Veterans' Benefits

Veterans' benefits, as they apply to assisted living and long-term care, are a largely misunderstood benefit. You may qualify to receive support if you are a U.S. veteran or the surviving spouse of a veteran.

What is it

"Aid and Attendance" is a commonly used term for a benefit that may be available to veterans as part of the VA's disability pension, or to the surviving spouse of a veteran as part of the VA's death pension. "Aid and Attendance" refers to the fact that for this particular pension benefit, the claimant must demonstrate a regular need for the aid and attendance of a caregiver or the need to live in a protected environment because of physical or mental impairment. This benefit is most commonly available to residents in an assisted living community, a skilled nursing community or recipients of home health care.

HOW YOU QUALIFY

The VA considers offering Pension benefits to Veterans (or Surviving Spouses of Veterans) if the Veteran:

Received discharge from service under any condition other than dishonorable,
and
Served at least 90 days of active military service, one day of which was during a war-time period,
and
Or Surviving Spouse) is age 65 or older, OR, is permanently and totally disabled,
and
Total countable family income is below an annual limit set by law (most medical or care expenses including Nursing Home, Assisted Living and Home Care will reduce net countable income if you qualify medically).

Benefit Amounts

For 2010, the maximum annual benefit for those qualifying for the Aid & Attendance level of pension is:

  • Surviving Spouse of a Veteran:$12,681
  • Veteran with no Spouse or dependent children:$19,736
  • A married Veteran where the Veteran requires care:$23,396
  • If the Veteran is healthy, but their Spouse requires care, then the Veteran qualifies for a regular pension only:$15,493

Features:

  • Unsecured, “Personal”, meaning no collateral necessary
  • Rates higher than home equity lower than most credit cards
  • Up to six adults can share the monthly payment
  • While families have up to five years to pay back the Line of Credit, most families take advantage of it for 1 to 12 months until home sells or VA arrives.
  • and
  • Net worth is a factor in determining eligibility, however, there is no specific dollar amount designated as excessive (some assets are exempt from the net worth determination).