Benefits for Service MEmbers
If you are a veteran who served on active duty in the military for ninety (90) days with at least one (1) day during wartime, then you (and your surviving spouse) may be entitled to a benefit through the VA called Aid and Attendance to help with your long-term care needs. This special pension is intended to provide financial assistance for veterans (or their surviving spouses) who need a regular caregiver’s “aid and attendance.” Although the Aid and Attendance pension has been available to veterans and their surviving spouses for over sixty (60) years, not many veterans are aware it exists.
If you need help with activities of daily living such as bathing, feeding, dressing, grooming, and caring for yourself, the VA will pay a monthly pension of up to $2,050.00 per month for single veterans, up to $2,431.00 for married veterans, and up to $1,318.00 for a surviving spouse. An individual does not have to suffer from a service-related disability to get this benefit; however, a veteran must meet specific financial criteria to qualify. As a general rule, to be financially eligible for the Aid and Attendance benefit, a veteran cannot have a net worth of more than $138,489.00 in countable resources.
Aid and Attendance vs. Medicaid
What You Need to Know
There are several differences between the Aid and Attendance benefit and the Medicaid long-term care benefit. Unlike Medicaid, the Aid and Attendance benefit can be used to pay for in-home care, not just nursing home care. You can also use the Aid and Attendance benefit to pay your children or relatives to care for you. Also, the Aid and Attendance benefit is not subject to estate recovery, nor does it have to be repaid to the government upon the recipient’s death.
As of October 2018, the Aid and Attendance benefit is subject to a 36-month look-back period (vs. a 60-month look-back period for Medicaid), meaning that the government will review all asset transfers 36 months prior to your VA application to make sure that you did not gift or transfer assets for less than they were worth in order to bring your net worth below the maximum limit for eligibility.