Veterans Advisors/Aid & Attendance

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Introduction to Veterans Benefits

(Source benefits.va.gov)

Elderly Veterans may be eligible for a wide-variety of benefits available to all U.S. military Veterans. VA benefits include disability compensation, pension, education and training, healthcare, home loans, insurance, vocational rehabilitation and employment, and burial.

Two VA programs provide certain elderly Veterans with an additional monetary amount if you are eligible for or receiving a VA Pension benefit:

Aid and Attendance (A&A)

Aid and attendance is an increased monthly pension amount paid if you meet one of the conditions below:

  • You require help performing daily functions, which may include bathing, eating or dressing
  • You are bedridden
  • You are a patient in a nursing home
  • Your eyesight is limited to a corrected 5/200 visual acuity or less in both eyes; or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less

Housebound

Housebound is an increased monthly pension amount paid if you are substantially confined to your immediate premises because of a permanent disability.

Aid & Attendance and Housebound

Veterans and survivors who are eligible for a VA pension and require the aid and attendance of another person, or are housebound, may be eligible for additional monetary payment. These benefits are paid in addition to monthly pension, and they are not paid without eligibility to Pension.

Since Aid and Attendance and Housebound allowances increase the pension amount, people who are not eligible for a basic pension due to excessive income may be eligible for pension at these increased rates. A Veteran or surviving spouse may not receive Aid and Attendance benefits and Housebound benefits at the same time.

Aid & Attendance (A&A)

The Aid & Attendance (A&A) increased monthly pension amount may be added to your monthly pension amount if you meet one of the following conditions:

  • You require the aid of another person in order to perform personal functions required in everyday living, such as bathing, feeding, dressing, attending to the wants of nature, adjusting prosthetic devices, or protecting yourself from the hazards of your daily environment

  • You are bedridden, in that your disability or disabilities requires that you remain in bed apart from any prescribed course of convalescence or treatment

  • You are a patient in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity

  • Your eyesight is limited to a corrected 5/200 visual acuity or less in both eyes; or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less

Housebound

This increased monthly pension amount may be added to your monthly pension amount when you are substantially confined to your immediate premises because of permanent disability.

How to Apply

Click here for a list of SeniorLeaf Network Veterans Advisors that are able to guide you through the VA benefits process.

You may apply for Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits by writing to the Pension Management Center (PMC) that serves your state. Click Here to Apply.

You may also visit your local regional benefit office to file your request. You can locate your local regional benefit office using the VA Facility Locator by Clicking Here.

  • You should include copies of any evidence, preferably a report from an attending physician validating the need for Aid and Attendance or Housebound type care.
  • The report should be in sufficient detail to determine whether there is disease or injury producing physical or mental impairment, loss of coordination, or conditions affecting the ability to dress and undress, to feed oneself, to attend to sanitary needs, and to keep oneself ordinarily clean and presentable.
  • Whether the claim is for Aid and Attendance or Housebound, the report should indicate how well the applicant gets around, where the applicant goes, and what he or she is able to do during a typical day. In addition, it is necessary to determine whether the claimant is confined to the home or immediate premises.

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Additional VA Benefits

Disability Compensation

Disability Compensation is a tax free monetary benefit paid to Veterans with disabilities that are the result of a disease or injury incurred or aggravated during active military service. Compensation may also be paid for post-service disabilities that are considered related or secondary to disabilities occurring in service and for disabilities presumed to be related to circumstances of military service, even though they may arise after service. Generally, the degrees of disability specified are also designed to compensate for considerable loss of working time from exacerbations or illnesses.

Helpful Video: Compensation 101: What is Service Connection?

Pension

  • VA's pension program provides monthly benefit payments to certain wartime Veterans with financial need, and their survivors. As Veterans and survivors consider applying for these benefits, VA would like to share important information about the pension program and organizations offering assistance with pension applications (see Benefits Fact Sheet below).

  • VA offers two broad categories of Pension benefit programs:

    • Veterans Pension: Tax-free monetary benefit payable to low-income wartime Veterans.
      • Survivors Pension: Tax-free monetary benefit payable to a low-income, un-remarried surviving spouse and/or unmarried child(ren) of a deceased Veteran with wartime service.

      • Veterans and survivors who are eligible for Pension benefits and are housebound or require the aid and attendance of another person may be eligible to receive additional monetary amounts.

Pension Program Eligibility:

Pension benefits are needs-based and your "countable" family income must fall below the yearly limit set by law. Veterans must have at least 90 days of active duty, including one day during a wartime period. If the active duty occurred after September 7, 1980, you must have served at least 24 months or the full period that you were called up (with some exceptions). You must also be:

  • Age 65 or older with limited or no income, OR
  • Totally and permanently disabled, OR
  • A patient in a nursing home receiving skilled nursing care, OR
  • Receiving Social Security Disability Insurance, OR
  • Receiving Supplemental Security Income

The Veteran must have met the service requirements above for surviving spouses and children applying for the Survivors Pension. For more information about Survivor’s Pension, click Here.

