What is the Aid & Attendance Benefit?
Adult children often overlook an important resource when determining how to finance a senior loved one’s move to an assisted living community. If your aging parent is a veteran or the surviving spouse of one, the Veteran’s Administration has a financial assistance program you need to explore. That program is the Aid & Attendance Benefit.
The benefit amounts change each year or two as determined by Congress. If the veteran meets the program’s eligibility requirements, the current yearly maximum award can be as much as:
- $21,446 for the veteran
- $25,448 for a veteran with one spouse or dependent
- $2,198 for each additional dependent child
- $13,794 for the surviving spouse of a qualifying veteran
Qualifying for the Aid & Attendance Benefit
The qualification process can be a bit overwhelming for families. Awards are based on conditions that include the time of service, as well as the veteran’s needs, financial situation and health condition.
First, to even be considered for the benefit, the veteran must have at least 90 days of active military service with at least one day falling within a period of war. The Veteran’s Administration currently defines wartimes as:
- World War I (April 6, 1917 – November 11, 1918)
- World War II (December 7, 1941 – December 31, 1946)
- Korean conflict (June 27, 1950 – January 31, 1955)
- Vietnam era (February 28, 1961 – May 7, 1975 for Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period; otherwise August 5, 1964 – May 7, 1975)
- Gulf War (August 2, 1990 – through a future date to be set by law or Presidential Proclamation)
If the veteran meets the military service requirement, the next criteria that must be met relates to the veteran or their spouse’s health condition. The Veteran’s Administration regulation states:
- 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
The final hurdle the veteran or their surviving spouse must clear is determining if they are financially eligible. Some financial eligibility conditions are predicted to change in March of 2016. Currently, the veteran’s yearly combined family income and net worth must be within guidelines established each year by Congress.
To learn more about financial programs your senior loved one may qualify for, we invite you to visit Paying for Senior Care. We share information on a variety of senior living funding options in this online resource center.