By Noelle Kurth
I bet if you ask an elderly veteran if he is aware he may be eligible for veteran benefits from the Veteran’s Administration he might tell you “I’m not eligible because I was not injured in war.” This common misconception keeps many veterans from tapping into a benefit they well earned by serving our country. The VA does not normally contact veterans to inform them of a benefit. Sadly, very few people are aware that this benefit exists. It is estimated that there are now over 25 million veterans who are eligible for this benefit.
The fact is, veterans and their widows may qualify for sums and benefits, but they have to apply. The VA Aid and Attendance Benefit helps veterans pay for home care services, assisted living, and nursing home costs. As of 2010, the maximum monthly pension rates for Aid and Attendance are $1,945 for married veterans, $1,644 for single veterans, $1,055 for surviving spouse, and $2,580 for a veteran married to another veteran.
The Aid and Attendance Benefit is definitely a well-kept secret. Many seniors and families we consult with have told us that they were unaware of this benefit or they attempted to apply on their own and were denied. To get the maximum pension amount, a veteran must qualify medically and financially and must have served the country for at least one day during “war time”. Also the veteran must have been honorably discharged. Every case is considered individually. The pension can sometimes take many months to actually be approved. The first check will be retroactive to the date the application arrived at the Veterans Affairs, therefore the first check may be for thousands of dollars. Subsequent checks will arrive monthly for the approved amount. This pension money can mean the difference between affording adequate care for an aging veteran and/or widow, to having inadequate or no care at all.
As with any governmental program, success is in the paperwork. The application is lengthy and some of it is in essay form. It is the wording of the essay areas that mean the difference between approval and denial. Also, Veterans Affairs does not tell veterans about all the supporting documents that they would like to see with the application. The better the medical and financial records, the better the chances are of approval. Including the right medical forms signed by a doctor stating that the veteran is in need of daily living assistance is very important for approval.
This benefit is very much available and attainable. With a little professional planning and assistance, many veterans and widows can receive pensions that make a significant difference in the amount of care they receive. After all, the reason for this particular pension is to assure that aged veterans or widows do not live in a substandard environment in their old age. It takes a little work to apply for this pension, but anything worth having usually does.
At Home Personal Care has been educating seniors and their families about the VA Aid and Attendance Benefit for over 10 years. Many of our clients are currently receiving this benefit now and are enjoying the comfort of their own home, familiar surroundings and the personal attention received from one-one-one care from our qualified aides. There is no cost involved when applying for this benefit. Beware of agencies or “government groups” that may try to charge a fee to help process your application. This is illegal. Let us help you or your loved ones receive the benefits they earned in order to get the care they deserve.
Veteran requires the aid of another person in order to perform activities of daily living.
Veteran served minimum of 90 days active duty. One day of that active duty service during a period of war, but need not have served in actual combat.
Honorably discharged from service.