November is a month where reflecting on our veterans and things we are thankful for go hand-in-hand. Without a doubt, our devotion to men and women who have served our country is always a focus. If you know a veteran, or a veteran’s spouse, over the age of 65, who could use some help at home, the Veterans Aid and Attendance pension may be helpful.
What is Veterans Aid and Attendance? This is a type of VA pension for veterans over the age of 65, and their surviving spouses, who require regular assistance for daily living activities including: eating, bathing, taking medication, etc. This is an additional monthly benefit that can help cover the costs of home care aids, adult day care, and in-home nurses. Aid and Attendance offers the most financial assistance of the VA pensions.
There are non-financial requirements to qualify for this pension and there are financial requirements:
- Veterans (or surviving spouses) must be at least 65 to qualify for this pension. Legally disabled veterans that are younger than 65 may qualify as well.
- Veterans had to have served at least 90 days and at least 1 day during a “wartime date”. These dates are:
- Dec 7, 1941-Dec 31, 1946
- June 27, 1950-Jan 31, 1955
- Aug 5, 1964-May 7, 1975 (or Feb 28, 1961-May 7, 1975 for veterans who served in Vietnam)
- Aug 2, 1990-Undetermined
- No veteran with a dishonorable discharge will qualify.
- Veterans without a disability are eligible at a lower benefit amount than disabled Veterans.
- Surviving spouses must have been living with the veteran at the time of the veteran’s death – and must be single at the time the claim is made.
There are income and asset limits to qualify for the Aid and Attendance Pension.
- A veteran’s (and spouse’s, if married) countable income must be less than the pension amount.
- There are deductions for certain expenses and forms of income – so an actual income could be quite a bit higher than the countable income and a veteran could still qualify.
Applying For Veterans Aid and Attendance
You should be prepared. The application process is not an easy one. Basic applications can still take up to 90 days to start receiving benefits. The best route to take when trying to apply for Veterans Pensions is to get help from a professional benefits planner. This can save a lot of time through the application process and help you receive benefits faster. They can also advise you on loans that are available to assist you while you are waiting for your application to be approved. Once you are approved, your benefits are paid retroactively in a lump sum which makes it easy to pay off the loans that you used during your waiting period. To apply for VA pensions there is no cost, even VA benefits advisors are prohibited from charging for their assistance.
What is VONAPP?
VONAPP is an online application through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. For veterans who feel very certain that they will qualify for the pension, this online application is available. However, if there is any uncertainty as to whether you will qualify or not, please request the help of a benefits advisor. You can contact your regional VA office for further assistance if you do not know where to start.
You can also contact your regional VA office for a Veterans Service Officer to assist you in the application process at 1-800-827-1000. If you have additional questions about in-home care please feel free to call SYNERGY HomeCare and we will help you navigate the path to in-home care services.