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The formal name for this benefit program is the “Non-Service Connected Disability Improved Pension” and the “Non-Service Connected Death Pension.” It is commonly known as “Aid and Attendance”. This disconnect between the official name for the program and every day language has caused much confusion. This confusion is one of the reasons that veterans can greatly benefit from having an advocate, such as an experienced Elder Law attorney, navigate the system for them.
The amounts of the Aid and Attendance benefit for 2010 are shown in the chart below. The amounts are usually adjusted annually.
Annual Benefit Amount
Married Veteran $23,396.00
Single Veteran $19,736.00
Widow(er) of Veteran $12,681.00
Medical Needs Test
All veterans over the age of 65 are considered disabled for the Aid and Attendance program.
In addition, the applicant must have a medical need for assistance or supervision due to their disability. The applicant must be in need of the “aid and attendance of another person.” This must be proven through medical evidence. This is accomplished primarily by a doctor’s evaluation of the veteran or the surviving spouse. There is a specific form that must be filled out. However, it is important that the form be reviewed by someone familiar with the Aid and Attendance program prior to submission to the VA because if the applicant’s medical needs are not outlined properly, benefits can be denied.
Many veterans and their families assume there are no benefits for veterans unless they were either wounded in combat or suffered a service-connected disability. This assumption is incorrect.
If you are an honorably discharged veteran who served at least one day during a period of wartime and if you are in an assisted living facility or are spending a significant amount each month for care in your home, then you may quality for benefits under the Veterans Administration Aid and Attendance program. This program is one of the VA’s best kept secrets.
Aid and Attendance is available to a veteran who is disabled, and has the additional requirement of needing the assistance of another person in order to avoid the hazards of his or her daily environment (in other words, the veteran needs someone to help him or her prepare meals, bathe, dress, and otherwise take care of himself or herself).