Between a complicated application and eligibility process, misinformation about veterans benefits, and outright scams, it’s no wonder that Aid and Attendance is the most underutilized VA benefit.
In a nutshell, the Veterans Aid and Attendance pension benefit is a tax-free financial resource to help offset the cost of care for those who require the assistance of others for daily living. It can be used to help pay for care at home, in a nursing home, or in an assisted living facility. Depending on your particular circumstances, the Aid and Attendance benefit can provide more than $2,000 a month for senior care.
Here, we outline the most common barriers to Aid and Attendance, and provide facts to break down those barriers so your family doesn’t miss out on this important benefit.
Barrier #1: Misinformation
One of the biggest barriers to families applying for Aid and Attendance is a lack of information or even misinformation about eligibility. For instance, many people mistakenly believe that a veteran must have sustained a service-related injury to qualify. Because of misconceptions like this, veterans and their spouses are missing out on money that could make a tremendous difference to their quality of life.
Did You Know?
- You don’t have to have a service-connected injury to receive Aid and Attendance.
- You don’t have to be retired from the military to receive Aid and Attendance.
- You don’t have to have been in combat to receive Aid and Attendance.
The fact is, if you are a wartime veteran who has served 90 days with an honorable discharge, or you are the surviving spouse of a veteran, you may be eligible for the Aid and Attendance benefit.
Barrier #2: Scams
With all the scams targeting veterans, you might think the Aid and Attendance benefit itself is a hoax. That’s because some unscrupulous agents offer their assistance with the application process, but for a hefty fee (which is illegal). These pension poachers may also say they guarantee your eligibility for Aid and Attendance, while in reality that guarantee can only be made by the Department of Veterans Affairs. If the scammers find you are not eligible for the pension benefit, they may try to convince you to transfer your assets to a trust or invest in their insurance products so you do qualify.
It’s no wonder why families might be inclined to dismiss the Aid and Attendance benefit altogether, but that would be a mistake. The benefit is real, and there are thousands of grateful families currently receiving it. It took perseverance to complete the application process, but now they’re reaping the rewards of this monthly pension benefit.
Barrier #3: Complicated Process
With all the documents to request, gather, and prepare, the process for applying for Aid and Attendance can be burdensome to say the least. And if you’re going it alone, the challenges can seem insurmountable.
But here’s the good news: with a little help from friends in the know, the process to apply for this pension benefit can be much more manageable. When you log into the free forums at VeteranAid.org, for example, you can ask all your questions and get detailed answers from knowledgeable advisors and site users who have walked this road before you.
“The application process for the Aid and Attendance benefit can be a complicated and long one,” admits Kaylin Gilkey, community engagement manager at VeteranAid.org. “Everyone’s application seems to be unique depending on their family member’s financial status and need for care. VeteranAid.org aims to make the application process easier by providing all the information and assistance you need (for free!) to successfully obtain the pension benefit.”
CHIME IN: How has your family overcome barriers to applying for and receiving veterans benefits?