VA Planning and Qualification
Many families struggle to provide the necessary care for aging or disabled veterans and their spouses. Unfortunately, many of these families are unaware that the Department of Veterans Affairs provides Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits to help.
These important financial services are paid in addition to the basic pension rate for disabled wartime veterans or their surviving spouses who have limited income, are 65 and older, or are permanently and totally disabled if under 65. The funds may be used to help pay for the care of the veteran or their spouse in their own home, a nursing home, or an assisted living facility.
The VA distributes many benefits based on financial need. Veterans often require help planning their finances to qualify for the benefits they earned.
Some of the VA benefits that depend on your family’s finances include:
VA Aid and Attendance
VA Aid and Attendance is a supplemental benefit for people receiving a VA pension or VA survivors pension who:
- Require assistance with daily activities
- Are confined to bed
- Are in a nursing home due to disability, or
- Are blind or nearly blind
You must receive a pension from the VA to receive VA Aid and Attendance. If you receive VA disability benefits instead of a VA pension, you cannot receive VA Aid and Attendance.
VA Housebound Allowance
VA Housebound allowances are provided to people receiving a VA pension or VA survivors pension who must spend most of their time at home due to a permanent disability. You cannot receive both VA Aid and Attendance and a VA Housebound allowance.
Frequently Asked Questions About VA Aid and Attendance
Here are some questions veterans and their families often ask about VA aid and attendance benefits.
Who is eligible for veterans aid and attendance benefits?
Anyone who receives a VA pension can apply for VA Aid and Attendance. You must show that you require someone else’s aid to meet your healthcare or daily needs.
How long does it take to get approved for Aid and Attendance?
The VA usually reviews applications in three to six months, although every case is different.
What does Aid and Attendance cover?
VA Aid and Attendance benefit amounts are fixed. The VA pays benefits at a rate based on your annual income, your maximum annual pension rate, and the number of dependents you have.
Will the VA pay my wife to be my caregiver?
Yes, indirectly. A veteran can compensate a relative for aid and attendance to help with healthcare and daily needs. The amount paid for assistance is deducted from the veteran’s income when calculating benefits. In effect, the VA compensates you to pay for care and you can hire your spouse to provide it.
Did the VA implement a look back period?
Yes, three years. The VA will flag any asset transfers for less than the market value during this time.
Planning and Qualification for VA Benefits
Applying to receive the Aid and Attendance benefits is a complex, lengthy process. The way you structure your legal and financial affairs could affect your eligibility for VA benefits. This includes pensions, survivors pensions, Aid and Attendance benefits, and Housebound allowances. While the forms are available to do it yourself, if your application is denied, you must wait a year before you can reapply. Moreover, certain measures taken in attempt to qualify for benefits can subject an applicant to penalties or result in disqualification for these or other benefits. For these reasons, many people choose to work with a qualified VA planning and qualification lawyer in order to increase their chances of qualifying and ensure they file the right paperwork.
The attorneys at Salines-Mondello Law Firm, PC are experienced in VA planning and assisting clients who meet the requirements to obtain Aid and Attendance benefits. We can help you determine if you are eligible for benefits and help arrange your assets or income to meet qualification thresholds without incurring penalties.
To learn more about pursuing your VA Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits in North Carolina today, contact Salines-Mondello Law Firm, PC by phone at (910) 777-5734 and schedule your first, fully confidential consultation.