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The VA’s Aid and Attendance Benefits for Senior Living

U.S. war-time veterans and their survivors who need daily help and support with aging may be eligible for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Aid and Attendance benefit program. The program can help pay for needs at home or in a senior living community. But there is a process to follow and certain requirements that must be met. 

About the VA Pension

To receive the Aid and Attendance benefit, veterans must be receiving a VA pension. The pension provides monthly payments to war-time veterans who were not dishonorably discharged and meet age, disability, income and net worth requirements – set at $138,489 for 2022. Specifically, veterans must meet one of the following:

  • Be at least 65 years old
  • Have a permanent and total disability
  • Are a long-term care nursing home patient because of a disability
  • Are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income

Veterans from the Mexican Border period (i.e. 1916-1917) to the Gulf War (i.e. 1990- present) are eligible for the pension. Veterans who meet these requirements can apply at any time online, in person or by mail and qualified help is available.

The Aid and Attendance benefit is provided in addition to the amount received from the pension.

Health Prerequisites for the Aid and Attendance Benefit

Veterans must meet at least one of the following requirements for eligibility:

  • They need another person to help them perform daily activities (e.g. bathing, feeding and dressing)
  • They have to stay in bed — or spend a large portion of the day in bed—because of illness
  • They are a nursing home patient that has a disability that resulted in a loss of mental or physical ability(ies)
  • Their eyesight is limited (i.e. only has 5/200 or less in both eyes even with glasses or contact lenses; or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less)

However, the disability or need required for the Aid and Attendance benefit does not have to be a result of their military service. Such disabilities are covered by VA disability compensation.

Evidence Required for the Aid and Attendance Benefit

Before completing an application for Aid and Attendance benefits, veterans must provide required documents including evidence documents, which are the same as those required to apply for the pension, and include evidentiary documents like:

  • A DD214 or other separation document
  • Service treatment records
  • Any medical evidence related to an injury or illness (e.g. doctor’s reports, X-rays, medical test results)

In addition, veterans are required to have an examination to document their health status as defined in VA Form 21-2680, Examination for Housebound Status or Permanent Need for Regular Aid and Attendance, and if in assisted living or a nursing home, VA form 21-0779 Request for Nursing Home Information in Connection with Claim for Aid and Attendance.

Applying for Aid and Attendance Benefits

Veterans must complete and mail VA form 2680 to the VA pension management center for their state or deliver it in person. If they are already living in a nursing home, VA form 21-0779 must also be submitted. The VA also recommends sending:

  • Any additional medical information
  • A description of what the veteran does each day
  • Any other information defining an illness or injury that inhibits their ability to care for themselves

Once the claim is filed, veterans can follow their status online

Veterans who are receiving a VA pension, meet the Aid and Attendance’s eligibility requirements and follow the necessary steps to apply, can reduce their out of pocket expenses as result of the Aid and Attendance benefits helping to cover senior living costs. We honor and respect the service of all veterans and believe they are entitled to every benefit that enables them to live life to the fullest.