The Aid & Attendance Program


The aid and attendance (A&A) pension provides benefits for veterans and surviving spouses who require the regular attendance of another person to assist in eating, bathing, dressing and undressing or taking care of the needs of nature. It also includes individuals who are blind or a patient in a nursing home because of mental or physical incapacity. Care given in an assisted living facility may also qualify.
The A&A pension can provide up to $1,554 monthly to a single veteran, $998 monthly for a surviving spouse or $1,842 per month for a couple.
Eligibility is established by filing a claim with the Department of Veteran Affairs. This application will require a copy of the veterans DD214 or separation papers, a medical evaluation from a physician noting current medical issues, income and asset information, and out of pocket (non-reimbursed) medical expenses.
Any wartime veteran with at least 90 days of active duty, with at least one day of service during a recognized wartime, is eligible to apply for the Aid and Attendance Pension. A surviving spouse of a wartime veteran may also apply. The individual applying must qualify both medically and financially.
How to Apply
There is much information that needs to be gathered and prepared when applying for Aid and Attendance pension. To apply for the Aid and Attendance pension a veteran/surviving spouse will need to have:
  • Discharge/separation papers
  • Copy of marriage certificate
  • Copy of any divorce decrees (veteran and/or surviving spouse)
  • Copy of death certificate (surviving spouse only)
  • Information showing income from all sources
  • Asset information, including bank accounts, CDs, Trusts, Stocks, Bonds, Annuities, etc.
  • Listing of all medical expenses, including but not limited to, insurance premiums, medications, medical bills, caregivers, or any other medical expenses that are not reimbursed by insurance, Medicare or Medicaid.
  • Physician statement that includes current diagnosis, medical status, prognosis, name and address, ability to care for self, ability to travel unattended, etc.
  • Banking information for Direct Deposit of Aid and Attendance payments.
Once this information is gathered, take the documents to your local Veterans Service Center for assistance in filing a claim with the Department of Veterans Affairs.
What to Expect
It is difficult to speculate on what you will experience while filing for the Aid and Attendance benefit. Each case is unique and carries its own set of challenges. One thing that you can expect is that it will take between six to nine months for your application to be processed and your claim granted. Fortunately all benefits are retro dated back to the first of the month after filing. However, if you or your loved one is ill, it can be a challenge to get everything done in a timely manner.