Aid and Attendance Update:

Update 12/09


This Special Pension (part of the VA Improved Pension program) allows for Veterans and surviving spouses who require the regular attendance of another person to assist in eating, bathing, dressing, undressing or taking care of the needs of nature to receive additional monetary benefits. It also includes individuals who are blind or a patient in a nursing home because of mental or physical incapacity.

Assisted care in an assisted living facility also qualifies. This most important benefit is overlooked by many families with Veterans or surviving spouses who need additional monies to help care for ailing parents or loved ones. This is a "pension benefit" and is not dependent upon service-related injuries for compensation.

Most Veterans who are in need of assistance qualify for this pension. Aid and Attendance can help pay for care in the home, nursing home or assisted living facility. For 2009 a single veteran is eligible for up to maximum benefit of $1,645 per month ($19,736 annually), while a surviving spouse is eligible for up to $1,057 per month ($12,681 annually). A couple is eligible for up to $1,950 per month ($23,396 annually).

To be eligible the veteran must have served during one of the following periods: · 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 · Gulf War: August 2, 1990, through a date to be set by law of Presidential Proclamation   The VA must determine that your net worth is such that it will probably not support you through the remainder of your life.

The VA does not include primary residence or vehicles when determining net worth. To qualify you must have a “countable income” of less than the pension amount to be eligible for all or a portion of the pension. Countable Income is the amount of income a veteran or surviving spouse receives each year including rollover interest, AFTER deducting all unreimbursed, and recurring health care expenses. This includes assisted living costs, home health care, insurance & Medicare premiums, on-going pharmacy costs and mor

If you have dependents, their health care costs can also be used to reduce your countable income. However, their income must also be added into the equation. Refer to for additional details on the Aid & Attendance pension. Application to the VA for this benefit can be made by any of the following methods: · On line at; or   At download and fill out VA Form 21-526, Veteran's Application for Compensation and/or Pension.  

Send the completed application and any copies of other documents to the VA regional office that serves your area of residence. Make sure you download all parts of the application as well as the instructions for filling out the forms.  sp; 

If available, attach copies of dependency records (marriage & children's birth certificates

Contact a Veterans Service Officer (VSO) from a veterans service organization. To locate call 1-800-827-1000, for the location of the nearest VSO nearest you.  Also, you can refer to for a list of the nationally recognized Veterans Service Organizations.

There are three levels to the Improved Pension program: Basic Pension, Housebound, or Aid & Attendance. Each tier has its own level of benefits and qualifications. If you or your loved one does not qualify for Aid and Attendance, you may want to check to see if you qualify for another level of the Pension. For example the following would apply for eligibility to receive the Basic Pension:

A veteran receives $14,000 per year from Social Security. His wife earns $9,000 per year. The veteran also earns $5,000 per year from a small company pension giving the couple a total annual income of $28,000, and;

 The couple have $38,000 in net worth in CDs and savings (not enough to support them for the rest of their lives) and they still live in the home they bought in 1954, and;

The veteran pays $1,800 per month for his wife’s home health care, they each pay a monthly Medicare premium of $96.40 (x 2 = $192.80/mo), and he also pays $149 per month for supplemental insurance. Thus, their total medical monthly expenses come to $25,702 per annum.

When you subtract the medical expenses from their total income, you get a “countable income” of only $2,368. The maximum basic benefit amount of $15,493 minus the countable income amount of $2,298 equals $13,195 ($1100 per month) which would be paid by the VA if the veteran applies for it..