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Veterans Aid and Attendance (A&A) Pension

The Veterans Aid and Attendance (A&A) Pension is a tax-free monthly benefit available to eligible veterans and surviving spouses who require assistance with certain daily tasks. Generally, the A&A Pension is most beneficial for eligible veterans and surviving spouses who receive assistance in their homes or who reside in an assisted living facility that is not Medicaid approved. The A&A Pension also provides benefits for veterans and surviving spouses who are blind or are patients in a nursing home because of mental or physical incapacity.

The A&A Pension can provide up to $1,788 per month to a veteran, $1,149 per month to a surviving spouse, or $2,120 per month to a couple. The A&A Pension can be a valuable resource. Eligibility is based on several factors, including wartime eligibility, medical eligibility, and financial eligibility.

Wartime Requirements

Eligible veterans must provide a copy of DD-214 or separation papers and must have served at least 90 days of active duty with at least one day during one of these approved periods of war:

  • Mexican Border War: May 9, 1916, through April 5, 1917
  • WWI: April 6, 1917, through November 11, 1918, extended to April 1, 1920, for those who served in the Soviet Union
  • WWII: December 7, 1941, through December 31, 1946, extended to July 25, 1947, where continuous with active duty on or before December 31, 1946
  • Korean Conflict: June 27, 1950, through January 31, 1955
  • Vietnam Era: August 5, 1964, through May 7, 1975. February 28, 1961, through May 7, 1975, for a veteran who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period
  • Persian Gulf War: August 2, 1990, through a date to be prescribed by Presidential proclamation or law.
Medical Eligibility

Eligible Veterans or a surviving spouse must need the assistance of another person to perform daily tasks, such as eating, dressing, undressing, taking care of the needs of nature, etc. Eligible veterans or a surviving spouse may also meet the medical eligibility requirement if they are blind, patients in a nursing home for mental or physical incapacity, or residents in an assisted living facility.

Applicants need to provide a medical evaluation form with their application indicating the applicant’s need for the required assistance and current medical issues. Additionally, applicants need to provide documentation showing their current out-of-pocket medical expenses.

Financial Eligibility

As a general rule, eligible veterans and surviving spouses must have less than $80,000 in assets excluding their home and vehicles. Because this is the only guidance provided by the A&A Pension program regarding financial eligibility, applicants are not guaranteed to be eligible even if their assets are below $80,000. This creates some uncertainty in the application process.

There is currently no penalty for applicants who transfer property for less than fair market value (gift) to obtain eligibility for the A&A Pension. That being said, the VA has proposed the adoption of such a penalty requirement similar to that of the Medicaid program which penalizes applicants who have made gifts during the five year period immediately prior to the submission of the application (“the five-year look-back period”).

VA regulations regarding eligibility for the A&A Pension change regularly. It is important to obtain current information regarding the eligibility requirements.

The Racine Olson Elder Law attorneys can help you understand the VA Benefits available to eligible veterans and surviving spouses. We are available to discuss your options and answer your questions at an initial free consultation. Call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a free consultation with the Racine Olson team of Elder Law attorneys in Idaho. You can also email us directly at racine@racinelaw.net.

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