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Aid and Attendance—Monthly Payments for Aging Veterans and Their Spouses

The VA administers three pension programs for aging veterans and their spouses: the Basic Pension, Aid and Attendance, and Housebound. This piece only addresses Aid and Attendance (“A & A”), the program paying the largest monthly benefit amount. For 2020, Aid and Attendance monthly benefits are $1,230 for the veteran’s spouse; $1,912 for a veteran with no dependents; $2,266 for a veteran with a spouse. The only “string attached” to these benefits: the money must be used only for the benefit of the veteran and/or the spouse. The money can be used toward home or adult day care services; to pay for adaptations to help the disabled veteran/spouse live at home; pay for assisted living; and, skilled nursing home care. The money can be used to pay a family member, other than a spouse, for home care.

 

To qualify, the veteran or the veteran’s spouse must be at least 65. The veteran must have served at least 90 days and served at least one day during a period of war. The veteran cannot have been dishonorably discharged. For A & A, the veteran must need help with Activities of Daily Living (“ADLs”) at home. ADLs include dressing, bathing, eating, toileting, and transferring. For a surviving spouse to qualify, the spouse must have been living with the veteran at the time of his/her death and must be single at the time of claim. The asset and income requirements are usually easily solved.

 

To get started, the veteran/spouse can contact the veteran’s counselor in the town of residence. This approach takes over a year and will cost the veteran/spouse nothing. Alternatively, the veteran/spouse can contact a professional who will charge for the services and obtain results sooner. When help with ADLs arises, it is important to do your research and get started immediately with the application process.