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Aid and Attendance Benefits Through the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Veterans Benefits

Disabled or aging veterans and their surviving spouses frequently struggle to afford care essential for maintaining their quality of life. To help veterans and their families afford the expense of specialized care, the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs has a program called Aid and Attendance that offers financial assistance for eligible individuals.

The Hackensack, NJ law office of Giro & Associates, LLC can help you determine your eligibility and apply for benefits at no cost to you.

What to Know About the Aid and Attendance Program for Veterans and Surviving Spouses of Veterans

All living, disabled wartime veterans receive a pension for their service to the country. The Aid and Attendance program is available as a pension supplement to veterans at least 65 years old, with little to no income. Aid and Attendance also gives financial assistance to permanently disabled veterans who are under 65 years old and can no longer work due to their disability. Aid and Attendance benefit amounts are not determined by the severity of injuries incurred during wartime conditions.

Aid and Attendance offers financial help programs entitled "VA Aid and Attendance" or "Housebound Benefits as a Survivor or Veteran". Eligibility for either program requires the veteran receiving a pension, or a surviving spouse of a veteran, meets one or more of the following criteria:

For VA Aid and Attendance Benefits:

  • They need someone to help them perform activities of daily living (ADL), such as getting dressed, preparing meals/feeding, or bathing.
  • They must spend most of their time in bed due to illness.
  • They are a nursing home patient with loss of physical or mental abilities related or directly caused by the disability.
  • They have 5/200 vision or less (even with contact lenses or eyeglasses) in both eyes.
  • They have concentric contraction to five degrees or less of their visual field.

Eligibility Criteria for Housebound Benefits as a Survivor or Veteran

While Aid and Attendance benefits can defray the costs of living in an assisted living facility, a nursing home, or pay for in-home care, veterans cannot get Housebound and Aid and Attendance financial assistance at the same time. They veteran spends the majority of their time in the home due to a permanent disability.

Income Limits and Eligibility for Aid and Assistance or Housebound Benefits

The VA has established 2022 "countable" income requirements that qualify veterans or their surviving spouses for assistance.

If a surviving spouse or veteran has an annual income that exceeds the amount of the maximum yearly VA pension amount they could potentially receive, they are not eligible for Aid and Assistance or Housebound assistance.

Countable income is defined as:

  • Income earned by the spouse of a veteran (regardless of the source of the income)
  • Retirement benefits
  • Pension payments
  • Social security
  • Disability (SSI or SSDI)

The VA allows veterans or their surviving spouses to reduce countable income by subtracting UMEs from their annual income amount. UMEs are unreimbursed medical expenses that include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Hearing aids
  • Dentures
  • Home health services
  • Health insurance premiums
  • Wheelchairs
  • Prescription medications

Net Worth Requirement Limits for 2022

Currently, the net worth of a veteran or their surviving spouse is under $138,489 for Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefit eligibility. Net worth is the sum of liquidable or monetary assets owned by a veteran or surviving spouse. Vacation homes, retirement funds, bank accounts, investments, boats, and even furniture are used to calculate the net worth of an applicant. Primary residences and one vehicle are excluded when the VA's list of net worth items.

Liquidable assets are assets you can sell for cash. For example, if a veteran has $10,000 in a savings account, a vacation home in Florida with a market value of $100,000, and a speedboat worth $30,000, that veteran would need to reduce their net worth by at least three thousand dollars before re-applying for benefits.

Current Maximum Benefit Amounts Provided by the Aid and Attendance and Housebound Benefits Programs

On December 1, 2021, the VA enacted a cost-of-living increase of 5.9 percent for veterans' annual pension rates.

  • Veterans with no dependents who qualify for Aid and Attendance benefits can receive a yearly pension maximum of $24,610 (this is the summation of their basic pension and Aid and Attendance).
  • Veterans with no dependents who qualify for Housebound benefits can receive a yearly pension maximum of $18,029.
  • Veterans with one dependent spouse or child who qualify for Housebound benefits can receive a yearly pension maximum of $22,956.
  • Veterans with one dependent spouse or child who qualify for Aid and Attendance benefits can receive a yearly pension maximum of $29,175.

Applying for Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits is a complex process involving filling out and submitting many forms and providing accurate information that complies with VA guidelines. Although the VA allows veterans to apply online, making just one error on an application can result in that application being denied. Unfortunately, if you are denied for any reason, you must wait 12 months before the VA allows you to re-apply.

New Jersey veterans and their surviving spouses can avoid dealing with the repeated denials, appeals, and the financial stress of not knowing how to pay for healthcare essential to a loved one's well-being. Contact the Hackensack law office of Giro & Associates today for immediate assistance with getting approved for Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits.

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90 Main Street, Ste. 101
Hackensack, NJ, 07601

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