• Millions of people are missing out on this benefit. Your dad, your mother, your spouse or you may qualify. Veterans, spouses, widows and widowers are entitled to payments for long term care. That can be up to $1,949 per month for a couple that both need care and qualify for it. It could be $1600 for a single veteran, $1,055 for a surviving spouse.

    Veterans need to have served at least 90 days of active military service, which includes at least one day in a war, and not have a dishonorable discharge. Veterans of WWII, the Korean War and Vietnam all can qualify with certain financial qualifications. (Rules differ for those starting service during late 1980.)

    It’s called Aid-and-Attendance benefits from the Veterans Administration. Tom Pamperinate associate deputy undersecretary for Veterans Benefits told the Wall Street Journal “it doesn’t occur to veterans in their 70’s whose last involvement with the VA may have been financing a house.”

    1. Income

    Check the requirements carefully with the VA but as a rule of thumb, a couple’s actual income cannot be above $23,296 or $19,736 for a veteran, $12,681 for their spouse – but that’s after deducting any un-reimbursed medical expenses including cost of assisted living, home health care, prescription drugs and insurance premiums.

    2. Net Worth

    The determination doesn’t need to be done if the person’s assets are less than $89,000 in liquid assets, but that’s after excluding a home and personal car. The VA urges applications be submitted as long as the Net Worth or Income are anywhere close to the stated limits.

    3. Long Term Care

    The determination of need for help is defined as being unable to perform certain functions. A doctor’s statement is needed.

    4. Application

    The Basic Pension is the first level of the Improved Pension which is what you’ll need. It seems that when a veteran reaches 65, the VA classifies them permanently and totally disabled regardless of their physical fitness.

    The two levels of the Improved Pension are Housebound and Aid & Attendance. All three levels should be applied for by using form 21- 526 for the veteran, and 21-534 for a spouse.

    For more explanation, http://www.veteranaid.org/program.php, is easy to understand and a good place to start. But be aware this is not an official govenment site. The health care facilities recommendations are really just advertisments for private businesses. Some other sites try to sell a booklet or other information which is available free on line or at the Veterans Administration.The official government site for Aid and Attendance and housebound benefits is http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/pension/vetpen.htm#7

    Get help with the qualifying and registering process at www.va.gov, go to Locations, then click on “State Veteran Affairs offices,” Veterans Service Organizations or “Regional Benefits Offices.”

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