In 2020, qualifying veterans and their spouses could be eligible for a VA pension of approximately $2,266.00 per month to help cover the costs of elder care assistance! This is tax free money that helps eligible veterans and their surviving spouses pay for assistance they need in their own home or in an assisted living facility!
How can one qualify?
- Medical Requirements: The Veteran or surviving spouse must need help with “activities of daily living” (ADL’s): Bathing, Eating, Transferring, Toileting
- Military Service Requirement: The veteran must have served during a declared war*, (even if not in combat) and was not dishonorably discharged.
- Asset Limits: VA has certain dollar limits.
*Wartime is defined as serving at least 90 days (of which at least one day was served during a declared war.) The veteran did not have to be in combat or even in a combat zone. “Declared war” is defined as World War II; Korean War; Vietnam War; & Gulf War (which is still officially ongoing).
How much money can the veteran or surviving spouse receive?
- A single veteran can receive up to $22,938.00 a year ($1,911.50 per month) TAX FREE!
- A married veteran can receive up to $27,194.00 a year ($2,266.16 per month) TAX FREE!
- A surviving spouse can receive up to $14,761.00 a year ($1,230.00 per month) TAX FREE!
Maximum Amount of Assets:
- The veteran or surviving spouse can have a homestead (on up to two acres) and one vehicle, regardless of value.
- The veteran or surviving spouse can have approximately $129,000.00 in other assets (checking accounts, mutual funds, IRA, rent house, etc.)
CAUTION: Gifts made in the three years prior to applying for Aid and Attendance, will have a “transfer penalty” (a period of ineligibility)
of up to 5 years.
4 Examples of how Aid and Attendance can benefit a veteran/surviving spouse:
1. Mr. Singleton, a single veteran, of the Korean War (he was a recruiter in Dallas) was honorably discharged. He has a home worth $150,000.00, a pickup worth $30,000.00, a checking account worth $50,000.00 and a rent house worth $70,000.00. His income from social security is $1,500.00 per month. Mr. Singleton is no longer able to live on his own (he has trouble walking and bathing) and wants to hire an in-home nursing service to help with his care at home. The payments to the nursing service for his care are about $2,000.00 per month. Since this is greater than his social security, he will be eligible for the maximum Aid and Attendance of $22,938.00 a year ($1,911.50 per month)—income tax free!!! Total income: $3,411.50 – $2,000.00 = $1,411.50 positive cash flow per month. Plus, he gets to keep his house, his car and up to $129,000.00 in other assets! (i.e.: his checking account and the rent house)
2. Mr. and Mrs. Smith, a married couple, are both living in an assisted living facility. He is a veteran of the Vietnam War. They have a home worth $150,000.00, a car worth $30,000.00 and a checking account worth $100,000.00. His social security is $1,500.00 and her social security is $1,200.00, making their total monthly income $2,700.00. The cost of the assisted living facility is $3,500.00 a month. They should be entitled to receive $2,266.00 per month from Veterans Aid and Attendance. So, their combined monthly income plus the Aid and Attendance equals $4,966.00 while the assisted living facility costs $3,500.00 a month, leaving a positive cash flow of $1,466.00 for Mr. and Mrs. Smith every month! Plus, they get to keep their house, their car and up to $129,000.00 in other assets! (i.e.: the checking account)
3. Mr. and Mrs. Jones had been married several years, but Mr. Jones has now passed away. He was a Gulf War veteran. Mrs. Jones has a home worth $150,000.00, a car worth $30,000.00 and a checking account worth $100,000.00. Her social security is around $1,900.00 per month. Although Mrs. Jones was able to live in their home for a while, she is now partially blind and has trouble walking, cooking and bathing. She desperately wants to remain at home. Their daughter has agreed to take care of her in the home and her mother has agreed to pay her what would typically be paid to someone who works as an “in home” caregiver (say, $15 an hour). The payments to the daughter for the care of her mother are about $2,000.00 per month. Since this is greater than Mrs. Jones’s social security, she is eligible for the maximum Aid and Attendance of $14,761.00 per year ($1,230.00 per month) income tax free!!! Total income will be $3,130.00 and after paying daughter $2,000.00 she will have $1,130.00 positive cash flow per month. Plus, she gets to keep her house, her car, up to $129,000.00 in other assets and continue to live at home!
4. Mr. and Mrs. Brown have been married for several years, but Mr. Brown has now passed away. He was a World War II veteran. Although Mrs. Jones was able to live in their home for a while, she is now partially blind and has trouble walking, cooking and bathing. She wants to move into an assisted living facility (instead of hiring in-home nursing services) and the assisted living facility costs $3,000.00 per month. Her social security is $1,900.00 and she should be entitled to receive Aid and Attendance of $1,230.00 (tax-free) for a total monthly income of $3,130.00. The cost of her stay at the assisted living facility is more than paid for plus she gets to keep her house, car and up to $129,000.00 in other assets!