Dallas Veteran's Aid and Attendance Lawyer
Our VA accredited attorneys assist military families obtain VA benefits to help cover the cost of long-term care.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (the VA) offers a Special Pension with Aid and Attendance (A&A) benefit that is paid in addition to other VA pension benefits. Largely unknown, the A&A Special Pension can help pay for care in the home, in an assisted living facility, or in a nursing home. The A&A Special Pension is not dependent upon service-related injuries.
VA Aid and Attendance Eligibility
To qualify medically for A&A Special Pension, a veteran, or his or her single surviving spouse must:
- Require the regular assistance of another person to perform everyday tasks, such as eating, dressing, undressing, bathing, and toileting;
- Be blind, bedridden, or need help adjusting to special prosthetic or orthopedic devices; or
- Have a physical or mental injury or illness that requires regular assistance to protect them from hazards or dangers in their daily living environment.
The veteran must have qualifying military service. In other words, the veteran must have served at least 90 days of active military service, one day of which must have been during a period of war, and the veteran must have been discharged under other than dishonorable conditions. Service combat is not required.
There are also income and financial net worth limitations to eligibility.
A claimant should not have household income in excess of the applicable Maximum Annual Pension Rate (MAPR). For example, using rates for 2011, a single surviving spouse with an “aid and attendance” medical rating cannot make more than $1,056 a month or $12,681 a year from all sources. Importantly, household income can be reduced to offset unreimbursed medical expenses, including: Medicare premium deductions, health insurance premiums, prescription drug, aid and attendant services, assisted living, and nursing home.
Furthermore, a claimant should have a financial net worth of less than $80,000, excluding their home and vehicles. Unlike Medicaid, no penalty is imposed for gifts made prior to applying for A&A Special Pension.
VA Aid and Attendance Planning
Fewer than 5% of all people who could qualify for A&A Special Pension actually receive the benefit. Our VA accredited attorneys believe that all eligible households should be aware of the benefit’s existence and the planning opportunities available to veterans and their families.
We routinely advise clients on appropriate gifting techniques to achieve A&A Special Pension eligibility. These techniques typically involve the use of an irrevocable grantor trust which provides asset protection to trust beneficiaries and desirable income and capital gains tax treatment.
Most elder law attorneys have little to no experience with veterans benefits. Likewise, most veterans benefit representatives do not understand the impact of their planning on Medicaid eligibility in Texas. If the claimant’s medical condition worsens, requiring the claimant to move to a nursing home within 5 years of a gift (as defined by Medicaid), a transfer penalty may be imposed delaying access to vital Medicaid benefits.
We encourage you to call us today to learn more about VA Aid and Attendance and other long-term care benefits that may be available to you or a loved one.