Our nation’s veterans are known for their courage, integrity and heroism under the most difficult circumstances. As they have served by defending our freedoms that we all enjoy, thankfully, the government has programs in place to help veterans get the help they need when they need it. There are many benefits that are available to military men and women who have fought for our country–including retirement pay, VA health care and education benefits–but many of these benefits aren’t well-known.
One particular benefit that is often overlooked is the Aid & Attendance Pension from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). If you’re a veteran or senior, the VA Aid and Attendance pension benefit may be a game-changer for you.
1. What is the Aid and Attendance pension or Aid and Attendance benefit?
The Veterans Benefits Administration, a branch of the VA, offers tax-free, monthly monetary payments to certain wartime veterans with financial need, as well as their widowed spouses. While this little-known benefit is available to military veterans, there are certain criteria set forth by the VA that must be met. And, while Aid and Attendance can be used to pay for senior living, there are some things you need to know about this program before you apply–especially if you plan to use the funds to pay for senior living.
2. You must apply for Aid and Attendance directly through the VA.
Like all other VA benefit programs, to determine your eligibility for Aid and Attendance, you must apply through the VA directly. Though many private organizations offer assistance with the process, a common misconception is that you can apply for this benefit through a third party entity, which is false. While many organizations like senior living communities can assist in the process, this benefit comes directly from the VA. Some communities like Vantage Pointe Village have staff members who can assist you in the application process, so be sure to ask about it during your research phase or in-person tour.
3. The application process can take time, so apply early in the process of choosing a senior living community.
If you think you may be eligible for the Aid and Attendance pension, you’ll want to start the application process before you get settled into your new senior living community. The application process can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months. Many veterans wait too late to apply for this benefit and move into their new home before the benefit starts, having to pay their rent out of pocket for their first few months. If you plan on using the Aid and Attendance pension to help pay for senior living, it’s helpful to let the community know during the application process so that they can be aware and help you navigate the process.
In closing, many seniors may be able to make use of the Aid & Attendance program which could provide a substantial monthly income supplement that can be used to pay for senior living expenses. Though there are organizations that can assist in the application process, veterans or surviving spouses must apply for this benefit through the VA. Once you’ve been qualified, this monthly benefit can provide a more comfortable retirement for many of our nation’s veterans, allowing them to age in place and enjoy their golden years.