Understanding Retirement Benefits for Veterans
Aid and Attendance Benefit
The Aid and Attendance benefit is available to veterans (and their spouses) to help with medical expenses and costs for home and assisted-living care. If you served at least 90 days of active duty during wartime, then you qualify. Under current law, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recognizes the following wartime periods to determine eligibility:
- Mexican Border Period (May 9, 1916 – April 5, 1917 for veterans who served in Mexico, on its borders, or adjacent waters)
- World War I (April 6, 1917 – November 11, 1918)
- World War II (December 7, 1941 – December 31, 1946)
- Korean conflict (June 27, 1950 – January 31, 1955)
- Vietnam era (February 28, 1961 – May 7, 1975 for veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period; otherwise, August 5, 1964 – May 7, 1975)
- Gulf War (August 2, 1990 – through a future date to be set by law or Presidential Proclamation)
There is no requirement mandating that you served internationally, experienced combat, or suffered injury. As long as a non-VA doctor confirms that you or your spouse needs assistance, then you may be eligible for Aid and Attendance benefits.
Aid and Attendance benefits are tax-free and paid directly to you so they can really add up. For example:
- A veteran of WWII with a spouse can receive up to $23,396 annually.
- A veteran of the Vietnam era with a spouse and one child can receive up to $25,416 annually
Many veterans believe that their income levels dictate whether or not they qualify for Aid and Attendance benefits—but this is incorrect. As long you meet the criteria established by the VA, you’ll receive these benefits for as long as you live.
Quoting directly from the VA, you may be eligible for this benefit if at least one of these is true:
- You need another person to help you perform daily activities, like bathing, feeding, and dressing
- You have to stay in bed, or spend a large portion of the day in bed, because of illness
- You are a patient in a nursing home due to the loss of mental or physical abilities related to a disability
- Your eyesight is limited (even with glasses or contact lenses you have only 5/200 or less in both eyes; or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less).
The Right Path
Sadly, it has been suggested that most veterans who apply on their own for Aid and Attendance benefits never receive them. Which is why it’s important to find a knowledgeable and experienced financial advisor who knows how to navigate the VA.
There are literally billions of dollars set aside in Aid and Attendance benefits that veterans and surviving spouses have earned.
Working with a trusted and experienced financial advisor can help you receive the benefits you deserve because of the sacrifice you’ve made to serve our nation.