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Does the VA Pay for Assisted Living?

Written by Grace Styron
 about the author
7 minute readLast updated April 26, 2023
Reviewed by Letha Sgritta McDowellLetha Sgritta McDowell is an attorney practicing in both Virginia and North Carolina. She is a fellow of the American College of Trusts and Estates Council, a certified elder law attorney, and a past president of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.

Even if you’ve hired assistance, caring for an aging parent or loved one at home is challenging and can take a toll on everyone involved. If you’re beginning to think about other long-term care options, such as assisted living, chances are you’re wondering how to cover the expense of it all. Fortunately, for families with connections to the military, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers veterans and their surviving spouses benefits and programs that can help cover the associated costs.

Key Takeaways

  1. The VA doesn’t directly pay for a veteran’s assisted living. They do offer benefit programs that provide eligible veterans with funds to be used at their discretion.
  2. Surviving spouses may qualify for VA benefits. However, certain financial limits and qualifications must be met.
  3. Eligibility requirements vary depending on the benefit. Requirements may depend on factors like the veteran’s terms of service, health status, and financial status.
  4. The amount the VA will pay depends on benefit eligibility. Whatever funds are received can be used to pay for assisted living.

Will the VA pay for assisted living for veterans and their spouses?

The VA will not directly pay for assisted living. But, fortunately, VA benefits may still offer assistance in covering the costs of certain assisted living needs for eligible veterans and their surviving spouses. If they choose to, they can put the funds toward their assisted living costs, such as room and board, transportation, personal or medical care, and other bills.

What are the different VA benefits that can be used for assisted living?

Eligible veterans and surviving spouses may have the opportunity to enroll in and utilize the following VA programs, which can provide funds to pay for assisted living.
  • The VA Pension Program provides a tax-free monetary payment for wartime veterans who meet certain service and financial eligibility requirements. This money can be spent at their discretion. [01]
  • The VA Survivors Pension is available to surviving spouses of veterans who were or would have been eligible for the VA pension above.
  • The VA Aid and Attendance benefit provides eligible veterans and their surviving spouses with an increased monthly payment, which is added to the regular monthly pension amount. Your loved one may qualify if they need assistance with their activities of daily living (ADLs) and meet specific requirements.[02]
  • VA disability compensation is a monthly payment based on a veteran’s disability rating and certain details about their dependent family members. [03]

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What are the eligibility requirements for VA benefits?

Your loved one’s eligibility will vary depending on factors like their financial status and the type of benefit they’re seeking. Different benefits will also take into account whether your loved one was exposed to toxic chemicals during service, has a disability as a result of their service, and completed active duty service.

Eligibility for a Veterans Pension

Your loved one may qualify for a regular VA Pension if they didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge and their yearly income and net worth meet limits set by Congress. Starting December 1, 2022, and lasting through November 30, 2023, the net worth limit for VA pension eligibility is $150,538.[04]
Your loved one must also either be age 65 or older, have a permanent disability, reside in a long-term care facility because of their illness, or be receiving Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income. Additionally, they’ll need to identify with at least one of the following:
  • Their period of active duty service started before September 8, 1980, and lasted at least 90 days with one of those days during wartime.
  • They began active duty as an enlisted person after September 7, 1980, and served for the full period they were meant to, or at least two years with one of those days occurring during wartime.
  • They served as an officer, with no prior experience as an officer, starting on active duty after October 16, 1981. [05]
To apply: Fill out the VA Application for Veterans Pension form.

Eligibility for Aid and Attendance

Your loved one may qualify for the Aid and Attendance benefit if they also qualify for or are already receiving a VA pension and they meet at least one of the following requirements:
  • The need help performing their ADLs
  • An illness requires them to stay in bed for all or most of the day
  • They have limited eyesight, even with corrective lenses [02]
To apply: Fill out the VA Aid and Attendance form.

Eligibility for the Survivors Pension

Maybe your parent isn’t a veteran themselves but is the surviving spouse of one. As long as they haven’t remarried and their late veteran spouse would’ve met qualifications for the regular VA pension if they were still alive, then they may qualify for the Survivors Pension.[06]
To apply: Fill out the VA Application for DIC, Survivors Pension and/or Accrued Benefits form.

How much does the VA cover for assisted living?

