Aid & Attendance and Housebound Benefits: What You Need to Know
Aid and Attendance and Housebound Benefits
The best strategies for financial health are staying informed and thinking proactively. Even if you‘re under 65, it‘s wise to do your homework now so you can make provisions for your anticipated needs. Take care of yourself and your loved ones. Don‘t leave money on the table by overlooking valuable benefits that are rightfully yours. Two that are often-overlooked are Aid and Attendance (A&A), and Housebound benefits.
If you get a VA pension and have a permanent disability that leaves you primarily confined to your house, or to a nursing home, or makes it impossible for you to manage basic personal activities like bathing, eating, and dressing without help, you may be eligible for 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) are also eligible.
These benefits are a supplemental monthly allowance paid in addition to the basic VA pension. It‘s important to understand that a VA pension and Military retirement pay aren‘t the same thing. Military retirement is based on years of service (not necessarily wartime). VA pension is based on wartime service (serving as little as one day during a wartime period counts), and financial need. You also must be honorably discharged and at least 65 years old.
Since September of 2018, eligibility for new VA pension claims have been based on household net worth, instead of household income. VA pensions are tiered 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.
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, or disabilities, evaluated as 60% or greater.
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 either by mail or in person. If you want to apply by mail:
Send a completed VA form to your pension management center (PMC)
Fill out VA Form 21-2680 (Examination for Housebound Status or Permanent Need for Regular Aid and Attendance) and mail it to the PMC for your state. You can have your doctor fill out the examination information section.
You can also include:
- Other evidence, like a doctor’s report, that shows you need Aid and Attendance or Housebound care
- Details about what you normally 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’re in a nursing home, you’ll also need to fill out a Request for Nursing Home Information in Connection with Claim for Aid and Attendance (VA Form 21-0779).
Download VA Form 21-0779 (PDF)
If you want to apply in person, you can bring your information to a VA regional office nearest you.
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About the author
Caroline Sposto is a writer, actor, and the founder of Savvy Civility, an educational company that specializes in civilian role play training. She has a passion for the arts, education, and small business.