Are you a veteran, the surviving spouse of a veteran, or a dependent of a veteran? If so, you may be entitled to a number of valuable and helpful benefits from the United States government. Many of the benefits you are likely already aware of, such as assistance with education and medical expenses and low-interest rate mortgage loans. One benefit of which you may not be aware, however, is the Veteran’s Aid & Attendance, or VA&A, benefits. As you probably already know, navigating the eligibility guidelines and application procedures for any type of veteran’s benefit can be time-consuming and frustrating. With that in mind, the Veterans benefits attorneys at Kulas & Crawford would like to offer some basic information about the little-known Veteran’s Aid & Attendance program.
What Is the VA&A Program?
The Veteran’s Aid & Attendance program is intended to provide additional monetary assistance, above and beyond that provided by other VA programs such as the VA pension program. The additional assistance is intended to help cover the cost of someone to help you with daily tasks of living, such as dressing, bathing, or cooking.
Am I Eligible for VA&A?
You may qualify for Veteran’s Aid and Attendance benefits if you are a veteran, or survivor, who is eligible for a VA pension and you require the “aid and attendance” of another person on a regular basis. If you are housebound you may also be eligible for additional monetary benefits each month.
To be eligible for VA&A benefits, the following must apply:
- You must be eligible for pension or, if you are a surviving spouse you must be eligible for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, or DIC.
- In addition, one of the following must apply:
- You require the aid of another person in order to perform personal functions required in everyday living, such as bathing, feeding, dressing, attending to the wants of nature, adjusting prosthetic devices, or protecting yourself from the hazards of your daily environment.
- You are bedridden, in that your disability or disabilities requires that you remain in bed apart from any prescribed course of convalescence or treatment.
- You are a patient in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity
- Your eyesight is limited to a corrected 5/200 visual acuity or less in both eyes, or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less.
- You must be at least 65 or officially disabled if younger.
- Veterans must be considered “wartime veterans” meaning they served at least 90 days and served at least 1 day during the wartime dates below, but not necessarily in combat.
- World War II: Dec 7, 1941 – Dec 31, 1946
- Korean War: Jun 27, 1950 – Jan 31, 1955
- Vietnam War: Aug 5, 1964 – May 7, 1975 (or Feb 28, 1961 – May 7, 1975 for Veterans who served in Vietnam)
- Gulf War: Aug 2, 1990 – Undetermined
- You, or your spouse, cannot have been dishonorably discharged.
- You are not required to be disabled; however, a higher benefit is available to those who are disabled.
- If you are a surviving spouse, you must have been living with the veteran at the time of their death and must be single at the time of claim.
- You must also not exceed the current income limit which is subject to change each year.
What Are Housebound Benefits?
Housebound benefits are similar to Aid and Attendance benefits but require a beneficiary to be substantially confined to his or her immediate premises because of a permanent disability. Typically, you will be required to provide supporting documentation, such as a report from your attending physician or a report from a long-term care facility, indicating that you suffer from a physical and/or mental impairment to the extent that you need assistance from someone outside your home to be able to complete these simple daily tasks.
How Do I Apply for VA & A Benefits?
To apply for VA&A benefits you can write to the Pension Management Center (PMC) serving your state, the address of which can be located on the VA website. You can also apply by visiting your local regional benefit office.
Contact Kulas & Crawford’s Veteran’s Benefits Attorneys
For more information, please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions or concerns regarding veterans benefits, contact the experienced Veterans benefits attorneys at Kulas & Crawford by calling (772) 398-0720 to schedule an appointment.