One of The Most Valuable Benefits Available to Veterans Is Also One of The Least Utilized

Millions of our nation’s greatest heroes—veterans and their families who sacrificed so much in defense of our country—are eligible for government benefits but do not receive them. One benefit in particular, the Aid and Attendance Pension Program, can dramatically improve the lives of eligible veterans and their families.

The Aid and Attendance Pension Program allows an eligible veteran to receive more than $27,000 a year for medical expenses and long-term care. The eligible veteran’s widowed spouse can receive over $14,500 a year. This benefit can be used to pay anyone, including family members, for in-home care. It can also be used to pay for assisted living and nursing home care. The Aid and Attendance Pension Program allows an eligible veteran, or the veteran’s widowed spouse, to remain independent for as long as possible, receive the care he or she needs and protect family assets against the high cost of long-term care.

Eligibility requirements for Aid and Attendance include:

  • The veteran must have served 90 days or more of active duty. At least one of these days must have been served during a period of wartime
  • The veteran must have received a discharge other than dishonorable
  • The veteran, or the veteran’s widowed spouse, must have medical expenses and/or care needs
  • Applicants must pass an asset and income test

What happens if a veteran meets all of these requirements but has too many assets to qualify for the benefit? With proper planning, most estates can be restructured so that the veteran or widowed spouse is able to pass the asset and income test, thereby becoming eligible for the benefit.

It is important to note that the vast majority of applications for Aid and Attendance are initially denied despite the fact that the veteran or widowed spouse is indeed eligible. Fortunately, there is an appeal process and many veterans are able to obtain all of the benefits to which they are entitled.

Author Bio

Julianna Malis is the Founder and Managing Partner of Santa Barbara Estate Planning & Elder Law, a Santa Barbara estate planning law firm she founded in 2014. With more than 25 years of experience practicing law, she has dedicated her career to representing clients in a wide range of legal matters, including estate planning, elder law, Medicaid and Medicare planning, probate, and other estate planning areas.

Julianna received her Juris Doctor from the University of the Pacific — McGeorge School of Law and is a member of the California State Bar Association.

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