The Often Overlooked Benefit For Vets: Aid And Attendance Benefits
Sadly, many families struggle daily to provide care for disabled or aging vets and their surviving spouses. What many of these families do not know, however, is that their loved ones may be eligible for Aid and Attendance (A&A) benefits through the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA).
Essentially, these additional benefits are available to veterans and spouses who are eligible for VA pensions, but also need the “aid and attendance” of someone else. Importantly, these benefits are paid in addition to a monthly VA pension.
With office locations in Denver, Fort Collins and elsewhere throughout Colorado, legal professionals at The Hughes Law Firm, P.C., are available to help you with elder law, VA benefit and Medicaid issues.
Who Is Eligible And How Much Does A&A Pay?
There are three primary eligibility requirements for A&A benefits:
- Service: The vet must have served at least 90 days of active military service, at least one day of which occurred during wartime. Also, the vet cannot have received a dishonorable discharge.
- Medical: The vet or surviving spouse must be able to show that he or she needs the aid and attendance of another person to perform everyday tasks such as bathing, dressing and feeding, getting in and out of a chair or bed and toileting/incontinence care. A patient in a nursing home because of a physical or mental incapacity, or bedridden due to a disability could qualify, but mental incapacity alone is not a qualifier. A physician’s statement must be obtained stating that the vet or surviving spouse cannot perform certain activities of daily living without the help of others.
- Financial: Unlike Medicaid, there are no strict asset or income limits when applying for A&A benefits. However, the VA will examine your Income for VA Purposes (IVAP), which is your gross income, minus a part of your reimbursed medical expenses. If your IVAP is less than the benefit amount, you may be entitled to benefits.
As for the maximum amount of benefits you may be able to receive, in 2017, A&A benefits are limited to:
- $2,127 a month for a veteran and spouse
- $1,794 a month for a veteran
- $1,153 a month for a surviving spouse
- $1,408 a month for a health vet/disabled spouse
Applying For A&A Benefits
For many, applying for A&A benefits is a complex and lengthy process. Also, while the forms may be publicly available, you need to be aware that if your application is denied, you will have to wait a full year before you can apply again. This is one reason why many call us sooner or later when filing for A&A benefits.
At The Hughes Law Firm, we can assist you with the process of filling out the application at no cost to you. In fact, it is against the law for anyone to charge you a fee to help you complete your A&A benefits application.
Our lawyers can also help you rearrange your assets and/or income if you simply own too much to qualify for A&A benefits. For instance, we may be able to retitle/give away assets or establish a Veterans’ Administration A&A Pensions Benefits Trust ― options that are perfectly legal, but often complicated. This type of legal assistance needs to be done earlier rather than later in your planning as the Veterans’ Administration is implementing a look-back period in 2017.
Providing Legal Help For Veterans ~ Benefits May Be Available
It is important to remember that the information outlined above barely scratches the surface of what you may need to know before applying for A&A benefits, meaning the information should not be considered legal advice.
Therefore, if you have questions or need legal help with A&A benefits, contact us today for a free 20-minute phone consult. You can reach us online or call us at (303) 758-0680. With offices located throughout Colorado, including Denver, Colorado Springs and Fort Collins, our attorneys can assist you no matter where you live. We can also help families with A&A benefits throughout the country.