VA Benefits

Did you serve your country in the military? Or are you the surviving spouse of a veteran? If so, you may be eligible for a little known Veterans Benefit that can help you pay for high-cost, non-reimbursed monthly medical expenses.

The Non-Service Connected Disability Pension Benefit, also known as the “Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefit,” can provide additional monthly income of up to $2,019 a month to help supplement the cost of care.

The purpose of this benefit is not to preserve wealth.  The benefit is available to supplement the monthly incomes of low or no income Veterans.  Many times the high cost of medical care essentially leaves the older Veteran or surviving spouse of a veteran with no expendable income at the end of each month.  This VA Benefit has contributed to the quality of life for many of our older Americans by providing the resource to continue to receive the care services they need.

The benefit can help pay for such out-of pocket medical expenses as adult day services, home care, family caregivers, in-home safety equipment, assisted living, nursing home care, Medicare premiums or medical co-pays.

Eligibility

This benefit is not based on service-related injuries and allows for veterans and single, surviving spouses with low incomes or high care expenses to receive additional support. For a veteran or surviving spouse to be eligible, the veteran:

  • Must have served at least 90 days of active duty, with at least one day during a period of war.
    Must have been honorably discharged
  • Must meet medical and financial requirements set by the Veterans Administration for veterans or for single, surviving.

Veterans Affairs (VA) Benefits – Wartime Service Periods:

  •  Mexican Border Period – May 9, 1916, through April 5, 1917, for veterans who served in Mexico, on its borders or in adjacent waters.
  • World War I – April 6, 1917, through Nov. 11, 1918; for veterans who served in Russia, April 6, 1917, through April 1, 1920; extended through July 1, 1921, for veterans who had at least one day of service between
    April 6, 1917, and Nov. 11, 1918.
  • World War II – Dec. 7, 1941, through Dec. 31, 1946.
  • Korean Conflict – June 27, 1950, through Jan. 31, 1955.
  • Vietnam Era – Aug. 5, 1964 (Feb. 28, 1961, for veterans who served “in country” before Aug. 5, 1964), through May 7, 1975.
  • Gulf War – Aug. 2, 1990, through a date to be set by law or Presidential Proclamation.

Maximum monthly pension benefits

If applicants are qualified, maximum monthly pension amounts are:

  • A veteran with no spouse or dependent children – $1,703
  • A married veteran and spouse -  $2,019
  • Single, surviving spouse of a veteran – $1,094

The application process for the Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefit is complicated. It is strongly recommended that you seek the guidance and support of a professional who not only understands the VA Benefit as well as being knowledgeable about how Medicaid is administered in your state.  Any individual from whom you seek assistance should be accredited through the Department of Veterans Affairs to be able to assist you with applying for this very valuable benefit if you decide to file a claim.

To verify if the person you are working with is accredited, visit The Office of General Counsel Accreditation Search page to check their status.

There are many self help guides and tool kits offered on the internet with instructions about completing the claim paperwork on your own for yourself, a parent or other loved one.  What these guides do not tell you is that 75% of claims filed by individuals on their own are denied benefits the first time a claim is presented to the VA.  Many times people spend months and months trying to correct the problems with their claim.

Consulting with an accredited agent or attorney prior to making the decision to file can insure that your claim is successful the first time.