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Paying for Senior Living: The Basics on the VA Veterans Aid & Attendance Benefit

Senior living may be more affordable than you think, especially if you’re a wartime veteran or surviving spouse.

If you’re considering senior living and also happen to be a wartime veteran or the surviving spouse of a veteran, you may be qualified for a Veterans Administration benefit that can help you pay for it. Known as Veterans Aid & Attendance, this benefit unknown to many can dramatically expand your buying power when it comes to senior living. Here’s how.

What is Veterans Aid & Attendance?

Aid & Attendance is a benefit that was established in the 1950s to help wartime veterans or their surviving spouse pay for care in independent living, assisted living, home health care, adult day care or skilled nursing care by providing monthly payments in addition to their monthly VA pension.

Who is Eligible for Veterans Aid & Attendance?

The Aid & Attendance benefit starts with the Basic Pension and, depending on the medical need, gives you a rating which may add money to your pension. But you must meet certain criteria that includes:

  1. Military service – Served on Active Duty at least one day during a Period of War, at least 90 days in total and you were other than dishonorably discharged. Or, your spouse at the time of their death met this criterion.
  2. Medical requirement – The medical rating is determined by the veteran’s medical situation if alive, of that of their surviving spouse. The applicant must meet at least one of these medical requirements:
  • You need another person to help you perform daily activities, like bathing, feeding and dressing.
  • You have to stay in bed – or spend a large portion of the day in bed – because of illness.
  • You are a patient in a nursing home due to the loss of mental or physical abilities related to a disability.
  • Your eyesight is limited (even with glasses or contact lenses you have only 5/200 or less in both eyes; or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less).
  1. Financial requirement – This is a two-pronged requirement that takes into account both income and assets. The household income of the veteran or surviving spouse must be less than the pension in which you are applying. But you can deduct your medical insurance premiums, including Medicare, as well as the cost of home care and independent or assisted living fees. The amount of assets you can have is equal to the Maximum Federal Community Spouse Resource Allowance defined by Medicaid – which is $130,773 for 2021. Assets exclude your primary home, family transportation and your normal personal possessions.

2021 Maximum Monthly Benefits for Aid & Attendance

For veterans or their surviving spouse who are eligible for Aid & Attendance, the maximum monthly benefit in 2021 is as follows:

  • Single Veteran – $1,936 monthly
  • Married Veteran – $2,295 monthly
  • Married Veteran with Spouse who needs care – $1,520 monthly
  • Surviving Spouse with no Dependents – $1,244 monthly

For more information, register today for our Veterans Aid & Attendance webinar on June 30 and July 1. Or, download our guide on How the Veterans Aid & Attendance Benefit Can Help You Afford Senior Living now.

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