Are you a veteran or surviving beneficiary of a veteran overwhelmed with the costs associated with long-term care? The VA Basic Monthly, Aid and Attendance, and Housebound Pensions can be used to mitigate these costs, such as paying for Home Health, Assisted Living Facilities, Nursing Facilities, or Skilled Nursing Facilities.
Also, most individuals are unaware that VA Pensions can be used to pay a family member (other than the veteran’s spouse) who is providing care for the veteran or a surviving beneficiary.
There are no charges to apply for or to enroll in a VA Pension. Veterans benefits advisers are prohibited by law from charging their clients for their assistance with the application. However, they may charge clients for assistance with the financial planning involved in preparation for the application.
There are general requirements other than financial, which must be met by the veteran or their surviving spouse.
Age – Veterans or their surviving spouses must be at least 65 or officially disabled if younger.
Period of Military Service: Veterans must have served in an active wartime period to be considered eligible. This means they had to have served a minimum of 90 days with at least 1 day of that period occurring during the wartime dates listed below, but not necessarily in an combat situation.
- 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
Discharge Status: Veterans cannot have been dishonorably discharged.
Disability Status: Veterans are eligible without a disability, but a higher benefit is available to those who are disabled.
Basic Pension / Improved Income: Healthy veterans over the age of 65 with low incomes. No disability requirement for eligibility.
Aid & Attendance (A&A) Pension: Veterans or their surviving spouses over the age of 65 that require assistance of another person to aid with their activities of daily living at home or in an Assisted Living Facility, Nursing Facility or Skilled Nursing Facility. This care does not need to be related to their military service.
Housebound Pension: Veterans with a disability rating of 100% that prevents them from leaving their home, but does not have to be related to their military service. Again, the disability does not need to be service connected.
Marriage Rules: A surviving spouse must have been living with the veteran at the time of their death and must be single at time of claim.
There are also both income and asset limits for the Basic Monthly, Aid & Attendance, and Housebound Pensions.
*Important: It does not mean you are ineligible or cannot become eligible for VA Pensions if you do not meet the asset criteria. However, falling within the asset limits does not mean you automatically qualify either. The Department of Veterans Affairs has instituted a 36 month look-back period to identify potential transfers of assets etc. These penalties could disqualify an individual if the total amount of the transfers added to their current assets would elevate their total assets above the asset threshold.
As with Medicaid, there are many asset planning techniques used to qualify for VA Pensions. However, VA policies and regulations are complex and should not be undertaken without the help of a professional.
Please be aware that the Aid & Attendance and Housebound Pensions supplement the basic monthly pension. An individual MUST meet both the financial and non-financial requirements of the base pension to be eligible for either of these benefits.
Also, please be aware of potential eligibility conflicts between pensions and other assistance from the Department of Veterans Affairs and / or other government programs.
- Veterans can receive the higher amount of the VA Disability Compensation and VA Aid and Attendance Pension, but not both.
- A Surviving Spouse can qualify for an additional benefit if they are receiving Dependents Indemnity Compensation (DIC) and need assistance with their activities of daily living, but CANNOT receive both DIC and a death pension on the same veteran.
- Income assistance received from the Aid & Attendance benefit may exceed the maximum allowable amount of monthly income to receive Medicaid assistance in an Assisted Living, Nursing Facility or Skilled Nursing Facility. However, each state has implemented methods for reducing income for Medicaid purposes to qualify for the HCBS services at home or in an Assisted Living Facility, a Medicaid CAP in Iowa that can be addressed with planning services and a Medicaid Spend Down in Nebraska. Also, the Department of Veterans Affairs will reduce the pension amount to $90.00 in Nursing and Skilled Nursing facilities. The new pension amount is viewed as exempted income in this instance and added to the Personal Needs Allowance allowed in Iowa and Nebraska, which the applicant keeps for their personal needs.
Questions about VA Basic Monthly, Aid and Attendance or Housebound Pensions?
Simply fill out the contact form or call us at (712) 746-7700 for your FREE consultation today!. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and develop a plan that is right for you.