may be keeping some Veterans from taking advantage of this much-deserved benefit.
What is the Aid & Attendance Benefit, and why is it an important VA benefit for senior living?
In 1952 Congress passed Title 38 of the United States Code authorizing certain benefits for veterans. One of these benefits is the Non-Service Connected Pension, with “Aid and Attendance.”
According to payingforseniorliving.com, The Aid and Attendance benefit is a monetary benefit that helps eligible Veterans and their surviving spouses (widows / widowers) to pay for the assistance they need in everyday functioning (eating, bathing, dressing, and medication management).
What are the disability requirements?
This applies to Veterans, spouses of Veterans, or surviving spouses. If you:
- Need another person’s assistance in order to perform personal functions required in everyday living, such as bathing, feeding, dressing, toileting, adjusting prosthetic devices, or to protect yourself from the hazards of your daily environment; or
- Are bedridden, in that your disability or disabilities require that you remain in bed apart from any prescribed course of convalescence or treatment; or
- You are a patient in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity; or
- Your eyesight is limited to a corrected 5/200 visual acuity or less in both eyes; or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less.
What are the service requirements to receive this VA benefit for senior living?
A Veteran or Veteran’s surviving spouse may be eligible if the Veteran:
- Was discharged from a branch of the United States Armed Forces under conditions that were not dishonorable and
- Served 90 days of continuous military service (active duty), with at least one day during the following wartime periods (did not have to serve in combat):
- World War I: April 6, 1917, through November 11, 1918
- World War II: December 7, 1941, through December 31, 1946
- Korean War: June 27, 1950, through January 31, 1955
- Vietnam War: August 5, 1964 (February 28, 1961, for Veterans who served “in country” before August 5, 1964), through May 7, 1975
- Persian Gulf War: August 2, 1990, through a date to be set by Presidential Proclamation or Law. Must have served active duty for two years or the full period of which the Veteran was called for active duty.
Common myths about the Aid & Attendance benefit.
According to American Veterans Aid, these are some of the myths that keep older adults from applying for this important VA benefit for senior living.
- Myth: You must have seen combat.
- Truth: The only service requirement is for a Veteran to have served during an eligible period of war— 90 days of active duty, with at least 1 day during an eligible period of war.
- Myth: You must already be receiving a basic pension to be eligible.
- Truth: The Aid & Attendance benefit is an enhanced pension. It includes the VA’s Basic Pension plus additional monetary compensation for people who need help with daily living activities.
- Myth: You will lose your social security benefit.
- Truth: Receiving this VA benefit for senior living does not affect your monthly Social Security payments. You can receive both benefits at the same time.
- Myth: The spouse must have been married to the Veteran when he or she was in the service.
- Truth: A spouse is considered eligible for the Aid & Attendance benefit if he or she was married to the Veteran at the time of their passing and has not remarried. The marriage did not have to have occurred during the time of service.
Applying for this VA benefit for senior living.
There are several ways to apply. You may write the Pension Management Center (PMC) that serves your state. You may also visit your local regional benefit office to file your request. Visit https://www.va.gov/find-locations/.
Applying can be complicated and time-consuming. It’s important to submit the correct information the first time. A Veterans Benefits Advisor can help guide you through the process of completing and submitting an application and making sure all other forms are ready.
At St. Mark Village, we can help you find answers to all your questions about senior living, including sources of funding. Contact us or call 727-464-1750 today to connect with our friendly and knowledgeable counselors and learn how our Continuum of Care can provide you with seamless access to future care options.