Aid and Attendance

There is a pension available through the Veterans Administration to help certain veterans pay for long term care. Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits is a program that was first established by Congress in 1952. It is part of Title 38 of the U S code, which established the Department of Veteran Affairs as we know it today.

The pension is for both veterans and surviving spouses of veterans who served during a period of war. The pension is not service connected, meaning you did not have to be injured during the war.

The amount of the pension varies based on your marital status and ranges from about $1200 to $3000.
There are a number of criteria to qualify. First you must have served at least 90 days of active duty with at least one day during an official period of conflict. You must not have been dishonorably discharged. Any other discharge qualifies.

You must qualify medically. You must have a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant complete a form showing that you need help with two activities of daily living.

There is a limitation on the assets you can have. The current limit is a little over $127,000 and will increase each year with inflation. Your home with up to two acres of land is exempted and does not count as an asset as long as you own it.

You also have to be paying for care. To get the maximum pension you must be paying at least 105% of your income for care. You may pay anyone other than your spouse to provide the care. If you are in an assisted living or nursing home and getting care, both the charges for care and room and board are countable expenses. If you are living at home and pay someone to provide care, you cannot count the expenses for the home, utilities, or food. You can only count what you are paying for care.

Surviving spouses must have been married to the veteran at the time of his/her death. If you were divorced there is no benefit.

If you have more than $127,000 in assets, there are planning techniques that can be used to help you become eligible in the future. There is a lookback period of three years. So if you have too many assets, planning must be done at least three years in advance of applying for benefits.

This purpose of this video is to give you a general idea about this benefit for military veterans and surviving spouses. The information is not complete and is not intended to be legal advice. It is meant to give you an idea of a benefit that may be available to you.

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