What Are Aid and Attendance Benefits?
Aid and Attendance is a benefit paid by Veterans Affairs (VA) to veterans, veteran spouses or surviving spouses. It is paid in addition to a veteran's basic pension. The benefit may not be paid without eligibility to a VA basic pension. Aid and Attendance is for applicants who need financial help for in–home care, to pay for an assisted living facility or a nursing home. It is a non–service connected disability benefit, meaning the disability does not have to be a result of service. You cannot receive non–service and service–connected compensation at the same time. Aid and Attendance benefits are paid to those applicants who:
Are eligible for a VA pension
Meet service requirements
Meet certain disability requirements
Meet income and asset limitations
Who is Eligible for Veterans Affairs Basic Pension and Aid and Attendance?
A pension is a benefit that the VA pays to wartime veterans who have limited or no income and who are at least 65 years old or, if under 65, are permanently or completely disabled. There are also "Death Pensions," which are needs based for a surviving spouse of a deceased wartime veteran who has not remarried.
What are the Service Requirements for Aid and Attendance?
A veteran or the veteran's surviving spouse may be eligible if the veteran:
Was discharged from a branch of the United States Armed Forces under conditions that were not dishonorable AND
Served 90 days of continuous military service (active duty), with at least one day during the following wartime periods (did not have to serve in combat):
World War I: April 6, 1917, through November 11, 1918
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
Persian Gulf War: August 2, 1990, through a date to be set by Presidential Proclamation or Law.
If the veteran entered active duty after September 7, 1980, generally he/she must have served at least 24 months or the full period for which called or ordered to active duty (there are exceptions to this rule).
What are the Disability Requirements for Aid and Attendance?
Veterans, spouses of veterans or surviving spouses can be eligible for Aid and Attendance benefits if they meet the following disability requirements:
The aid of another person is needed in order to perform personal functions required in everyday living, such as bathing, feeding, dressing, toileting, adjusting prosthetic devices, or protecting himself/herself from the hazards of his/her daily environment; or
The claimant is bedridden, in that his/her disability or disabilities require that he/she remain in bed apart from any prescribed course of convalescence or treatment; or
The claimant is in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity; or
The claimant is blind, or so nearly blind as to have corrected visual acuity of 5/200 or less, in both eyes, or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less.
What are the Income Requirements for Aid and Attendance?
The claimant’s countable family income must be below a limit set yearly by law (see chart below for amounts). Countable Income means income received by the claimant and his or her dependents. It includes earnings, disability and retirement payments, interest and dividends, and net income from farming or business. Excluded from the countable monthly income are unreimbursed medical expenses and public assistance such as SSI. The annual income limits for the Aid and Attendance program are higher than those set for the basic pension. The Aid and Attendance benefit amount is determined on the claimant’s countable income. The maximum Aid and Attendance benefit that can be paid monthly to a single veteran is $1,794, but the veteran must have countable income of $0 to receive this amount.
The following chart includes the set yearly income rate, annual basic pension called the MAPR (Maximum Annual Pension Rate) and Aid and Attendance limits set by Congress; it also includes the maximum monthly benefit:
Aid and Attendance
Maximum Annual Pension Rate (MAPR) Category
If you are a....
Basic Pension MAPR
5% of Basic Pension
(The amount you subtract from medical expenses)
( $1,075 per month)
Veteran w Spouse/ Dependent
( $1,408 per month)
Two Veterans Married to Each Other
( $1,408 per month)
( $721 per month)
( $944 per month)
Surviving Spouse w/ Dependant
Annual Aid and Attendance Pension Rate
Your yearly income must be less than...
($1,794 per month)
($2,127 per month)
($2,846 per month)
($1,153 per month)
($1,375 per month)
What are the Asset Requirements for Aid and Attendance?
Net Worth (the value of your assets) also affects eligibility. VA pensions are a need–based benefit, and a large net worth might affect your eligibility. All personal goods are exempt from the net worth. These goods include the home you live in, a vehicle used for the care of the claimant, and household goods and personal effects such as clothes, jewelry and furniture. Unfortunately, there is no asset limit set by law, and the determination of eligibility can be made at the discretion of a VA caseworker.
How does Aid and Attendance affect Medi-Cal Benefits?
In the community:
Aid and Attendance payments are not counted as income for Medi-Cal or IHSS purposes for those beneficiaries who reside at home (not in an institution). However, the basic pension does count as income.
In a Nursing Home:
If you are in nursing home under Medi-Cal, you are allowed to keep $35 out of your monthly income for personal needs. If you receive Aid and Attendance benefits, you will be allowed to keep an additional $90 ($125 total) for the monthly personal needs allowance; the remaining Aid and Attendance payments will be counted as income and will need to be paid as part of your monthly share of cost, unless there is a community spouse or dependent child at home.
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