The Veterans Administration has a pension benefit called Aid and Attendance that provides money to those who need assistance performing everyday tasks. Even veterans whose income is above the legal limit for a VA pension may qualify for the Aid and Attendance benefit if they have large medical expenses for which they do not receive reimbursement.

If you are accepted into the Aid and Attendance program, you obtain access to the VA pharmacy. Aid and Attendance is available to veterans who served at least 90 days, with at least one day during war time. The veteran does not have to have service-related disabilities to qualify. Veterans or surviving spouses are eligible if they require the aid of another person to perform an everyday action, such as bathing, feeding, dressing or going to the bathroom. This includes individuals who are bedridden or blind or residing in an assisted care facility.

To qualify, your physician needs to establish that you cannot function completely on your own and need assistance with activities of daily living. You must be 65 or older or have a permanent and total disability. Your income and net worth must not exceed certain limits, visit the VA website for the maximum yearly income allowed.

Millions of Americans — veterans, their spouses, family members and survivors — do not take advantage of their rightful benefits. You can use your veterans’ benefits as part of your long-term financial and physical care planning.
Who is a veteran? A veteran is a person who served in the active military, naval or air forces, including the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard, as well as other categories of services, such as the U.S. Merchant Marine.

To apply, the proper forms must be filled out Form 21-534 surviving spouse or Form 21-526 Veteran. You also need to provide the following information:

  • Form DD-214
  • Discharge certificate
  • Your latest available Social Security award letter with all sources of income, net worth limitations as well as out-of-pocket medical expenses.
  • Supporting medical assessment or medical statement.
  • Marriage certificates if benefits are for a spouse.

Generally, your assets must fall under $80,000 for eligibility. Unreimbursed medical expenses, however, can reduce your income for eligibility purposes.

You do not have to enroll if you have a service-related disability of 50% or more, if you were discharged within the last year and have not been rated for a disability benefit yet, or if you are only seeking care for service related disabilities.

If you do not have a copy of your records, proving veteran status can be difficult, since a warehouse fire in the St. Louis in 1973 destroyed a large percentage of the government’s discharge records.

To prove veteran status, you may find it easier to go through Veteran Service Officers or other service organizations. Veteran status opens eligibility for a number of benefits, including Aid and Attendance, health care, disability compensation, pension, home loan guarantees, and life insurance and burial benefits.

For local information, contact:

The State of Vermont Office of Veterans Affairs

Lesley Martin-Lewis

Phone: 802-828-1081

Cell: 802-224-6080

Email: lesley.martin-lewis@state.vt.us

118 State Street

Montpelier, VT, 05620




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