Aid and Attendance Benefit Types
Those Currently Receiving VA Pension may still be Eligible for Aid and Attendance
For those who served in the US military during a time of war and now need help living their daily lives, there are benefits available from the Veterans Administration. Likewise, spouses of deceased veterans may also be eligible for benefits.
Although many people are familiar with Aid and Attendance, they are surprised to learn that Aid and Attendance can be used in congruence with other VA benefits. Depending on a veteran’s current financial picture, their medical need, and their current military pension type, there are different types of aid available.
VA Aid and Attendance Benefits as an Increase to VA Pension
For those who are eligible for monthly VA pension, Aid and Attendance may be available in the form of an increased pension benefit. To qualify for increased pension benefits you must meet some of the following requirements:
- You must require help in performing basic activities of daily living. These activities include bathing, feeding, dressing, using the bathroom, applying or adjusting prosthetic devices, and transferring.
- Being bedridden is also a qualifier, meaning a person is required to stay in bed for most or all day, when they are not receiving their treatment, physical therapy, etc.
- You are currently a patient in an assisted living facility/nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity.
- You have a visual impairment. In this case, visual impairment means visual acuity of 5/200 or less in both eyes.
- Your field of vision is limited to less than 5 degrees for whatever some.
Benefits will differ between those with dependents or a living spouse and those without. In general, maximum pension benefits will proceed as follows:
If you do not have any dependents and qualify for aid and attendance benefits, your maximum annual pension rate will be around $23,238.
Those with one dependent who qualify for aid and attendance benefits can expect to receive a maximum annual pension rate of around $27,549.
If you happen to be in a relationship where two veterans are married to one another and both are eligible for aid and attendance benefits, you will qualify for a maximum annual pension rate of around $36,861.
VA Aid and Attendance Benefits as Special Monthly Compensation
Special monthly compensation benefits are additional benefits that may be paid to veterans with a service-connected disability. Special monthly compensation is a higher monthly rate of compensation paid to those with special medical needs who require additional funds.
This is a good option for veterans who are already receiving disability compensation, but now find themselves at the Aid and Attendance level of care described above. It is worth noting, this benefit can be paid to veterans who have a service-connected disability but are not at the 100% level. Generally, if someone is at least 30% disabled in accordance with VA standards, they will be eligible for Aid and Attendance as special monthly compensation. This is paid on the same basis as the need for aid and attendance for a veteran who served during wartime.
Those with a severe disability or the loss of a limb may receive increased payments on top of pension increases. You may also expect to receive higher compensation if you have a spouse, child, or dependent parent, and your combined disability rating is 30% or higher.
Finally, if you have a spouse with a serious disability, or have multiple dependent children, you may be entitled to additional compensation. These are all things to consider if you consult with a certified claims agent, who will help make sure you are receiving the maximum benefit you are eligible for.
VA Aid and Attendance Benefits for a Disabled Dependent Spouse
For veterans with a service-connected disability rating of 30% or higher, with a spouse that needs VA Aid and Attendance benefits for their own use, there may be a possibility for an increased pension amount. The following requirements are to be met by anyone seeking to take advantage of increased benefits:
- A spouse must be blind, meaning that they have visual acuity of 5/200 or less in both eyes even with the aid of glasses or contacts. This can also mean a reduced visual field to 5 degrees or less.
- A spouse must be a resident in a nursing home because of physical or mental disability.
- A spouse must show a physical need for benefits based on the Aid and Attendance level described above.
Likewise, if you have an adult child with a developmental disability or physical disability, or a dependent minor child with disabilities, they may be eligible under the same criteria as well.
VA Aid and Attendance Benefits in Addition to Dependency and Indemnity Compensation
For widowed spouses collecting Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), who have a disabled dependent with a need for care, the dependent may qualify for Aid and Attendance.
Also, if you are the parent of a servicemember and you receive DIC, but now need care, you may qualify for Aid and Attendance benefits in addition to your dependency and indemnity compensation.
The requirements for this form of aid are entirely identical to those required of someone with a living disabled spouse with the addition of currently receiving DIC. Dependent children may also be eligible for an increase in their own DIC assistance if they show a need for Aid and Attendance.