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How VA Aid and Attendance Works for You

a group of three veterans
By Tim Bodor

Hiring a caregiver can be a wonderful way to ease family burdens and increase quality of life for seniors. Yet sometimes, our beloved elders are unable to get the care they need because of the cost of caregiving.

Although hiring a caregiver can be costly, if your loved one in need of help is a veteran or the surviving spouse of one on a limited income, there is help available.

The VA Aid and Attendance Program Explained

The VA Aid and Attendance Program is designed to help veterans who need help with daily living. The package is designed to help people who need a caregiver, so showing signs that you need one is understandably the first step.

A person who meets the “Attendance” requirements for VA Aid and Attendance might need help for one or more of the following:

  • Needing help with daily tasks such as hygiene, eating or dressing
  • You spend most of your time in bed due to illness
  • You have very poor eyesight, generally 5/200 or less, or a very narrow field of vision

On top of this, you must meet the appropriate requirements for being in the military. In order to qualify for the package, you need to have spent at least 90 days in the military, have been discharged honorably, or be the surviving spouse of someone who has been in the military. Along with 90 days of active duty, this must also include 1 day of active war time.

Many people don’t think they can apply because of active war time dates, but there are more of these than you may expect. The Gulf War for example, has stretched from 1990 to the present—if your veteran was in active duty any time after 1990 it still applies as war time.

Final requirements involve income levels. Countable income includes how much you and your spouse earn, including re-imbursable medical payments. You also have a networth limit of about $130,000.

This is an underutilized benefit because many people are unaware that they qualify for the program. They may not realize they were active duty during a period of war, or that they qualify in other ways. If you’re not sure, there are foundations available who help screen you for eligibility.

What happens after you receive Aid

The VA Aid and Attendance benefit is a cash benefit that goes straight into your veteran’s pocket. Once the monthly aid is received, they can do what ever they want with it. Most people who receive the aid use it to hire a caregiver to help them with their needs.

A caregiver can be a boon for veterans who require help taking care of basic needs such a washing, getting to appointments, preparing meals, and other personal needs.

If a beloved veteran in your life is in need of a caregiver but hasn’t been able to afford it, applying for the VA Aid and Attendance package may be the right choice. Even if you don’t think your veteran applies, finding out can prove extremely beneficial.

For more information on the VA Aid and Attendance program or assistance on how to pay for home care, contact the professional caregiving team at Homewatch CareGivers of Sterling today.