The average monthly cost of assisted living in the United States in 2022 was $4,951.[07] The portion of that paid for using VA benefits depends largely on your loved one’s situation, what program they qualify for, and how they choose to use their benefits. Read below to find out how much your loved one may be eligible for.

VA Pension

If your loved one qualifies for the regular Veterans Pension, their monthly payment will be based on the difference between their countable income and their Maximum Annual Pension Rate (MAPR) amount. The MAPR is the maximum annual amount of pension a veteran can receive. It depends on the number of dependents they have, whether or not they’re married, and if they qualify for the Aid and Attendance benefit. Note that amounts may change each year.
In 2023, a veteran may receive up to:
  • $16,037 per year if they have no dependents.
  • $21,001 per year if they have one dependent. [04]

Aid and Attendance

With the Aid and Attendance benefit added to the regular VA Pension, an eligible veteran may be receive up to:
  • $26,752 per year if they have no dependents.
  • $31,714 per year if they have one dependent.
  • $31,714 per year for two veterans who are married to each other, one of whom qualifies for Aid and Attendance.
  • $42,433 per year for two married veterans who both qualify for Aid and Attendance. [08]

Survivors Pension

Much like the regular VA Pension rates, Survivors Pension rates are based on the difference between the recipient’s countable income and their MAPR amount.
In 2023, a surviving spouse may receive up to:
  • $10,757 per year if they have no dependents.
  • $14,078 per year if they have one dependent.
  • $17,192 per year if they have no dependents and qualify for the Aid and Attendance benefit.
  • $20,509 per year if they have one dependent and qualify for the Aid and Attendance benefit. [09]
Also, like with the regular VA pension, if a survivor has more than one dependent, they can add $2,743 for each additional dependent. If their dependent child also works, the VA allows the survivor to exclude that dependent’s wages up to $13,850.[09]

Disability compensation rates

A veteran’s monthly payments depend on their service-connected disability rating, meaning the severity of their condition. Generally, the more severe the disability is, the higher the monthly payment tends to be. Note, though, that the number of dependents a veteran has may affect their monthly payment amount. That said, for a veteran with no dependents, monthly payments range from $165.92 for a 10% disability rating to $3,621.95 for a 100% disability rating.[03]

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Are there veterans-only assisted living facilities?

Some assisted living facilities are specifically designed to care for the needs of veterans. A veteran who is enrolled in VA health care benefits but doesn’t need a nursing home level of care may qualify for some coverage of residential long-term care in one of the following settings:
  • Assisted living facility
  • Personal care home
  • Family care home
  • Group living home
  • Psychiatric community residential care home
  • Medical foster home
These settings primarily provide assistance with activities of daily living. Eligibility requirements and the degree of VA coverage for care in these settings vary.

Where to go if you need help

If your loved one needs help applying for VA benefits, consider working with an elder law attorney, an accredited VA consultant, or a Veterans Service Organization (VSO). A VSO representative can help you understand your loved one’s benefits and monthly payments. They can also help file a claim or an appeal, provide transportation to medical appointments, or gather your loved one’s doctor’s reports and lab tests.[11]
If you simply need help deciding what senior care option is right for your loved one, consider reaching out to a Senior Care Advisor for one-on-one support. They can connect you with assisted living options that meet your loved one’s needs at no cost to your family.


  1. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. 2022, October 21). VA pension benefits.

  2. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2022, October 12). VA Aid and Attendance benefits and Housebound allowance.

  3. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2022, November 29). 2023 Veterans disability compensation rates.

  4. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2022, November 29). 2023 VA pension rates for veterans.

  5. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2022, October 12).Eligibility for Veterans Pension.

  6. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2022, October 12). VA Survivors Pension.

  7. A Place for Mom. (2022). A Place for Mom Family Survey.

  8. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2022, November 29).2023 VA Survivors Pension benefit rates.

  9. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2023, February 15).Residential Settings and Nursing Homes.

  10. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2023, January 25). Get help from an accredited representative.

Meet the Author
Grace Styron

Grace Styron is a writer at OurParents specializing in assistive technology, memory care, and home care. Before writing about healthy aging, she worked for an online women’s lifestyle magazine and as a grant writer for a nonprofit regenerative permaculture farm in Virginia. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Missouri State University.

Edited byKristin Carroll
Reviewed byLetha Sgritta McDowell

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