Posted on Monday, November 28, 2011

The little-known Veterans Aid and Attendance Pension (A & A) may be a source of financial assistance for your senior loved one and may allow you to receive extra dollars for care. Veterans, and their spouse (or widow/widower,) may qualify for this benefit to help cover the cost of senior care including in-home care, assisted living or nursing home care. The pension ranges are approximately $1,600 per month for a veteran, about $1,000 per month for a surviving spouse, or $1,900 per month for a couple.

Eligibility for A & A:

A veteran (or their surviving spouse) may be eligible for A & A if:

1. The veteran (or surviving spouse) requires the assistance of another person in order to perform personal functions required in every day living such as bathing, feeding, dressing, toileting, adjusting prosthetic devices, or protecting themselves from the hazards of their daily environment; or,

2. The veteran (or surviving spouse) is bedridden, in that their disability or disabilities requires that they remain in bed apart from any prescribed course of convalescence or treatment.

Qualifications for A & A Pension:

To receive the A & A Pension, a veteran must meet these qualifications:

1. Served on active duty, at least 90 days, during a period of war.

2. There must be an honorable discharge.

3. If younger than 65, the veteran must be totally disabled.

4. If age 65 and older, there is no requirement for disability (there is no disability requirement for a single surviving spouse.)

There are income and asset restrictions to qualify for the A & A benefit. The veteran household cannot have income (adjusted for un-reimbursed medical expenses) exceeding the Maximum Allowable Pension Rate (MAPR) for that veteran’s Pension income category. If the adjusted income exceeds MAPR, there is no benefit. If adjusted income is less than the MAPR, the veteran receives a Pension income that is equal to the difference between MAPR and the household income adjusted for un-reimbursed medical expenses. The Pension income is calculated, based on 12 months of future household income, but paid monthly.

Filing a claim can be complicated and time-consuming. It is beneficial to get assistance through a qualified veteran’s aid and attendance benefit consultant or an elder care attorney. Utilizing their services can make the process much easier, and possibly result in a quicker response from the Veteran’s Administration regarding your claim. You can also contact your local Veteran’s Administration office to speak with their representative about the A & A pension for guidelines and information about the program. Typically the process can take several months to complete.

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