After serving our country, our veterans deserve to age gracefully. But the reality is, this doesn’t always happen, and depending on whether a veteran left the service with a disability, or developed a service-related disability later in life, they may need additional care as they age. Fortunately, the VA Aid and Attendance Pension is there to help veterans and their families find relief from the financial weight of long-term daily care.

The Patriot Angels have been helping veterans and their surviving spouses gain access to this important pension since 2012. While we have helped many get this pension, some recipients are not always clear on what VA Aid and Attendance money can be used for. To help educate our veterans and clients, we assembled this short guide on what these funds can and can’t be used for.

The Pension Funds Can Be Used On A Specific Service

The Aid and Attendance Pension can be added to a veteran’s, or their surviving spouse’s pension if they meet one of the following criteria:

  • The individual needs help from someone else in order to carry out simple, personal tasks that are critical parts of everyday living.
  • If the individual is bedridden as part of a disability, or medical necessity.
  • The individual is a resident of a nursing home because of a mental or physical condition.
  • The eyesight of the individual is corrected to 5/200 level in both eyes, or if their visual field is limited to 5 degrees.

The entire purpose of the Aid and Attendance Pension is to alleviate some of the financial costs associated with long-term care. It can be used to pay for home care support services. This includes hiring an aide who lives or works in the home of the individual collecting the pension.

What The Caretaker Provides

These caretakers are hired to enhance the comfort, safety, and quality of life of a veteran, or their surviving spouse. In many cases, these caretakers assist those who have limited mobility and strength. These factors strongly impact an individual’s ability to care for themselves.

For veterans who are housebound, having an on-site, or visiting caretaker ensures that they always have a care provider when they need one. Relying on family members for continuing and comprehensive care isn’t always realistic, as members may work throughout the day, or go to school. A professional caregiver can arrange their schedule around the needs of the veteran as well as their family. Private caregivers also provide a level of experienced care that family members cannot. With training in medical practices and senior health and wellness, a caregiver can predict and respond to the needs of an aging veteran quickly and effectively.

Why Families Would Hire A Caretaker

While many family members are willing, or at the very least, would like to care for the aging veteran in their family, many lack the time, energy, and resources to properly do so. Enthusiasm goes far in caring for loved ones, but simply nothing replaces experience and professional training. Using the Aid and Attendance Pension to hire a professional, long-term, or live-in caretaker ensures that a veteran or their surviving spouse spends their days living in comfort, with their needs, be they medical or personal, met.

Aid And Attendance Money Can Be Used Towards Nursing Home Costs

Funds secured through the pension can be immediately applied to the costs that veterans, or their spouses, are incurring from nursing home care. This is easily accomplished by filling out a form that is separate from the main Aid and Attendance Pension application. While these funds are helpful, they likely will not cover the complete costs of the care. Generally, the payments received from the Pension range from $1,000 to $3,000 per month, depending on the veteran’s status. The average cost of nursing home care is often higher than these amounts.

What The Pension Cannot Be Used For

The pension’s purpose is very specific, which means that it is limited in its application. Funds cannot be used for things like improving a veteran’s home to make it more accessible. Similarly, the funds cannot be used to modify vehicles to accommodate the needs of the veteran. While these tasks could be considered part of improving the quality of life for the veteran, they still fall outside of the intended purpose of the Pension.

More Resources About The Pension

You can find more information, as well as answers to frequently asked questions, on the Patriot Angels website. As an organization, we specialize in helping veterans and their families apply for and implement their VA Aid and Attendance Pension funds. Our process is simple, and we serve as your advocate and expert advisor during the entire application process. Contact Patriot Angels to get started.