Veteran’s Aid & Attendance Benefit: The Hidden Gem for Older Veterans

The Veteran’s Aid & Attendance Benefit is an underutilized benefit available to any United States Military veteran (or surviving spouse) who meets the service, financial, and physical criteria. This benefit is in addition to a veteran’s monthly VA pension. Of the 700,000 Michigan veterans, almost half are eligible for the Aid & Attendance benefits. However, only 5% are currently receiving this deserved benefit!

Who is eligible for Aid & Attendance benefits?

Veterans age 65 or over that have served at least ninety days of active military service, one day of which was during wartime, and have an honorable discharge; or the veteran’s surviving spouse.

What are the financial Criteria?

The VA must determine that your net worth is such that it will not support you through the remainder of your life. There is an asset limit cap of $80,000 that can easily be satisfied through proper legal planning even if your assets exceed that amount. You must also establish that your monthly income is less than your monthly medical expenses.

What are the upsides for those eligible?

First, the VA does not include your primary residence, personal property, or vehicles when determining net worth. Second, a onetime gifting to an irrevocable trust can be made to lower your assets to allow you to qualify. Third, unlike Medicaid, the VA currently has no look back period of assets moved (however VA is considering adding a 3 year look back period). Finally, Aid & Attendance can help pay for personal home care, skilled nursing facilities, or an assisted living community unlike Medicaid which will only pay for skilled nursing home care.

What are my next action steps?

Thankfully, the VA now allows VA accredited attorneys and specialists to represent veterans in assistance with their rightful benefits. Plachta, Murphy & Associates is a VA accredited law firm that assists veterans with Aid & Attendance and all other VA benefits and pension concerns. If you have questions concerning this article or any other VA claims, appeals, or benefits please feel free to contact our office. We are here to help.

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