Link: VA Pension Benefits Fact Sheet

Link: Be aware of Pension Poaching Scams

Link: How to Apply

Education and Training

For more information about Education and Training benefits, click here

Healthcare

The Veterans Health Administration is America’s largest integrated health care system with over 1,700 sites of care, serving 8.76 million Veterans each year. What information do we want for this section? Link: VA Health Administration Locations

Home Loans

VA helps Servicemembers, Veterans, and eligible surviving spouses become homeowners. As part of our mission to serve you, we provide a home loan guaranty benefit and other housing-related programs to help you buy, build, repair, retain, or adapt a home for your own personal occupancy.

VA Home Loans are provided by private lenders, such as banks and mortgage companies. VA guarantees a portion of the loan, enabling the lender to provide you with more favorable terms.

Insurance

As part of the VA’s mission to serve Service members, Veterans, and their families, VA provides valuable life insurance benefits to give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing your family is protected. VA’s life insurance programs were developed to provide financial security for your family given the extraordinary risks involved in military service.

Benefit Options

  • Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI) is a low-cost group term life insurance program for Servicemembers. Coverage can be extended for up to two years if the Servicemember is totally disabled at separation.
  • Veterans' Group Life Insurance (VGLI) allows Veterans to convert your SGLI to a civilian program of lifetime renewable term coverage after separation from service.
  • Family Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (FSGLI) insures spouses and children of Servicemembers with SGLI coverage. Spousal coverage may not exceed the Servicemember's coverage. Dependent children are automatically covered at no charge.
  • Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance Traumatic Injury Protection (TSGLI) is an automatic feature of SGLI that provides payments to Servicemembers who suffer losses, such as amputations, blindness, and paraplegia, due to traumatic injuries that occur in service.
  • Service-Disabled Veterans' Life Insurance (S-DVI) provides life insurance coverage to Veterans who have been given a VA rating for a new service-connected disability in the last two years. Totally disabled Veterans are eligible for free coverage and have the opportunity to purchase additional life insurance.
  • Veterans' Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI) provides mortgage life insurance protection to disabled Veterans who have been approved for a VA Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Click here to see what programs you might be eligible for, including Service Disabled Veterans Insurance (S-DVI), Veterans Group Life Insurance and Family SGLI, TSGLI, and Veterans Mortgage Life Insurance. You’ll find infographics (timelines and charts) for each program.
  • Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI) Coverage is automatic for most active duty Servicemembers, Ready Reserve and National Guard members scheduled to perform at least 12 periods of inactive training per year, members of the Commissioned Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Public Health Service, cadets and midshipmen of the U.S. military academies, and ROTC members. For more information, go to http://benefits.va.gov/INSURANCE/sgli.asp
  • Veterans' Group Life Insurance (VGLI) Servicemembers with full-time SGLI coverage are eligible to convert SGLI to VGLI after separation from service. For more information, go to http://benefits.va.gov/INSURANCE/vgli.asp
  • Family Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (FSGLI) Term life insurance coverage is automatically provided to spouses and dependent children of Servicemembers insured under SGLI. For more information, go to http://benefits.va.gov/INSURANCE/fsgli.asp
  • Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance Traumatic Injury Protection (TSGLI) All Servicemembers insured by SGLI are automatically covered by TSGLI. For more information, go to http://benefits.va.gov/INSURANCE/tsgli.asp
  • Service-Disabled Veterans' Insurance (S-DVI) Servicemembers who were released from active duty under other than dishonorable conditions after April 25, 1951, AND have been granted service connection for any disability (even 0 percent) within the last two years, AND are in good health except for any service connected conditions may be eligible. For more information, go to http://benefits.va.gov/INSURANCE/s-dvi.asp
  • Veterans' Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI) VMLI is available to Veterans who received a Specially Adapted Housing Grant (SAH), have title to the home, and have a mortgage on the home. For more information, go to http://benefits.va.gov/INSURANCE/vmli.asp

How to Apply

Click here for a list of SeniorLeaf Network Veterans Advisors that are able to guide you through the VA benefits process.

  • Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI) SGLI coverage is automatic. Use SGLV 8286 to designate beneficiaries, or reduce, decline or restore SGLI coverage.
  • Veterans' Group Life Insurance (VGLI) Complete and file form SGLV 8714 or apply online.
  • Family Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (FSGLI) Complete and file form SGLV 8286A to decline, reduce, or restore FSGLI coverage.
  • Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance Traumatic Injury Protection (TSGLI) Coverage is automatic for all Servicemembers covered by SGLI. To file claim for the TSGLI benefit, complete and file SGLV 8600.
  • Service-Disabled Veterans' Insurance (S-DVI) apply for S-DVI online or complete and file form VA 29-4364.
  • Veterans' Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI) Complete and file form VA 29-8636, Application for Veterans' Mortgage Life Insurance.

Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment

You may receive Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) services to help with job training, employment accommodations, resume development, and job seeking skills coaching. Other services may be provided to assist Veterans in starting their own businesses or independent living services for those who are severely disabled and unable to work in traditional employment. For more information, go to http://www.benefits.va.gov/vocrehab/index.asp

Burial Benefits

Effective July 7, 2014: VA is changing its monetary burial benefits regulations to simplify the program and pay eligible survivors more quickly and efficiently. These regulations will authorize VA to pay, without a written application, most eligible surviving spouses basic monetary burial benefits at the maximum amount authorized in law through automated systems rather than reimbursing them for actual costs incurred.

  • Under the current regulations, VA pays for burial and funeral expenses on a reimbursement basis, which requires survivors to submit receipts for relatively small one-time payments that VA generally pays at the maximum amount permitted by law.

  • The new burial regulations will permit VA to pay, at a flat rate, burial and plot or interment allowances thereby enabling VA to automate payment of burial benefits to most eligible surviving spouses and more efficiently process other burial benefit claims.

  • The burial allowance for a non-service-connected death is $300, and $2,000 for a death connected to military service.

  • Benefit:

    • Service-related Death - VA will pay up to $2,000 toward burial expenses for deaths on or after September 11, 2001, or up to $1,500 for deaths prior to September 11, 2001. If the Veteran is buried in a VA national cemetery, some or all of the cost of transporting the deceased may be reimbursed.
      • Non-service-related Death - VA will pay up to $749 toward burial and funeral expenses for deaths on or after October 1, 2016 (if hospitalized by VA at time of death), or $300 toward burial and funeral expenses (if not hospitalized by VA at time of death), and a $749 plot-interment allowance (if not buried in a national cemetery). For deaths on or after December 1, 2001, but before October 1, 2011, VA will pay up to $300 toward burial and funeral expenses and a $300 plot-interment allowance. For deaths on or after April 1, 1988 but before October 1, 2011, VA will pay $300 toward burial and funeral expenses (for Veterans hospitalized by VA at the time of death).
      • An annual increase in burial and plot allowances for deaths occurring after October 1, 2011 begins in fiscal year 2013 based on the Consumer Price Index for the preceding 12-month period.
  • Eligibility Requirements

    • You paid for a Veteran's burial or funeral, AND
      • You have not been reimbursed by another government agency or some other source, such as the deceased Veteran's employer, AND
      • The Veteran was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable, AND
      • The Veteran died because of a service-related disability, OR
      • The Veteran was receiving VA pension or compensation at the time of death, OR
      • The Veteran was entitled to receive VA pension or compensation, but decided not to reduce his/her military retirement or disability pay, OR
      • The Veteran died while hospitalized by VA, or while receiving care under VA contract at a non-VA facility, OR
      • The Veteran died while traveling under proper authorization and at VA expense to or from a specified place for the purpose of examination, treatment, or care, OR
      • The Veteran had an original or reopened claim pending at the time of death and has been found entitled to compensation or pension from a date prior to the date or death, OR
      • The Veteran died on or after October 9, 1996, while a patient at a VA-approved state nursing home.
        • NOTE: VA does not pay burial benefits if the deceased: * Died during active military service, OR * Was a member of Congress who died while holding office, OR * Was a Federal prisoner
  • Evidence Requirements

    • Acceptable proof of death as specified in 38 CFR 3.211., AND
      • Receipted bills that show that you made payment in whole or part, OR
      • A statement of account, preferably on the printed billhead of the funeral director or cemetery owner. The statement of account must show:
      • The name of the deceased Veteran for whom the services and merchandise were furnished, AND
      • The nature and cost of the services and merchandise, AND
      • All credits, AND
      • The amount of the unpaid balance, if any

How to Apply:

Click here for a list of SeniorLeaf Network Veterans Advisors that are able to guide you through the VA benefits process.

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Veterans Advisors

Click here for a list of SeniorLeaf Network Veterans Advisors that are able to guide you through the VA benefits process.

Additional Information

Other information regarding VA burial benefits such as flags, headstones and markers is provided by the National Cemetery Administration (click here)

Sources: http://www.benefits.va.gov/persona/veteran-elderly.asp https://www.va.gov/ogc/apps/accreditation/index.asp

Disclaimer - this information is for relative guidance. Seniors should seek expert help from the VA or VA Advisor prior to making decisions.

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