Special VA Benefit for Seniors: A Path to Success.

by Monica Grannis

Many senior wartime veterans and their surviving spouses could be eligible for a monthly VA benefit if they require care in the home or in a care facility. This is a financial benefit called “Aid and Attendance”. However, most of them and their families are not even aware of it. Moreover, without expertise in this process, the challenges of maneuvering through the red tape can be overwhelming and lead to failure.  Yet it does not have to be that way. For those who are eligible, and with professional expertise, one can succeed.

Surviving Spouse receives lifetime VA benefit

Here’s an example illustrating this.Madge is the surviving spouse of a World War II veteran who served in the Pacific Theater for over 2 years. Being in her 90s, her body is frail, and she requires regular assistance with bathing and dressing.  Yet her mind is still sharp as a tack.  Her wish has always been to stay in the home.  Family members were not able to provide all the caregiving she requires so they hired caregivers and that cost alone exceeded her monthly income.Her son, Robert, went to his local VA office to apply for the VA benefit which he felt certain his mother was entitled to due to his father’s wartime service. He figured she met the requirements and submitted the claim to the VA’s Pension Management Center. 

After 6 months of waiting, Madge received a denial letter from the VA.  Frustratedly, he decided to resubmit the claim, only to be denied again the following year. Meanwhile her savings were depleting month after month.He later found out about American Veterans Aid and elicited their expertise in this process.  With their many years of experience and professional assistance, within 3 months Robert’s mother received her first monthly deposit and has continued to receive it every month since, tax-free (it’s now $1,478 monthly). Compare two years of submitting claims back and forth and getting denials, to only 3 months after opting to use a team of specialists including our VA Accredited Claims Agent.Robert wrote: “I cannot say enough about the service that I received from AVA and everyone that I dealt with…Thank you very much to each and every one of the personnel at American Veterans Aid. Not only are they very capable but caring, kind, extremely efficient and well organized.”

New Aid & Attendance Benefit Rates 2022

The Aid & Attendance pension benefit rates have increased by 5.9% for 2022, the biggest jump in over 40 years.  These are the new rates now in effect:

Surviving Spouse$1,478 Monthly – $17,743 Annually
Single Veteran$2,300 Monthly – $27,609 Annually
Married Veteran$2,727 Monthly – $32,729 Annually
Two Vets Married$3,649 Monthly – $43,791 Annually

Criteria for Aid & AttendanceThere are various factors involved. The eligibility criteria include:

  • Whether the veteran served during wartime. The eligible war periods are as follows:

World War II: December 7, 1941 – December 31, 1946, inclusive. If the veteran was in service on December 31, 1946, continuous service before July 26, 1947, is considered World War II service.

Korean conflict: June 27, 1950 – January 31, 1955, inclusive.

Vietnam War era: November 1, 1955, to May 7, 1975, for Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period. August 5, 1964, to May 7, 1975, for Veterans who served outside the Republic of Vietnam.

Persian Gulf War: August 2, 1990, through date to be prescribed by Presidential proclamation or law.Other criteria include:

  • Does the veteran or his surviving spouse require the aid, standby assistance, or guidance of another person with two or more of the following activities of living: bathing, dressing, mobility, eating or toileting. In the case of dementia, this can include reminding/supervision with two of these activities.
  • The care can be provided by outside caregivers or family caregivers (other than the spouse) or a combination thereof, assisted living, a board and care home, day care or a private-pay nursing home.  The caregivers do not have to be licensed.  It is important that the care is documented correctly and it’s best to have a professional help you in this regard, as otherwise too often people get denied or receive a fraction of the full benefit.  Essentially this benefit is to help reimburse for the cost of caregiving or a care facility.
  • Income versus their care plan/costs.
  • Net worth (not including the house or car).

However, it’s not a matter of simply sending in a form, nor do the VA forms themselves clarify who is eligible or how to get approved nor how to maximize the benefit.  It’s also vital to know how to get everything set up and documented correctly.American Veterans Aid has been successfully helping people get approved for this benefit for over 11 years.  Our team includes a VA Accredited Claims Agent.  Per the Department of Veterans Affairs, “An accredited representative is an individual who has undergone a formal application and training process and is recognized by VA as being capable of assisting claimants with their affairs before VA.” If you are looking into a long-term care benefit for a war era veteran or their spouse, contact us for a free consultation and to learn more. Call 877-427-8065 or click here.