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 $1,100 per month for a single surviving spouse of a veteran, to over $2,000 for a married veteran. These payments can be used for anything the applicant needs, and in this context often means home health care or assisted living care. The additional cash can allow a veteran or the veteran’s spouse to remain in the home, or to extend the time spent in an assisted living facility. 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 via statute. The servicemember must also be discharged under circumstances that are not dishonorable – most servicemembers receive an honorable discharge and that qualifies. Provided there is a veteran, the VA looks to asset and income eligibility. Generally speaking, the VA requires that a servicemember have less than $80,000 in assets, although a house and a car do not count. The applicant’s income is reduced by any deductible medical expenses, which can increase the pension to the maximum amount listed above. At this time, there is no “lookback” period for transfer, so there is an opportunity to do some planning if a veteran has assets above the $80,000 level but wants to get the benefit right away. 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.
Archer Law Office Can Help
For More Information Contact this office (609) 842-9200