In the United States, November 11th is designated as Veterans Day every year. Chosen because it was the day that marked the end of the U.S. involvement in World War I, Veterans Day is a day to remember fallen soldiers and honor the men and women who have risked their lives in service to their country as members of the nation’s military. If you are a veteran, or you are the surviving spouse of a veteran, Veterans Day is a good time to review your veteran’s benefits. You may wish to pay particular attention to a veteran benefit that many people are unaware of – Veterans Aid & Attendance benefits. If you are entitled to Veterans Aid & Attendance (VA&A) benefits, it could provide you with an additional monetary benefit each month.
Do You Receive Pension Benefits?
In order to determine if you qualify for VA&A benefits there are several “tests” you must pass, the first of which is the pension test. In order to be entitled to VA&A benefit you must first be entitled to a VA pension. If you do receive a pension, any VA&A benefits you qualify for will be in addition to your pension benefits.
Do You Meet the “Aid” Test?
The nest test you must pass is the “aid” test which asks if you need the “aid of another person.” By definition, you need the aid of another person if you fall into one of the following categories:
- You require the aid of another person in order to perform personal functions required in everyday living, such as bathing, feeding, dressing, attending to the wants of nature, adjusting prosthetic devices, or protecting yourself from the hazards of your daily environment
- You are bedridden, in that your disability or disabilities requires that you remain in bed apart from any prescribed course of convalescence or treatment
- You are a patient in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity
- Your eyesight is limited to a corrected 5/200 visual acuity or less in both eyes; or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less
Alternatively, Are You “Housebound?”
If you failed the “aid” test, you could still be entitled to benefits under the “housebound” test. Housebound benefits work essentially the same way; however, instead of meeting the “aid” test you must be considered “housebound.” The program rules consider you to be housebound if you are “substantially confined to your immediate premises because of permanent disability.”
The Service Record Test
To be eligible for VA&A benefits you must also pass the veteran’s service record test. To meet that test, the VA looks at whether the applicant (or the spouse of a survivor):
- Was discharged from a branch of the United States Armed Forces under conditions that were not dishonorable AND
- Served at least one day (did not have to be served in combat) during the following wartime periods and had 90 days of continuous military service:
- World War I: April 6, 1917, through November 11, 1918
- 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
- Persian Gulf War: August 2, 1990, through a date to be set by Presidential Proclamation or Law.
How to Apply for VA&A Benefits
To apply for VA&A benefits, you will need to inquire about your eligibility in writing to the Pension Management Center (PMC) that serves your state. In the alternative, you can visit a regional benefit office in person. If you have been denied VA&A benefits, or any other veteran benefits, be sure to consult with your North Carolina elder law attorney about appealing your denial.
If you have additional questions about Veterans Aid & Attendance benefits, or another other elder law matter, contact the experienced elder law attorneys at The Law Offices of Cheryl David by calling 336-547-9999 to schedule an appointment.