The Department of Veterans Affairs' Aid and Attendance Program is an additional benefit paid to individuals under certain circumstances who are receiving another VA pension benefit. The program is designed to assist in offsetting the cost of in-home care, nursing homes or assisted living facilities for veterans.
VA Pension Benefit
To qualify for A&A assistance, you must first be eligible for the VA Pension benefit, a benefit paid to wartime veterans who have limited or no income and are 65 or older. The VA Pension benefit can also be paid to totally and permanently disabled wartime veterans of any age.
The Aid and Attendance program is a benefit designed to assist veterans who are blind, bedridden, or otherwise need the assistance of another person to perform daily personal functions such as dressing, eating and bathing. Veterans who are patients in nursing homes due to a physical or mental disability or must remain in bed other than part of their prescribed treatment may also be eligible.
The war periods used in determining eligibility are World War I, World War II, the Korean Conflict, the Vietnam Era and the Gulf War. The period of service must have lasted at least 90 days, and the discharge or separation cannot have been dishonorable. Service less than 90 days is acceptable if the veteran was discharged with a service-connected disability.
You cannot receive VA disability compensation and the VA Pension with Aid and Attendance simultaneously. However, if you are receiving disability compensation and apply for a VA Pension, the VA will award you whichever benefit will pay you the most.
How to Apply
Veterans can apply for the A&A benefit by writing to the VA regional office where the VA Pension benefit application was filed. If you do not know the correct regional office, the request can be sent to any regional office. Ensure you include copies of evidence that reports your need for the benefit including reports from physicians that confirm the need for assisted care. Include in your request whether you require in-home care or are in an assisted-living facility.
The housebound benefit is similar to the A&A benefit; however, the veteran does not have to be eligible for the VA Pension program to qualify for the benefit. A veteran may be eligible for the Housebound benefit if she is totally and permanently disabled veteran and substantially confined to her home or quarters.
Eric Duncan is a military veteran and a professional in the safety, travel and aviation industries. Duncan has been writing since 2002 for magazines, newspapers, local business literature and on such websites as Singletraks.com. He has earned his Bachelor of Science in professional aeronautics and his Master of Business Administration.