Most veterans of our country’s armed forces are aware of at least some of the benefits that are available to them during and after their active service. But one that is often overlooked is the Aid and Attendance benefit. Not only is this benefit available to the veteran but may also be available to his or her spouse after the veteran’s death.
This benefit is called “Aid and Attendance” because that is what it designed to support. The veteran or the surviving spouse of a veteran must show that he or she needs the aid and attendance of another person (1) for at least two daily activities such as bathing, dressing or undressing, or eating; or (2) because he or she is blind or nearly blind; or (3) because he or she is in a nursing home.
For either to qualify, the veteran must served in a war for at least 90 days of active duty, with at least one day beginning or ending during a period of war. After meeting this requirement, other criteria considered includes an asset and income qualification. A veteran and spouse cannot have more than $80,000 in assets (although this does not include the value of a home or vehicles). For a single veteran or surviving spouse, the amount is less.
One downside to this benefit is that even those who qualify may have to wait a long time, even up to a year or longer, for approval. One way to speed up the process is to make sure that all of the necessary paperwork is completed accurately. An attorney who is experienced in this process should be able to help with this process. In addition, an attorney who is also experienced in estate planning can be helpful in determining where the Aid and Attendance benefit can fit into your overall retirement and estate plan.