According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are almost 10 million veterans aged 65 or older. Some of these veterans and their dependents have the financial means and the health to care for themselves, but many do not.
To assist low income and disabled veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs created the Aid and Attendance Program. The program provides the highest level of financial assistance possible for veterans who do not have the means to pay for care for themselves and meet certain eligibility criteria.
That criteria includes:
- The veteran must be at least 65 years old and served at least 90 days of active service including at least one day of active service during a period defined as “wartime.”
- They must require assistance from a caretaker with everyday tasks such as bathing, eating, grooming or similar tasks, or;
- They must be bedridden, or:
- They must have mental or physical limitations that require them to be a patient in a nursing home or assisted care facility, or;
- They must have extreme limited visual limitations including corrected eyesight of 5/200 or less in both eyes or an extreme contraction of their eyes visual fields.
In addition, Aid and Attendance applicants must meet certain low income and asset limitations.
Although not a completely hard and fast rule, they must not have more than $80,000 in assets, excluding their home, car and other personal goods.
They must also meet certain low net income standards that vary by individual situations.
Applying can be a lengthy process and final approval may take up to nine months or more. There are a number of documents and approvals an applicant must secure prior to receiving a benefit.
Fortunately, organizations such as the VFW, the American Legion and Disabled Veterans of America are available to assist with the application process.