Aid & Attendance and Housebound Benefits: What You Need to Know
Aid and Attendance and Housebound Benefits
Do you receive a VA pension? Do you have a permanent disability that confines you to your house or a nursing home? Do you have a service-connected disability that makes it difficult for you to manage basic needs like bathing, eating, and dressing without help?
If so, you may be eligible for VA Aid and Attendance (A&A) or Housebound benefits that pay for assistance. Surviving spouses who are currently receiving monthly payments for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) may also be eligible.
These benefits are paid as an addition to the basic VA pension. Remember that a VA pension and military retirement pay aren‘t the same; military retirement pay is based on years of service or after a member of the Guard or Reserve accumulates enough retirement points.
VA pensions are awarded based on the following criteria:
- You did not receive a Dishonorable discharge;
- You started on active duty before September 8, 1980, serving at least 90 days on active duty with at least 1 day during wartime, or
- You started on active duty as an enlisted member after September 7, 1980, served at least 24 months, or the full period for which you were called or ordered to active duty (with some exceptions) with at least 1 day during wartime, or
- You were an officer and started on active duty after October 16, 1981, and were not on active duty for at least 24 months
And at least one of the following must also apply:
- You’re at least 65 years old;
- You have a permanent and total disability;
- You’re a patient in a nursing home for long-term care because of a disability;
- You’re getting Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income.
Since September of 2018, eligibility for VA pensions is based on household net worth, instead of household income.
VA pensions are structured according to the current Veterans‘s Pension Rate Tables and Survivor’s Pension Rate Tables. The thresholds of A&A and Housebound benefits are different. Before you can qualify for either, you have to establish your eligibility for a VA pension.
Aid and Attendance (or A&A) Benefits
A&A Benefits are designed for those eligible for the VA pension who have a permanent disability that diminishes their mobility, dexterity, and overall capability to manage their everyday needs by themselves. This includes those whose corrected eyesight is at a visual acuity of 5/200 or less.
Aid & Attendance requirements:
You may qualify for Aid & Attendance if you draw a VA pension and meet the following:
- You need another person to help with daily self-care such as bathing and dressing, or
- You spend a large portion of the day in bed due to illness, or
- You are a patient in a nursing home due to ta disability, or
- Your eyesight is limited (even with glasses or contact lenses you have only 5/200 or less in both eyes; or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less)
Housebound benefits are for those eligible for the VA pension who have a permanent disability evaluated as 100%, and are either permanently and substantially confined to their home or have an additional disability evaluated as 60% or greater.
Housebound Benefits Qualifications
According to VA.gov, “You may be eligible for this benefit if you get a VA pension and you spend most of your time in your home because of a permanent disability (a disability that doesn’t go away.”
Important: You can’t get both A&A benefits and Housebound benefits at the same time.
How to Apply For A&A or Housebound Benefits
You can apply for A&A or Housebound benefits by mail or in person.
Complete VA Form 21-2680, Examination for Housebound Status or Permanent Need for Regular Aid and Attendance., and mail it to the Pension Management Center for your state. You can have your doctor fill out the examination information section.
You can also include:
- Other evidence, such as a doctor’s report that shows you need Aid and Attendance or Housebound care
- Details about what you usually do during the day and how you get to places
- Details that help show what kind of illness, injury, or mental or physical disability affects your ability to do things, like take a bath, on your own
If you live in a nursing home, complete a Request for Nursing Home Information in Connection with Claim for Aid and Attendance, also known as VA Form 21-0779.
You may also apply in person at a VA regional office nearest you.
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