Aid and Attendance-The VA’s Housebound Rating Explained
It is not always easy to be a Veteran of the United States Armed Forces. Veterans and their families face unique challenges. The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is there to assist numerous Veterans.
The VA Aid and Attendance benefits program is one of the ways the VA provides this much-needed support.
What is VA Aid and Attendance?
Aid and Attendance is a monthly pension benefit offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to veterans who have served in the military. It is a tax-free product. In addition to Veterans, this benefit is available to single surviving spouses and dependent children.
The Veteran or their surviving family must meet specific income and asset requirements to be eligible for this pension.
Attendance and Veterans Administration Assistance: A Little-Known and Sometimes Confusing Program
A lesser-known benefit is VA Aid and Attendance. Aid and Attendance is a misnomer in this pension benefit; the term refers to a medical rating that provides higher allowances if the Veteran or surviving family member is housebound and requires another person’s regular aid and Attendance.
Even more perplexing is that the Aid and Attendance allowances are not mutually exclusive. They are offered to Veterans and their spouses who have a service-connected disability.
Surviving spouses currently receiving Dependency and Indemnity Compensation are also entitled to Aid and Attendance benefits.
Believe it or not, there are nearly 16 different levels of allowances available to Veterans and their surviving spouses, with both service-connected and non-service-connected classes available.
What Kinds of Benefits Are Offered by VA Aid and Attendance?
The amount of money given to Aid and Attendance recipients varies a lot. Monthly reimbursements in 2020 ranged from $768 to $2,266, depending on the type of claim and the applicant’s medical grade.
In general, income payouts are decided by the kind of claim and the medical rating involved. Many people are unaware that this benefit exists. Many eligible persons do not apply because the VA does not effectively publicize several of its benefits.
Wartime Service is required for eligibility
To begin, a Veteran must have served on active service for at least 90 days. At least one of those days had to have occurred during the conflict.
Veterans must also have received an honorable discharge or one that is not classed as dishonorable. A veteran must not have served in combat duty to be eligible. The VA defines “time of conflict” as follows:
- World War II: December 7, 1941 – December 31, 1946
- Korean Conflict: June 27, 1950 – January 31, 1955
- Vietnam Era: August 5, 1964 – May 7, 1975; for Veterans serving “in the country” before that starting date, the period is extended to February 28, 1961 – May 7, 1975
- Gulf War: August 2, 1990 – a set date to be determined by Presidential Proclamation or federal law
Aside from service during the war, there are other qualifications to be eligible for the Aid and Allowance pension. To qualify, veterans under the age of 65 must be completely incapacitated, and applications for Aid and Allowance must be backed by medical documentation.
Of course, single surviving spouses are exempt from these restrictions, as is the deceased Veteran before death, regardless of their age.
A surviving spouse must have been married to the Veteran at the time of their death, be single at the time of application, and not have remarried after November 1, 1990.
It’s nearly a given conclusion that a Veteran or their surviving spouse will not be eligible for Aid and Attendance unless they have a medical need for assistance or supervision due to disability.
This is where “housebound” or “aid and attendance” medical ratings come into play. These medical ratings provide additional allowances on top of the standard benefits.
Income and Asset Restrictions
Income limitations are one of the last criteria for qualifying for VA Aid and Allowance. A Veteran’s or their spouse’s household income must be less than the VA’s Maximum Allowable Pension Rate (MAPR).
These vary depending on your circumstances; for example, under the 2019-20 MAPR, a disabled Veteran without dependents who also meets the “aid and attendance” medical rating can earn up to $22,939 per year. Rates fluctuate all the time, so this statistic may not always be correct.
Meanwhile, there is an asset limit for VA Aid and Allowance pensions. The 2019-20 net worth maximum is $129,094; however, it is increased by a percentage each year to match the annual COLA increase for Social Security.
According to the VA, a Veteran’s “net worth” is the sum of the Veteran’s assets plus what the VA refers to as “income for VA purposes” (IVAP). In some cases, this includes the income of a spouse or dependent kid.
However, this asset test eliminates a personal dwelling on up to 2 acres of land, personal goods, and personal-use autos.
How to Use Aid and Attendance Forms?
Applying for the VA Aid and Attendance pension program is a complicated process that you might find challenging to complete on your own.
Contact the Senior Care Advisors immediately, and we can assist you. Because at the Senior Care Advisors, no one is ever left behind.