The improved pension program is a benefit mandated by Congress for qualifying wartime veterans and surviving spouses, because of non-service connected disability or age. This benefit was funded by Congress in 2001 and increases yearly according to the social security cost of living increases.
Aid and Attendance (A&A) is a benefit paid in addition to monthly pension. Benefits may be available for veterans and surviving spouses who require the regular attendance of another person to assist in bathing, dressing, feeding (not to include meal preparation), mobility (assistance with getting in or out of a chair or bed), hygiene (brushing teeth or toileting), supervision due to cognitive impairment. The veteran or spouse must be paying out of pocket for this assistance. This benefit is available to individuals who reside in assisted living communities, personal care homes, skilled nursing facilities and those receiving personal in-home care.
What are the eligibility criteria?
Military eligibility is the first requirement.
The veteran must have served in active military for 90 or more consecutive days, with one day during a period of wartime as defended by the Veterans Administration.
The veteran must have been discharged under anything other than dishonorable conditions.
The veteran must be at least 65 years of age or totally and permanently disabled.
A surviving spouse of a war veterans may be eligible if he or she remained married to the veteran until death and has not remarried. A divorced spouse is NOT eligible for pension benefits.
What are the periods of war considered by the VA?
World War II: December 7, 1941 through December 31, 1946
Korean War: June 27, 1950 through January 31, 1955
Vietnam War: August 5, 1964 (February 28, 1961 for veterans who served in country before August 5, 1964) through May 7, 1975
Gulf War: August 2, 1990 through a date to be set by law of Presidential Proclamation.
This pension benefit is one of the most misunderstood benefits being administers by the VA today. There are veterans and spouses that are told that they do not qualify when in fact they can. There are a number of criteria that may affect your eligibility to pension benefits. Call Jim Hanna, Veterans Claim Agent (210-641-5000 or 1-800-952-9445) and he will assist you with the eligibly requirements and guide you through the process. The more complete your application is, the more likely your claim will move quickly through the Veterans Administration Pension Center. Filing time is important because all benefits are retro-dated back to the date that the VA receives the claim.
Jim helps families understand the benefit by conducting free
informational seminars to let them know the basic information that will
be needed to apply. He holds these at assisted living facilities, long
term care and rehabs and many other sites. If families want more
information, he will meet with them one-on-one to answer questions that
they might have and not want to ask in a large group.