Veterans with low income and high medical expenses may be eligible for monthly tax-free cash payments from the VA through the Aid and Attendance program. The payments are substantial, and range from approximately $1,250 per month for a single surviving spouse of a veteran, to more than $2,200 for a married veteran. These payments can be used for anything the applicant needs, and can often help keep a veteran at home using home health care, or allow a veteran to move into and stay in an assisted living facility. The additional cash can also allow a veteran or the veteran’s spouse to remain in the home. The eligibility requirements for the program are laid out in federal regulations and families should plan ahead to meet them if possible.
The benefits are based on a person qualifying as a “veteran,” which for purposes of the VA is someone who (provided they served before about 1980) served 90 days active duty, with at least one of those days during a period of wartime. The periods of wartime are described in federal regulations. The service member must also be discharged under circumstances that are not dishonorable – most service members receive an honorable discharge and that is fine. Provided the veteran qualifies on service, the VA looks to asset and income eligibility. The asset limit since 2018 has been definitively established and as of 2021 is approximately $130,000, whether the application is for a single veteran, a married veteran, or a surviving spouse of a veteran. The veteran’s home and a car do not count. The VA income limit is however much the benefit is the applicant is seeking, but the VA allows deductions from income for any deductible medical expenses. There is a three-year lookback on transfers, which is also a significant restriction that the VA has implemented since 2018. The VA has greatly reduced the processing times for these applications in recent months, so families looking to qualify for this benefit should move as quickly as possible to apply for it.
The firm’s attorneys are accredited by the VA to handle those applications. Federal law prohibits accredited individuals from charging to prepare the VA Aid and Attendance application, and if Archer Law Office has the opportunity to prepare the application as part of additional legal planning, the staff is happy to do so as a service to the community.