What is the Veteran Administration's aid and attendance pension?

This special pension allows for veterans and surviving spouses who require the regular assistance of another person with eating, bathing, dressing or incontinence care to receive money to help cover such expenses.

This benefit is overlooked by many families with veterans or surviving spouses who need additional money to help care for ailing parents or loved ones. This is a "pension benefit" and is not dependent upon service-related injuries for compensation. Most veterans who are in need of assistance qualify for this pension.

This tax-free benefit up to $2,020 per month may be available to veterans, spouses and widows. The benefit could help pay for private duty care in the person's own home, adult day care, assisted living and nursing home expenses.


  • Veterans must have served one day during an active war and had no less than a 90-day serve. Qualifying periods of war time are: WWI, April 16, 1917-Nov. 11, 1918; WWII, Dec. 7, 1941-Dec. 31,1946; Korean War, June 25, 1950-Jan. 31, 1955; Vietnam War, August 5, 1964-May 7, 1975.
  • Surviving spouses must still have been married to the veteran when they passed.
  • You must have a doctor's order insisting you need the aid and attendance of another every day.
  • You must have less then $80,000 in your checking and savings accounts and even less if you are applying as a single (not including your home or vehicles). if you have IRAs and CDs, they are included in this income.
  • Veterans must have received an honorable discharge or general discharge.
  • You can choose where you want to live as long as it is a credible facility or private-duty home care company.
  • You may not qualify if you are on state assistance (Medicaid or another subsidized program due to low income).

The V.A. does not look back on what the veteran had prior to applying, but Medicaid does. If you move assets, do it right! (This is a situation in which legal counsel would be beneficial.) The whole process can take six months to a year to begin receiving the pension. Seniors need to know they should not be charged for applying and getting help with filling out the forms.

Following is a list of forms and papers you will need:

  • VA Form 21-527EZ (for veterans) or VA Form 21-534 (for surviving spouses)
  • Authorization to Release Medical Information, VA Form 21-4142
  • Military discharge papers ¡V DD-214. The VA often requests a certified copy or an original.
  • Married veterans and surviving spouses need to provide a copy of the marriage certificate
  • Surviving spouses need to provide a copy of the veteran's death certificate
  • A copy of your current Social Security award letter
  • A copy of the monthly or annual statement from a private pension program
  • A letter outlining monthly and annual fees paid to the assisted living community, nursing facility or private-duty care company
  • Monthly bill from Medicare Supplement provider
  • A physician statement that provides detailed medical information, including ability to live independently, need for assistance with activities of daily living, diagnosis, etc. The more documentation, the better it is for your claim.

Kristi Vaughn

I am a Licensed Social Worker and owner of Adult Comfort Care Services-Bay

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Volume 4, Issue 12, Posted 9:36 AM, 06.12.2012