Veterans Aid & Attendance Benefits

VA Aid and Attendance

Many veterans and their families assume that there are no benefits for veterans unless they were either wounded in combat or suffered a service-connected disability. This is incorrect.

If you are a veteran (or their surviving spouse) 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 qualify for benefits under the VA Aid and Attendance program. This program is one of the VA’s best-kept secrets.

Aid and Attendance is available to a veteran (or their surviving spouse) 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 (for example, the veteran needs someone to help him or her bathe, dress, and otherwise take care of himself or herself).

The amounts of the Aid and Attendance benefit are shown below. The amounts are usually adjusted annually.

Benefit Amounts

Married Veteran $26,765 per year; $2,230 per month
Single Veteran $22,577 per year; $1,881 per month
Widow(er) of Veteran $14,529 per year; $1,210 per month

Service Requirement

The service requirements for the veteran are

  • The veteran had to have served on active duty for at least 90 days.
  • At least one of those days had to be during a period of war as defined for the program; see below.
  • The veteran had to receive a discharge other than dishonorable.

Note: Service in combat is not required, only that the veteran was on active duty anywhere during wartime.

“Wartime Period” as defined for the Aid and Attendance program is as follows:
Period of War Beginning and Ending Dates
World War II December 7, 1941 through December 31, 1946
Korean Conflict June 27, 1950 through January 31, 1955
Vietnam Era February 28, 1961
 through May 7, 1975 (for February 28, 1961 to August 4, 1964, service must have been in Vietnam)
Gulf War August 2, 1990 through a date yet to be set by law or Presidential Proclamation

How Can We Help?

  • Henry Levandowski and Maria Darpino are VA accredited attorneys who can review your circumstances and advise you if you meet the eligibility requirements for Aid and Attendance.
  • If a veteran or a surviving spouse does not currently meet the income or asset test for Aid and Attendance eligibility, we can devise a legal and safe strategy that will result in the eligibility tests being met.
  • It may be possible to give assets away or transfer assets to a trust. Any such transfers must be done very cautiously, under the supervision of an experienced Elder Law attorney to make sure future eligibility for Medicaid for nursing home costs is not jeopardized.
  • We can prepare the Aid and Attendance application and deal with VA throughout the application process.

Conclusion and Caution

The Aid and Attendance application process is very complicated.

The VA now requires that anyone who assists a veteran or surviving spouse of a veteran with the preparation, presentation, and prosecution of a claim for Aid and Attendance must be accredited by the VA before they can legally provide assistance. Thus, to protect yourself while going through the Aid and Attendance application process, make sure you are using an accredited agent. Henry Levandowski and Maria Darpino are both accredited attorneys with the VA administration.

Most veterans who need Aid and Attendance will eventually need Medicaid to pay for nursing home care. Veterans must be careful to preserve Medicaid eligibility. A qualified Elder Law attorney can provide this critical guidance.

Many attorneys (even some Elder Law attorneys!) do not know about VA Aid and Attendance benefits. In addition, many attorneys may label themselves as Elder Law attorneys because they can prepare simple things such as Wills, but, unless they are working with seniors on both Medicaid and veterans benefits everyday, they are most likely not versed in the complicated and ever-changing maze of laws that surround these benefits. This is dangerous territory. You need a trustworthy guide who has traveled this path before, and travels it on a regular basis.

At Levandowski & Darpino, we focus our practice solely on helping families during this difficult time. It is a complicated area of law with a lot of pitfalls for the unwary. We make sure our client’s journey goes as smoothly as possible. Call us at (610) 446-9626 or contact us here to schedule your consultation.