28 Feb Veterans’ Pension Benefits: Understanding the Three Levels
The Aid and Attendance (A&A) Pension is a benefit available to veterans and their surviving spouses who require the regular assistance of another individual to perform basic tasks such as eating, bathing, dressing, or undressing. In general, A&A is available to those veterans and spouses who need assistance with taking care of the needs of nature. Individuals who are blind or a patient in a nursing home facility due to a mental or physical incapacity are also eligible for this benefit. If qualified, a veteran can receive up to $1,788 per month in A&A benefits; a surviving spouse may receive up to $1,149 per month; a couple stands to receive $2,120 per month. A veteran with a sick spouse may receive an additional $1,406 per month. Many veterans and their families overlook the A&A benefit, especially if the veteran continues to remain independent while the spouse is the one in need. However, because many chronic or terminal illnesses require extensive medical attention, a couple’s combined income is oftentimes not enough to cover the expenses; in this instance, the veteran may file as a veteran with a sick spouse.
A&A is the top tier of veteran pension benefits. There are two more below it. At Klok Law Firm LLC, our veterans’ benefits attorneys aim to help you understand your rights to veteran pension benefits, what they may be used for, and when and how to file.
Basic Veterans’ Pension Benefits
With basic pension under A&A, there is no “care” qualification, meaning that the recipient veteran or spouse does not have to be paying for care to qualify. However, they must meet the financial eligibility requirements, must be unemployed, must be at least 65 years of age, and they (or their spouse) must have an honorable discharge from the military. Additionally, they must have served during a time of war. The financial eligibility requirements for basic veterans’ pension benefits are as follows:
- An income of less than $1,055 for a single veteran
- A combined income of less than $1,380 for veteran and spouse
- An income of $708 or less for a surviving spouse
If a veteran, surviving spouse, or veteran and surviving spouse make more than these requirements, they will not be eligible for basic pension.
If a veteran or spouse does not qualify for Tier 1 of A&A (e.g. if they do not require a level of care as extreme as assisted living, nursing home, etc.), they may still qualify for housebound care. The monetary amount of housebound benefits are much less, though, as housebound individuals require less help throughout the day than those veterans who require round-the-clock care.
Additionally, housebound care can be provided by a family member, friend, or outside caregiver agency. Family members and friends that take over caregiving duties will be reimbursed for the care they provide, just as would any outside agency. Some examples of individuals who require housebound care include a veteran who can get around the house for the most part on his own, but cannot bathe him or herself; a veteran who is legally blind but who does not require extensive supervision or care; or a veteran who can no longer drive him or herself around.
For a more thorough understanding of the eligibility requirements for Aid & Attendance Benefits, visit the Senior Veterans Service Alliance.
Consult a Mt Pleasant Disability Benefits Lawyer
Unfortunately, the VA may not be completely upfront about the benefits you are eligible for. Because of this, many veterans who are qualified for A&A benefits never even apply for them. However, government funding is specifically set aside for veterans who are unable to care for themselves to some degree. If you are in need of aid and assistance but cannot afford to pay for a nursing facility or at-home caregiver, reach out to the team at Klok Law Firm LLC for help obtaining the benefits that you deserve.
Contact us online to schedule your consultation today.