Veterans Day honors all those who have served in the US military. Originally known as Armistice Day, this federal holiday also marks the end of World War I on the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month of 1918.

At Brian M. Douglas & Associates, we greatly respect and value those who have served our country. We believe that veterans deserve peace of mind knowing that their life’s work and loved ones will be protected. We’re happy to work with veterans on estate plans and figuring out the best options for long-term care.

Veterans Affairs Aid & Attendance

More than 25 million US veterans are eligible for benefits from the US Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). However, many mistakenly believe that they’re only entitled to benefits if they were wounded in service. As a result, many veterans struggle to pay for their care, while battling disability or chronic conditions.

The VA offers wartime veterans and their spouses a pension benefit known as the VA Aid & Attendance. The special monthly pension can help with long-term care costs such as home care, assisted living facility fees, or nursing home services. Aid & Attendance is not a stand-alone benefit; it’s awarded on top of the VA service or housebound benefit.

Qualifying for VA Aid & Attendance

It can be challenging for a veteran to qualify for VA Aid & Attendance (especially after significant changes made to the program in 2018). Basic eligibility is based on the veteran’s service, income, and other asset requirements. Some veterans and their families may want to start planning now, so they can meet the requirements in the future, if needed.

  • For a single veteran requiring care, they may be eligible for as much as $1,936 per month. The veteran can have no more than $130,773 in total assets, including retirement assets. This does not include a home or vehicle.
  • For a married veteran requiring care, the veteran is eligible for as much as $2,295 per month. They cannot have more than $130,773 in total assets, including retirement assets. This does not include a home or vehicle.
  • For a surviving spouse of a veteran who requires care, they are eligible for as much as $1,244 per month. The spouse cannot have more than $130,773 in total assets, including retirement assets, but excluding a home and vehicle.

There is no specific limit on income for VA Aid & Attendance benefits. The VA will look at the applicant’s gross income, minus any unpaid medical expenses. The VA also has a 36-month “look back” period to see if the applicant has recently given away any major assets.

Application Timeline

If the applicant meets the above financial criteria, they may begin the application process. This can be lengthy and complicated. In addition to the application itself, the VA also requires a multitude of supporting documentation, such as military discharge papers, bank statements, marriage certificates, divorce decrees, or death certificates. Once the applicant files their application with the VA, it may take the department anywhere from six to nine months to process the paperwork. If approved, the Aid & Attendance benefits will be retroactive to the month the application was submitted.

Have Questions? Contact Brian M. Douglas & Associates

For veterans who need extra income to pay for care, VA Aid & Attendance can be a valuable resource. However, the application process can seem a little daunting. At Brian M. Douglas & Associates, we can help answer any questions you may have about VA Aid & Attendance. Our firm can also help you understand what other options are available, such as Medicare, and how veterans and their families can access some underutilized state and federal benefits. To schedule a consultation, you can reach us at (770) 933-9009 or via our online contact page. We’d be happy to help.