Each year we celebrate Veterans Day on November 11th in the United States as a way to honor and remember veterans and victims of all wars. The date of November 11th was chosen because that is the day that World War I ended. As we get closer to Veterans Day this year, it seems a good time to discuss veteran benefits. If you are a veteran, a dependent of a veteran, or a surviving spouse of a veteran who gave his/her life for our country, you could be entitled to benefits of which you may be unaware. For example, do you know if you qualify for Veterans Aid and Attendance (VA&A) benefits? If you are unfamiliar with VA&A benefits, now if a good time to learn about the benefit and check if you are eligible.
What Are Veteran Aid and Attendance Benefits?
The men and women who serve the United States as part of your military potentially make the ultimate sacrifice so that all Americans can live in a country where we are free and where we are protected from harm. These men and women do not get rich serving their country. On the contrary, military personnel typically get paid less than the average college graduate; however, they are entitled to a number of benefits. Veteran benefits include everything from a monetary pension to loans to purchase a home to healthcare benefits. One benefit that many veterans do not know about is the Veterans Aid and Attendance benefit. In short, VA&A helps cover the cost of having in-home care for recipients who are having a hard time taking care of daily tasks.
Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefits – The “Aid” Test
To be considered eligible for VA&A benefits you must first be entitled to a pension. You must then need the “aid of another person.” If you qualify for a pension, the next step is to determine if you qualify under one of the following categories:
- You require the aid of another person in order to perform personal functions required in everyday living, such as bathing, feeding, dressing, attending to the wants of nature, adjusting prosthetic devices, or protecting yourself from the hazards of your daily environment
- You are bedridden, in that your disability or disabilities requires that you remain in bed apart from any prescribed course of convalescence or treatment
- You are a patient in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity
- Your eyesight is limited to a corrected 5/200 visual acuity or less in both eyes; or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less
Another related benefit is the “Housebound” benefit. For purposes of housebound benefits, you are considered to be housebound if you are “substantially confined to your immediate premises because of permanent disability.”
Service Record Test
To be eligible for VA&A benefits you must also pass the veteran’s service record test. The applicant must meet the following service requirements:
- Was discharged from a branch of the United States Armed Forces under conditions that were not dishonorable AND
- Served at least one day (did not have to be served in combat) during the following wartime periods and had 90 days of continuous military service:
- World War I: April 6, 1917, through November 11, 1918
- World War II: December 7, 1941, through December 31, 1946
- Korean War: June 27, 1950, through January 31, 1955
- Vietnam War: August 5, 1964 (February 28, 1961, for veterans who served “in country” before August 5, 1964), through May 7, 1975
- Persian Gulf War: August 2, 1990, through a date to be set by Presidential Proclamation or Law.
If you are found eligible for VA&A benefits the benefit amount will be determined based a number of factors; however, it will be a monthly monetary benefit paid as an addition to your pension benefits.
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