The VA’s Aid & Attendance (A&A) benefit is available to war-time veterans who need assistance with activities of daily living, such as bathing, feeding, dressing, or protection from the hazards of the daily environment. The assistance can be provided in the veteran’s own home, in a board and care home (also referred to as a group home or RCFE (Retirement Care Facility for the Elderly)) or in an assisted living facility. This pension provides a married veteran $1,949/month, single veteran $1,644/month, or veteran’s surviving spouse $1,056/month tax-free income to help pay for care.
In addition to being a wartime veteran and needing assistance there are also income and asset limitations to qualifying for the program.
The claims process can be very frustrating if you have not been trained and do not understand the law. You may be denied outright or your claim may take many more months to complete because of information requests and exchanges between you and the VA. I strongly recommend that you use the services of a VA accredited individual or organization, which includes state and county veterans service agencies.
The VA recognizes three groups to assist veterans in the preparation, presentation and filing of claims. VA accredited attorneys, accredited Veterans Service Officers (VSO) and claims agents. You can find a list of these groups by city and state at the VA’s Office of General Counsel’s Accreditation website. It is against the law to charge for services to help prepare and file the claim.
Whomever you seek out for advice should understand not only the VA laws and rules, but also those for Medicaid (Medi-Cal in CA) and tax laws. These programs are very different and what may be acceptable under one program may have adverse consequences under the other programs. The right professional will help you develop the most appropriate planning to meet your specific needs.
To locate experts in your state who can help you with these elder care matters, go to: www.ElderCareMatters.com – America’s online source for elder care experts plus information & answers about a wide range of elder care matters.
Heather R. Chubb, Life Transitions Lawyer
The Chubb Law Firm
Gold River, California 95670