How do I get Veteran’s Aid and Attendance benefits?

If you need assistance with in-home care, you may be looking for what options are available to you. One option that may be available is called Aid and Attendance through the Department of Veteran Affairs. However, before starting the application process, it is best to confirm eligibility.  

There are several considerations when determining eligibility. The first step is whether the individual is a veteran. If the answer is yes, the next criterion is that the veteran is disabled or incapacitated. If both requirements are met, the final step is evaluating the financial status and ensuring the veteran is below a specific financial asset or net worth test.  

When looking at these three criteria, there are additional aspects to ensuring the veteran meets them. In the first criterion, the person has to be a veteran. However, there is a little more to it. The veteran must have served for at least 90 days or more of active duty. One of those 90 days or more must have also been served during one day of active wartime. Although, it does not mean the veteran has to be a combat veteran.  

Further, a veteran in the military cannot qualify if they are dishonorably discharged. To qualify, the veteran must have an honorable or general discharge. As to the second criterion, the veteran needs to be incapacitated or disabled, but they can also qualify if they are 65 or older.  

Finally, in looking into the third criterion, the financial asset test has a new number as of 2022. The maximum amount of assets a veteran can have, including their annual income, is $138,489. This number became effective as of December 2021. Examining income includes social security checks, pension money, and any retirement money received. Taking these monthly amounts and multiplying them by 12 will give an idea of the veteran’s annual income.  

Once this number is determined, the veteran’s assets must also be added. Any asset’s value will be included except for the value of their principal residence, up to two acres, and one automobile. If the combination of the monthly income and the remaining assets, not including those two items, is below $138,489, then the veteran should qualify so long as the other criteria are met.  

However, if the veteran’s assets and income are over the financial asset test, there may be some ways to still qualify. For example, there may be some permissible spend downs such as paying off unreimbursed medical expenses or the cost of profit pay in an assisted living facility that could help reduce the veteran’s value of assets.  

When reviewing whether you or a loved one qualifies or trying to find ways to meet the eligibility criteria, the most crucial step is to speak with a VA-accredited attorney. Further, if the veteran has been denied but wants to file an appeal, a VA-accredited attorney can also be a great resource.

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