The pitfalls of aid and attendance for veterans

Helping your parents develop an estate plan and collect benefits from programs they qualify for can be stressful and complicated if the process is new to you. Veterans have additional programs they can take advantage of to assist in paying for the high costs of long-term care. There are three types of veteran pensions:

  • Basic: For healthy veterans over age 65 with limited income
  • Aid and Attendance: For veterans over age 65 who need assistance with daily living tasks
  • Housebound: For veterans with a complete disability that does not allow them to leave the home

Both surviving veterans or a surviving spouse with limited income may be eligible for the Aid and Attendance pension, which can make facilities such as assisted living or nursing homes much more affordable.

While Aid and Attendance can be valuable for your parent, as it provides additional monthly income over the Basic pension level, this program may affect their eligibility for other government assistance. There are some scenarios where your parent may collect benefits from two programs, but you should understand how Florida laws and federal programs work before making a final decision.

  • Medicaid: Medicaid has its own set of qualifiers, and receiving A&A can affect eligibility. If your parent already receives Medicaid, adding A&A income may put him or her over the maximum income level allowed for receiving Medicaid benefits. Keep in mind, however, that if your veteran parent has a spouse, the husband or wife could be eligible for Medicaid while the veteran is receiving A&A.
  • VA Disability: Generally, veterans may not collect both A&A and VA Disability, but they can choose the program that gives them the most income.
  • Surviving spouses: If your parent is the surviving spouse of a veteran, she or he cannot receive both Dependents Indemnity Compensation and a death pension.

Estate planning lawyers can help decide which program would be most beneficial for your parent and whether your mom or dad qualifies for more than one. Discuss these details with your family to ensure you choose the right programs for maximum care benefits.