VA Aid and Attendance – How it Can Help Pay for Senior Living

Older adults under an American flag

If either you or your spouse is a veteran, we at New Perspective honor your service. We want you to know the details about VA Aid and Attendance, a pension benefit that can help with the costs of senior care. In fact, this VA benefit for senior living could assist in paying for long-term care such as assisted living or memory care.

Wartime veterans or a surviving spouse with limited income may be eligible for this VA benefit for senior living. 

This increased monthly pension amount may be added to your monthly pension if you meet ONE of the following conditions:

  • You need another person to help you perform daily activities, like bathing, feeding, using the toilet, dressing, adjusting prosthetic devices or protecting yourself from the hazards of your daily environment.
  • You have to stay in bed—or spend a large portion of the day in bed—because of illness
  • You are a patient in a nursing home due to the loss of mental or physical abilities related to a disability.
  •  Your eyesight is limited (even with glasses or contact lenses you have only 5/200 or less in both eyes; or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less).
  • Surviving spouses must have been married to a Veteran for at least one year. You must have been married to a veteran at time of death and you must present your veteran spouse’s death certificate.

Also important to note about this VA benefit for senior living:

  • A veteran does not have to have seen actual combat to be eligible.
    As long as the veteran has served at least 90 days of active duty, including at least one day during a wartime period, they may be eligible for the VA Aid and Attendance benefit.
  • A veteran who is still independent can use this VA benefit for senior living.
    For example, a veteran who lives independently, but whose spouse requires personal care. If the spouse’s medical expenses completely deplete the couple’s combined monthly income, the veteran can still file as a veteran with an ailing spouse.
  • Independent living: 
    If you meet eligibility requirements and you live in an independent living community, but you receive help with the activities of daily living, Aid & Attendance funds may be available. This can be a helpful source for helping to pay for personal care provided by an outside source or for personal services provided by the community that are charged separately. 
  • Assisted Living: 
    While Aid and Attendance benefits are not specifically designed to cover the cost of living in an assisted living community, they can be used—if another person is providing a veteran or their spouse assistance with activities of daily living. 
  • Memory Care
    Because Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia usually call for a person to be in a protected, safe environment, Veterans Aid and Attendance is most likely available to help offset the costs of care. 

Applying for Aid and Attendance

There are several ways to apply for this VA benefit for senior living. You may write the Pension Management Center (PMC) that serves your state. You may also visit your local regional benefit office to file your request. Visit https://www.va.gov/find-locations/

To prepare for applying, gather the necessary paperwork.  

  • A copy of the current year Social Security award letter
  • DD-214 Military Discharge papers (originals, no copies)
  • Proof of all assets (bank and investment statements) and income
  • Proof of insurance premiums and unreimbursed medical expenses
  • Other documents that could be required (depending upon your situation) are a marriage certificate, death certificate or statement of occupancy from a skilled nursing community, etc.)

When you actually apply for this VA benefit for senior living, assistance is available. 

The application process can be complicated and time-consuming, and you want to be sure and submit the correct information the first time to expedite the process. A Veterans Benefits Advisor can help guide you through the process of completing and submitting an application and making sure all other forms are ready. A few sources of help are Patriot Angels and VeteranAid.org.

At New Perspective, we want to help you live your best life.  Download our free Family Guide to Funding Senior care & Housing. We invite you to learn more. Contact us today.