Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Are You Aware of the VA Aid & Attendance Benefit?

If you are taking care of an elderly loved one who requires home care, then you are surely well aware of the financial difficulties that this care has the potential to cause. Paying for home care can become a burden, but there is a benefit offered by the Veterans Administration that many people are unaware of. It is called the Aid and Attendance benefit.
Considered as part of an "Improved Pension," this benefit allows Veterans and their spouses to receive additional funds if they are in need of senior care assistance. The VA defines this assistance as requiring "the regular attendance of another person to assist in eating, bathing, dressing, undressing, medication dosing, or taking care of the needs of nature." Qualification to receive the benefit requires a physician's statement that a Veteran or their spouse is in need of assistance and cannot function without aid.
This benefit is not only applicable to home care, as it is also available to Veterans and their spouses who are patients in nursing homes, are blind, or are living in an assisted living facility. Furthermore, this benefit is not related to injuries or compensation pertinent to active military activity, it is considered a pension benefit. Currently, Veterans are allowed up to $1,632 per month and their spouses are allowed up to $1,055 per month. Veteran and spousal care is allowed up to $1,949 per month, though these figures are subject to change.
To apply for the Aid and Attendance Pension benefit, individuals will need to fill out the proper forms. These include: Form 21-534 (for a surviving spouse), Form 21-526 (for a Veteran), a copy of DD-214, separation papers (if applicable), a medical evaluation, summary of current medical problems, net worth limitations, net income, and out-of-pocket medical expenses.
Although this may not be enough money to cover monthly senior care expenses, it is certain to be a welcome addition to the budgets of Veterans, their spouses, and their caretakers who were not aware that they are eligible for this benefit. Proper care is certainly worth the expense, but this benefit may make these expenses more manageable.
 For more information about the Aid and Attendance benefit, please visit

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