The term aid and attendance is used to refer to veterans’ disability benefits which are actually known as pension. The reason why this term is used is to cater for those veterans or their spouses who are housebound or being attended to by a caregiver. Proof of this need of care is certified by a rating. A veteran or surviving spouse with a rating, qualifies for pension.
Types of Disability Benefits
The branch of Veteran Affairs in Michigan provides two kinds of disability benefits to veterans who have been on active duty: pension and compensation.
Pension is provided as supplemental income for older or disabled veterans with a low income. It is meant for veterans with disabilities that they did not acquire while in active duty. If a veteran’s income is more than the pension amount, then they are not awarded any benefit. However, a veteran’s income may be modified for recurring and future unreimbursed medical costs. This provides an opportunity for veterans with an income that is more than the pension amount, to be eligible for monthly benefits. Veteran Affairs also reviews a veteran’s assets to determine whether they qualify for pension.
Compensation is meant to award veterans a fixed amount of income on a monthly basis to compensate for the potential loss of income because of an injury, illness or disability incurred while on active duty. For a veteran to receive compensation, they have to prove that their disability is connected to their job. There is no asset or income test for most compensation awards. Furthermore, compensation benefits are non taxable.
Applying for Veteran’s Aid Benefits
When a veteran in an assisted living facility in Michigan wants to apply for aid and attendance benefits, they should have the following requirements:
- Discharge or separation papers
- A copy of their marriage certificate as well as any marital information
- A death certificate copy is required for surviving spouses
- A copy of a current social security benefits letter
- Net worth data including trusts, bonds, stocks, annuities and bank accounts
- Proof of income from retirement, pension and interest from investments or annuities
- A guardian who is appointed by the court to care for the veteran or their surviving spouse should provide a copy of the court appointment letter.
- Proof of medications, insurance premiums, medical bills and other medical cost that are not paid for by Medicare, Medicaid or insurance.
- Employment history- This only applies for veterans who are below 65 years
- A physician’s statement including medical status, current diagnosis, name and address, prognosis and the ability to care for oneself.
- A list of all the hospitals and doctors visited in the past year.
- Banking information for aid and attendance monthly payments.
The time it takes for an application for A&A benefits to be approved depends on the VA office in your area. A typical application takes 6-9 months to be approved. Some applications are approved in 6 weeks.
The VA gives priority to applications made by veterans who are 90 years and above. If an applicant is over 90 years old, they should send a letter to request that the approval be expedited.
If you are a veteran, or you have a loved one who is, and you’re looking for coverage and financial support, USA War Vet is here for you. Call us at 1-800-850-5504 or visit us at www.usawarvet.org to learn more.