Veterans and their survivors are entitled to a number of special benefits through local, state, and federal programs. Two of these programs are the Veterans Affairs Aid and Attendance and Housebound pensions, which gives cash benefits to qualified vets and survivors that can be used towards senior living costs.
What are the VA Aid and Attendance and Housebound Pensions?
Veterans Affairs Aid and Attendance and Housebound pensions are enhanced monthly pension benefits provided to eligible veterans and survivors. Often called pension top-up programs, they're designed to help beneficiaries pay expenses related to permanent disability or chronic illness that's not necessarily linked with military service. Applicants can only collect benefits from one of these two pension programs.
Who Qualifies for Aid and Attendance or Housebound?
To qualify for either one of these two benefit programs, applicants must already be eligible for the regular VA pension.
In some cases, veterans and survivors who were previously denied the regular VA pension due to excess income may qualify for an enhanced pension because Aid and Attendance and Housebound rates are higher than the basic pension.
For Aid and Attendance, applicants must:
- Be permanently bedridden due to a disability except to receive medically prescribed treatments
- Reside in a nursing facility due to either physical or mental incapacity, or both
- Have visual acuity of 5/200 or less even when wearing corrective lenses
- Need help from a caregiver to perform one or more tasks of daily living, such as getting dressed, eating, bathing, using the toilet, installing a prosthetic device and/or navigating their environment
- Have concentric contraction of the visual field tested at 5 degrees or less
For Housebound, applicants must have one permanent disability rated at 100% by the VA, which leaves the applicant restricted to their home or an assisted living community, most of the time.
Housebound may also be granted to qualified veterans and survivors who have one permanent disability with a VA rating of 100% and at least one additional disability rated at 60% or greater.
How Much is the VA Aid and Attendance or Housebound Pension?
The maximum annual pension rate for Aid and Attendance or Housebound varies depending on the status of the applicant and how many dependents they have.
For example, a veteran without a spouse or dependents could have a maximum annual pension rate of $13,545 without an enhanced pension supplement. With Housebound, the annual maximum rate rises to $16,540 and up to $22,577 for those who qualify for Aid and Attendance benefits.
Veterans with one dependent may qualify for up to $20,731 per year under Housebound and up to $26,766 annually under Aid and Attendance.
Survivors without dependents could receive up to $11,095 per year in Housebound benefits and up to $14,509 per year in Aid and Attendance.
It's important to note that VA pension amounts are adjusted on an annual basis, and factors, such as medical expenses and net worth, impact pension entitlement and benefit amounts.
Where to Apply for the Aid and Attendance or Housebound Pension
Most counties have a veterans services department that works to ensure vets, survivors, and dependents receive their maximum entitlements through local, state and federal benefit programs. These departments employ Veterans Service Officers who can help vets and survivors complete and submit their Aid and Attendance or Housebound pension application and, if necessary, file appeals on behalf of applicants.
At Brightview Senior Living, we value veterans and survivors, and we're committed to providing exceptional care to those who have served. To learn more about our wide variety of services that include special programs for veterans, contact your nearest Brightview Senior Living community today.
*This article is for informational purposes. Please contact a financial expert to further discuss how veteran benefits may benefit you or your family.