Certainly the term Aid and Attention pension is vague and possibly confusing. However, this pension benefit applies to veterans and their spouses who cannot function independently and require “aid” with the activities of daily living and “attention” from a caregiver.
Veterans who were on active duty for 90 days or more at least one day of which was during a period of war are eligible to apply for an Aid and Attention (A&A) pension benefit even if they did not serve in a combat zone. The Veterans Administration (VA) has available a list of the wars and applicable dates that qualify for A&A pension benefits.
The Senior Veterans Service Alliance, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to senior veterans, estimates that over 10 million veterans and surviving spouses over the age of 65 exist; this is approximately 25 percent of the senior population. Many of these seniors may qualify for an A&A pension benefit sometime during their remaining years.
How to Qualify
The veteran or surviving spouse must require assistance with routine daily tasks such as eating, bathing or dressing. These are called activities of daily living (ADL) and are the standard measure for the need for long-term care used by insurance companies and federal programs. ADL disability must be properly documented by a qualified medical professional. Since similar criteria are used by nursing homes and assisted living facilities, residing in such a facility automatically qualifies an individual for A&A. Blind or legally blind individuals also qualify.
The veteran must be able to prove military service through a copy of DD-214, military separation papers. The veteran must also provide financial information. Recipients of A&A pension benefits typically have less than $80,000 in assets, not including home and vehicles. Financial information must include any out-of-pocket medical expenses not reimbursed by Medicare or other insurance as well as the amount paid for medical insurance premiums.
Applying for A&A pension benefits is a slow process and it may take 6 months or more for an application to be approved or denied. Applicants may need the assistance of a qualified attorney in order to receive the A&A benefits to which they are entitled.
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