For those who require assistance with daily activities, such as eating, bathing, and moving around, some of the cost of care can be covered through the VA Aid & Attendance Non-Service connected disability pension. Although the benefit can be very helpful, topping out at over $24,000 per year in assistance, it can also be difficult to obtain. Not only must you actually meet all the requirements necessary to qualify for this important benefit, but you need to avoid missteps that result in a denial. Having an advocate on your side may help you wade through the bureaucratic process of applying for benefits.
The basic qualifications for Aid & Attendance include being a wartime veteran or the surviving spouse of a wartime veteran who is at least age 65 or permanently disabled and was discharged under circumstances other than dishonorable. Further, the aid is intended to supplement veterans with limited income and assets who need assistance with daily activities. Showing that you meet each of the requirements from the outset improves your chances of a successful application.
In order to successfully apply, you must first ensure that you do, in fact, meet the requirements. Determining what “wartime” means for the purpose of benefits, for example, may impact whether you will qualify in the first place. Some asset-planning strategies, such as a QVap Trust, may help you meet the income and asset qualifications without losing your home or giving it away. Through effective advance planning, your future application process will be smoother. Additionally, if you have an unusual situation, or a blended family, it’s important to seek advice regarding qualifying for benefits. In some instances, it may be possible for former spouses to collect from the Aid & Attendance program.
Secondly, due to the extremely high volume of applications and staggering backlog at the VA, the organization may not be as organized or thoroughly as we would like. A recent news story told of a woman who was denied Aid & Attendance benefits at age 102. Evidently, her denial was based on a phone conversation with her nursing home, which led the VA to believe that the elderly woman was not being provided with help for daily activities. By all accounts, the statement is inaccurate and the woman is hardly able to accomplish any daily tasks without assistance. Unfortunately, once denied coverage the next available recourse is an appeal.
A qualified attorney, accredited by the VA, can help you determine in advance if you qualify for benefits or if any steps will be necessary before you attempt an application. Additionally, the attorney can help point you in the direction of other benefits that may help you and your family. It is difficult enough to deal with long-term care issues without the added stress of how to pay for it all. Preparing for Aid & Attendance can help put your family’s mind at ease and allow them flexibility when arranging for your care!
VA Aid & Attendance–How Can I Correctly Choose Help for my Application Process? FREE REPORT: This complimentary report focuses on the various kinds of people one can consult when applying for the Veterans Aid & Attendance benefit. Who one chooses can mean the difference between success and failure. Remember, if you are denied, you may not be able to reapply for up to a year or longer. Download our complimentary report for a behind the scenes look at the different types of people you can consult and the dirty underbelly of the Veterans Aid & Attendance industry.