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Aid and Attendance for Veterans

Aid and Attendance is an aspect of government benefits for veterans and their spouses (or surviving spouses who) require assistance from another individual with performing activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, eating, tending to the call of nature, adjusting prosthetics and medication management. Qualifying veterans (and spouses) with a VA pension who are housebound or bedridden in need of in-home care and those who or are in a nursing home or assisted living facility may use these benefits to help cover related costs.

What are Aid and Attendance Benefits?

Aid and Attendance benefits include monetary compensation to qualified veterans and their spouses in addition to their standard VA pension benefits. However, one must be eligible for or have a VA pension in place to receive Aid and Attendance benefits. These benefits are designed to help veterans who need financial assistance and cover both in-home and facility care costs associated with assisting the recipient in performing routine tasks.

How Much are Aid and Attendance Benefits for Veterans?

When determining how much a qualifying family will receive for attendance and aid benefits, it largely relies on the number of dependents the veteran or recipient has. Here are the most recent facts and figures concerning aid and attendance benefits for qualifying veterans and their surviving spouses.

Pension — Maximum Annual Pension Rates (MAPR) 2016-17

For a Living Veteran Yearly    Monthly
Without Spouse or Child $12,907 $1,075
Medical Deduction $645 $54
With One Dependent $16,902 $1,408
Medical Deduction $845 $70
Housebound No Dependents $15,773 $1,314
Medical Deduction $645 $54
Housebound With One Dependent $19,770 $1,647
Medical Deduction $645 $70
Aid and Attendance No Dependents $21,531 $1,794
Medical Deduction $645 $54
Aid and Attendance With One Dependent $25,525 $2,127
Medical Deduction $845 $70
Add for Each Additional Child $2,205 $183

Death Pension — Maximum Annual Pension Rates (MAPR) 2016-17

For a Surviving Spouse Yearly Monthly
Without Dependent Child $8,656 $721
Medical Deduction $433 $36
With One Dependent Child $11,330 $944
Medical Deduction $566 $47
Housebound Without Dependents $10,580 $881
Medical Deduction $566 $47
Housebound With One Dependent $13,249 $1,104
Medical Deduction $566 $47
Aid and Attendance Without Dependents $13,836 $1,153
Medical Deduction $566 $36
Aid and Attendance With One Dependent $16,506 $1,417
Medical Deduction $566 $47
Add for Each Additional Child $2,205

How Do I Apply for Aid and Attendance and What Forms Do I Need?

There are two primary ways to apply for Aid and Attendance Benefits. One is by contacting the Pension Management Center that services your particular state. Alternately, you can personally visit your local Veterans Affairs Benefits Office to file a formal request for Aid and Attendance or homebound benefits. To streamline the process, it’s advisable to bring along any official military documents showing your enlistment period, current status, and anything related to injuries sustained during or after your military service. Most importantly, bring along any medical reports for attending physicians to validate your case and to specifically evidence and  indicate your needs, such as those who are homebound or have mobility issues.

How Do I Determine My Eligibility for Aid and Attendance Benefits?

A Veteran or their spouses eligibility for Aid and Attendance is evaluated from two standpoints: general qualifications and financial qualifications.

General Eligibility Requirements for Aid and Attendance Benefits

These qualifications must all be met by the veteran or the surviving spouse and include:

  1. Age — Applicants must be officially disabled or 65 years or older.
  2. Military Service Period — Veterans need to have served at least 90 of duty and at least one of those must be considered during wartime, however this time of service need not be amid combat.
  3. Discharge Status — Veterans dishonorably discharged are disqualified from benefits.
  4. Disability Status — While benefits are available to non-disabled veterans, higher benefits are available to those who are.
  5. Marriage Rules — Surviving spouses must reside with the qualifying veteran at their time of death and cannot be remarried when making a claim.
  6. Need for Assistance — The recipient must be in need of assistance with daily activities in the home or other qualifying facility. Housebound aid claims require the beneficiary to have a 100% disability rating that keeps them homebound.

Financial Eligibility Requirements for Aid and Attendance

There are income and asset limitations for veterans to receive their basic pension and also concerning secondary benefits such as Housebound and Aid and Attendance. The applying veteran and spouse's combined countable income needs to be less than the amount of their pension eligibility. Applicants can deduct all medical expenses that are greater than 5 percent of the Maximum Annual Pension Rate (MAPR) when calculating their total income to submit to submit on the application.

Can Veterans Spouses Receive Aid and Attendance Benefits?

As mentioned previously, qualifying spouses can receive aid and attendance benefits. Surviving spouses receiving Dependents Indemnity Compensation (DIC) can qualify for an additional $300 per month in benefits if they require daily assistance. However, there are a few stipulations that surviving spouses should be aware of. Spouses cannot receive both Housebound benefits and Aid and Attendance benefits simultaneously. Furthermore, surviving spouses cannot concurrently receive both a death pension and DIC on the same veterans benefits.

Are Aid and Attendance Benefits Taxable?

In short, Aid and Attendance Benefits are not to be declared on annual income tax returns. It's important to note that veterans should not include in their income declaration ANY type of non-taxable veterans benefits payments associated with the Department of Veterans Affairs. These include:

  • Training, education and subsistence allowances
  • Disability compensation or disability pension allowances
  • Grants for specialized vehicles or home improvements for veterans with disabilities
  • Veteran related insurance dividends and proceeds
  • Benefits received under dependent care programs
  • Payments received under the veterans compensated work therapy program

More information concerning veterans benefits taxation policies is available at the Internal Revenue Service website.

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