Editor's Note: The information in this column is not intended as legal advice but to provide a general understanding of the law. Any readers with a legal problem, including those whose questions are addressed here, should consult an attorney for advice on their particular circumstances.
Millions of veterans and their families are eligible for Veterans Benefits but do not receive them. There are many reasons for this, including lack of information about the benefits that are available, confusion over eligibility requirements, and an extremely complex approval process. Sadly, one of the most valuable benefits available to eligible veterans, Aid and Attendance, is also one the most underutilized.
The Aid and Attendance Pension Program
The Aid and Attendance benefit allows an eligible veteran to receive over $23,000 per year for assistance with long-term care and medical expenses. The eligible veteran’s widowed spouse is able to receive over $12,500 per year. This benefit can be used to pay anyone, even the veteran’s child, for home care. It can also be used to help pay for professional in-home care, assisted living, and nursing home care. The Aid and Attendance benefit can allow an eligible veteran or widowed spouse to remain in the family home for as long as possible, while at the same time protecting hard-earned assets against the high cost of long-term care.
Eligibility requirements for Aid and Attendance
What are the eligibility requirements for Aid and Attendance? Requirements include:
1) The veteran must have served 90 days or more of active duty, with at least one day during a period of wartime
2) The veteran must have received a discharge other than dishonorable
3) The veteran or spouse must have medical expenses
Applicants must pass an asset and income test
If you believe that you are eligible for the Aid and Attendance benefit, contact the Veterans Administration or an attorney with experience in estate planning and elder care. They should be able to guide you to the right department for assistance.
Sam A. Moak is an attorney with the Huntsville law firm of Moak & Moak, P.C. He is licensed to practice in all fields of law by the Supreme Court of Texas, is a Member of the State Bar College, and is a member of the Real Estate, Probate and Trust Law Section of the State Bar of Texas. www.moakandmoak.com