Many people aren't aware that the Veterans' Administration offers a Special Pension called the Aid and Attendance (A&A) benefit. Veterans and Surviving Spouses who require regular assistance with medications, bathing, toileting, dressing and eating may be eligible to receive this monthly financial assistance from the VA. Also, individuals residing in Assisted Living Facilities or those living in Independent Living Communities who require ongoing assistance may also qualify for this benefit.
Many families with Veterans or Surviving Spouses who need financial support to care for ailing family members are completely unaware that this important benefit exists. To qualify, the Veteran must have served a minimum of 90 continuous days in the service, with 1 day being during a wartime period. This VA income benefit is truly a "pension benefit;" i.e. it is related to the Veteran’s employment with the U.S. armed services. It is not related to other types of VA compensation due to service-related injuries.
Our goal is to help as many Veterans as possible to qualify for this pension. This Special Pension can help pay for in home care givers or pay for independent or assisted living facility or nursing home expenses. An unmarried Veteran is eligible for up to $1,704 per month, a Surviving Spouse is eligible for up to $1,094 per month and a married Veteran is eligible for up to $2,020 per month. A Veteran with a sick spouse is now eligible to receive up to $1,338 per month.
Applying for any VA benefit involves navigating a maze of documents which provide a strong incentive for not doing it yourself. One mistake could result in months of delay and cost thousands of dollars. We do, however, urge Veterans and their loved ones to use caution in selecting someone to help them with the VA application process. Your local Veteran's Office is a good place to begin, but remember that the representatives there are not legal advisors, and in fact, often know little about the Aid & Attendance benefit. The VA even admits this. The following is a quote taken from an article by Chris Adams, an Investigative Reporter, that appeared in a Knight-Ridder national news report:
"... a Veteran who turns to the VA for information about Veterans benefits might want to get a second opinion. According to the VA's own data, people who call the agency's regional offices for help and advice are more likely to receive completely wrong answers than completely right ones."
There are also a number of organizations who advertise that they counsel and help obtain VA benefits when, in reality, they want to sell you a financial product. Many of these organizations have no individual who is actually accredited by the VA. In order to represent an individual before the VA, or assist with obtaining benefits, an individual must be accredited by the VA. You can determine whether an individual is accredited, including attorneys, by going to www.va.gov/ogc, click on Related Links, then Click on Accreditation and Recognition Search.
Email Kim for more information on applying for Veterans Benefits