Will The VA Pay For Care At Home or in Assisted Living?
You may have heard about a VA benefit informally called the "Aid and Attendance"
benefit which can be used to pay for care at home or in an assisted living
residence. This "Aid & Attendance" benefit is actually a VA pension benefit
which is available to all veterans and their dependents if they meet certain
guidelines. This pension can be used by the veteran and/or the veteran's
dependent to pay for care either at home or in assisted living (the VA does not
actually do any direct paying).
If a qualified individual has an income below a level specified by Congress,
then the veteran can qualify for a VA Pension benefit that will bring his or her
income up to that specified level. For a single veteran who needs "aid and
attendance," the income limit for the 12 month period from December 2006 to
December 2007 is $18,234. A complete list of income limits is contained in the
VA's Improved Disability
Pension Rate Table.
In calculating a veteran's annual income, the VA permits applicants to
subtract un-reimbursed medical expenses in excess of 5% of their annual income
from their total income. In addition to medical care and drug costs, the VA
permits the veteran to deduct the un-reimbursed costs of home care assistance or
assisted living expenses. For most veterans who require more than minimal
assistance, this can effectively "zero out" their income. If a reportable income
is reduced to zero through deductions, the veteran (or spouse) can potentially
qualify for the maximum pension.
Whether a veteran qualifies for a pension benefit depends first on
whether a veteran or a spouse served in the military during wartime. "Wartime"
is defined as the following periods:
World War I. April 6, 1917, through November 11, 1918,
inclusive. If the veteran served with the United States military
forces in Russia, the ending date is April 1, 1920. Service after
November 11, 1918 and before July 2, 1921 is considered World War I service if
the veteran served in the active military, naval, or air service after April 5,
1917 and before November 12, 1918.
World War II. December 7, 1941, through December 31,
1946, inclusive. If the veteran was in service on December 31, 1946,
continuous service before July 26, 1947, is considered World War II service.
Korean conflict. June 27, 1950, through January 31,
Vietnam era. The period beginning on February 28, 1961,
and ending on May 7, 1975, inclusive, in the case of a veteran who served in the
Republic of Vietnam during that period. The period beginning on
August 5, 1964, and ending on May 7, 1975, inclusive, in all other cases.
Persian Gulf War. August 2, 1990, through date to be
prescribed by Presidential proclamation or law.
Future dates. The period beginning on the date of any
future declaration of war by the Congress and ending on a date prescribed by
Presidential proclamation or concurrent resolution of the Congress.
Second, the applicant must need help with activities of daily
The veteran requires the aid of another person in order to perform personal
functions required in everyday living, such as bathing, feeding, dressing,
attending to the wants of nature, adjusting prosthetic devices, or protecting
himself/herself from the hazards of his/her daily environment,
The veteran is bedridden, in that his/her disability or disabilities requires
that he/she remain in bed apart from any prescribed course of convalescence or
The veteran is a patient in a nursing home due to mental or physical
The veteran is blind, or so nearly blind as to have corrected visual acuity
of 5/200 or less, in both eyes, or concentric contraction of the visual field to
5 degrees or less.
If you believe you know a veteran or a veteran's dependent (spouse) who
might qualify for this kind of pension benefit, I strongly suggest that you
visit the Veteran Aid website,
where there is a wealth of information that is much more clear and
understandable than anything the VA provides.
For Information about the VA
Aid & Attendance program