If you are a war-era veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces and seeking special assistance for senior housing or senior care, help is available through the Veterans Administration’s Aid and Attendance benefit. As part of the “Improved Pension,” this program allows veterans and their surviving spouses to receive additional money if they need regular help with everyday living.
About Aid and Attendance for Veterans
One of the benefits of having served your country is being eligible for programs such as this. To receive this tax-free aid, you don’t need to have a service-related injury. The aid can help pay for care while at home or in a nursing home or assisted care facility.
Care covered by Aid and Attendance includes help with:
– Medication management
The aid also covers men and women who are bedridden, blind, or in a nursing home because of a physical or mental limitation. Assisted care in an assisted living facility also qualifies. Veterans sometimes overlook this pension program because they are still independent and able-bodied but have a spouse who needs care. If this is the case and your spouse’s medical expenses deplete your combined monthly income, you can file as a veteran with an ill spouse.
Eligibility for Aid and Attendance
Under the Aid and Attendance pension benefit, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:
– Served at least 90 days of active duty with at least one day during wartime.
– Cannot have a dishonorable discharge.
– A surviving spouse must have been married to a war-era veteran at the time of his or her passing.
– Need assistance from another person to perform daily living activities.
– Meet income and countable asset criteria.
– Are 65 years old or older or are completely disabled.
Financially, as a veteran, you are eligible for up to $1,788 per month in Aid and Attendance, while your surviving spouse can receive up to $1,149 a month. You and your spouse together are eligible for up to $2,120, and a veteran with an ill spouse is eligible for up to $1,406 per month.
Eligible Periods of War
Aid and Attendance is granted only to war-era veterans. They must have served during the following wartimes:
– World War II: December 7, 1941, through December 31, 1946, extended to July 25, 1947, when continuous with active duty on or before December 31, 1946.
– Korean Conflict: June 27, 1950, through January 31, 1955.
– Vietnam Era: August 5, 1964, through May 7, 1975. However, February 28, 1961, through May 7, 1975, for a veteran who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period.
– Persian Gulf War: August 2, 1990, through a date to be prescribed by presidential proclamation or law.
Congress has not enacted legislation that would make the periods covering the 1983-1984 Lebanon crisis or the invasions of Grenada and Panama wartime service.
Learn more about Aid and Attendance from the VA’s pension site.
What questions do you have about senior housing? Share them in the comments below. Mary Beth Adomaitis answers readers’ questions once a month in our Ask After55.com feature. Look for the next Ask After55.com column Nov. 28.