A Guide to Veteran’s Aid and Attendance Planning

Posted by John Crow | Aug 21, 2020 | 0 Comments

An important component of estate planning is to make sure that medical decisions and concerns are addressed. These measures can include crafting a power of attorney, reviewing assets, and might even include applying for Veteran's Aid and Assistance to defray the high medical costs that are associated with long term medical care. Veteran's Aid & Attendance can be a valuable component of your plan.  

What is Veteran's Aid and Attendance?

Veteran's Aid & Attendance is a cash add-on to the Veterans and Surviving Spouses Pension that qualifying candidates can receive to help with the cost of assistance for daily activities. These activities include: 

  • Dressing 
  • Eating 
  • Bathing 
  • Mobility 

Essentially, Veteran's Aid & Attendance is a special monthly pension specifically designed to assist with long-term care costs, especially for in-home care, assisted living, skilled nursing, or costs of adult daycare.  

How Does It Differ From Basic Pension and Housebound?  

Basic Veteran's Pension 

The basic veteran's pension program provides wartime veterans who meet certain qualifications regular monthly payments of income. The VA website offers a clear outline of the requirements to receive this pension. The key to Veteran's Aid & Attendance is that it's added on to the Basic Pension. 

Housebound Allowance  

If a veteran or spouse is housebound due to a disability that is not service-related, they may qualify for a Housebound Allowance. They would need to have a single permanent disability that was evaluated as 100%. Additionally, they would need to show that because of that disability they are permanently and substantially confined to the home. If they are not permanently and substantially confined to the house, they must have another disability that is evaluated as 60% or greater. To be clear, individuals are not able to receive both the Housebound Allowance and the Veteran's Aid & Attendance Benefit.  

What Are the General Requirements in Order to Qualify?  

There are a few different types of requirements to qualify for Veteran's Aid & Attendance. It's possible to break it down into three main areas: service requirements, medical requirements, and financial requirements. The VA website has a good outline of the eligibility requirements for the service and financial components, but we'll still go over them briefly, here.  

Service Requirements

To apply for Veteran's Aid & Attendance, a vet must meet the general service requirements. In brief:  

  • The Veteran must have served at least one day during a period of wartime, as well as a minimum of 90 days of active duty. Eligible periods of wartime include World War II (December 7, 1941 – December 31, 1946), Korean War (June 27, 1950 – January 31, 1955), Vietnam War (February 28, 1961 – May 7, 1975, for those in Vietnam, otherwise August 5, 1964  – May 7, 1975), and Gulf War (August 2, 1990 – undetermined end date).  
  • The Veteran must have not been dishonorably discharged. 
  • If it is the surviving spouse applying for a pension, they must have been living in the same household as the Veteran at the time of their death. In addition, the surviving spouse must be single when they file a pension claim. 
  • The Veteran or surviving spouse must be a minimum of 65 years old OR under 65 years old and officially disabled OR reside in a nursing home OR receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) OR receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI)  

Medical Requirements

The most important component to medical requirements is that the application must include a doctor's note detailing the medical need for assistance. To qualify, a veteran generally needs to have at least two daily living activities where they require assistance.  

Financial Requirements

To qualify for the VA Aid & Attendance pension, a veteran or surviving spouse's countable income must fall underneath the below maximum annual pension rates (MAPR) dictated by the VA. Although the amounts might seem low, veterans and their surviving spouses can deduct unreimbursed medical expenses.  


As an example, if a veteran and his spouse had $10,000 of countable income, they would qualify for $17,194 in Aid & Attendance.   

VA Pension Maximum Annual Pension Rate –  

Effective Dec. 1, 2019- November 30, 2020 

 

Maximum Basic Pension 

Maximum  

Aid & Attendance 

Maximum Housebound 

Veteran without a spouse or child 

$13,752 

$22,938 

$16,805 

Veteran with a dependent spouse or child 

$18,008 

$27,194 

$21,063 

Surviving spouse without a dependent child 

$9,223 

$14,761 

$11,273 

 

A second consideration is net worth limits. Net worth limits are currently $129,094; They are calculated by adding countable income and a veteran's assets, not including their home, a vehicle, up to 2 acres of land that the home sits on, personal items, and home furnishings. It can be helpful to speak with a professional who can assist with reallocating assets, if necessary.   

Contact Us 

Your legacy is important and at Crow Estate Planning and Probate, we are here to protect what matters to you most. If you have questions regarding Veteran's Aid and Attendance planning give us a call today. We are happy to provide assistance to you.  

About the Author

John Crow

John Crow is the founder of Crow Estate Planning and Probate, PLC, a boutique law firm with offices in Clarksville, Tennessee and Hopkinsville, Kentucky. He has extensive experience in guiding people through the important and often complex decisions surrounding wills, trusts, probate, conservatorships, and business formations.

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