Veterans that need to enter a nursing facility, assisting living facility or need to hire a caregiver to come to their homes can apply for additional monthly benefits through the Aid and Attendance increased pension program. If you’re a Michigan veteran or a surviving spouse, the extra money can help offset the out-of-pocket costs for care. Not many are aware the program can provide nearly $1,800 each month. If you can’t apply for benefits, a caregiver, family member or social worker can apply on your behalf.
The pension is open to war-time veterans with at least 90 days of active duty service and their surviving spouses. To qualify, your physician must confirm that you need assistance with daily activities, such as getting dressed, undressed, bathing, cooking, getting to appointment, etc. Assistance is also available to individuals who are blind or confined to a nursing facility. Your doctor or care giver will need to complete and submit a form that indicates your inability to perform basic activities alone. If you’re a married veteran and your spouse is also ill, you can apply together. If you’re a healthy, married veteran and your spouse is ill, you can apply for benefits for your sick spouse.
At of 2015, The Aid and Attendance pension provides up to $1,788 per month to a veteran, $1,149 per month to a surviving spouse and $2,120 per month for couples. For a sick spouse, the amount is $1,380 per month. This amount is in addition to your regular pension.
You must complete and file the Veterans Application for Pension or Compensation. Even if you’re currently receiving a pension, you’ll still need to complete the form and select the “Aid & Attendance” option. For surviving spouse, it’s Form 21-534EZ. For veterans, it’s Form 21-527EZ. If you’re applying with a spouse, complete the veteran form. The instructions are included on the application. You’ll be asked basic questions about your identity, military service, disability or condition, limitations and monthly expenses. You can apply online or download and print the application form found on the VA.gov website. You can also apply in person by visiting your local Michigan regional Veterans Affairs office. If you aren’t sure where the nearest office is located, use the search feature on the VA site.
Certain documentation is required to apply for Aid and Attendance benefits. You’ll need:
- A copy of your DD-214 discharge papers
- A death certificate (if you are the surviving spouse
- A medical evaluation from a physician
- List of current medical conditions and limitations
- Net worth (including all assets)
- Net income
- Out-of-pocket medical expenses
Submitting the Application
If you applied in person, the VA office will handle the submission process. However, if you want to mail in your application, send it “Return Receipt” to the address indicate on the application, not a regional or Michigan state office. Benefits are generally retroactive from your application date. Make sure you maintain a copy of the application and all supporting documents for your records.
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.