Are you a senior? Are you a Veteran? If so, do you know about the VA Aid and Attendance (A&A) pension benefit? If you don’t, then you might be missing out on additional assistance you can use to pay for senior care such as personal care services, in-home care or moving to a senior living community.
“There are millions of Veterans who’ve earned this fantastic benefit, but many of those who qualify don’t know about it,” says Allison Hicks, Community Liaison of Bluegrass Senior Living at Somerset. “Even if they do know about it, they may think that qualifying for the benefit is difficult or too confusing. That really couldn’t be further from the truth. For those who qualify, the Aid & Attendance pension benefit can make senior care more affordable, giving them options and opportunities they might not be able to afford otherwise.”
There are more than a few misconceptions about the benefit, says Allison. Many families and seniors may think the program is only for those who’ve actually served in combat, or that they or their loved one didn’t actually serve in wartime (the VA’s definition of wartime is different from the actual dates of conflict). They may also think a senior must be impoverished, or that it will affect your other benefits.
“The Aid & Attendance pension is a true benefit that will not affect a senior’s quality of life in any way except for the better,” says Allison. “When we open our doors, Bluegrass Senior Living will be honored to serve those who’ve served us, so if you are a senior veteran or a loved one of a senior Veteran, we will be happy to help you apply for benefits you have rightly earned.”
What is the Aid & Attendance pension?
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs states that the Aid and Attendance (A&A) pension is an additional monthly payment that is given on top of the existing benefits. This particular benefit provides monetary assistance for Veterans and surviving spouses who need additional assistance for activities of daily life (ADLs) including mobility, bathing, dressing, grooming and others. This benefit can be used to pay for in-home care services, private-pay nursing homes or lodging at a personal care community.
How much can a qualified person receive?
It can be confusing to determine how much a qualified person will receive from A&A. Fortunately, there are services such as VeteranAid.org that can help strip away the red tape and give helpful answers. According to them, the 2019 benefit rates for A&A are:
- $1,881 for Veterans
- $2,230 for a Veteran and spouse
- $1,438 for a Veteran with an ailing spouse
- $1,209 for surviving spouses of Veterans
- $2,985 for two married Veterans
Please note: Monetary benefits listed are the maximum one could receive and the amounts are adjusted every year.
Who qualifies for the Aid & Attendance pension benefit?
You may qualify for the benefit if you meet one of the requirements below:
- You have financial need.
- You need the help of another person in order to take care of daily functions like bathing, dressing, using the bathroom or simply staying safe in your home environment (e.g. navigating stairs).
- You are bedridden due to a disability or disabilities.
- You’re a patient in a nursing facility due to physical incapacity or mental 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.
It’s important to note that the A&A pension can apply to independent Veterans whose spouse requires personal care services. In that case, the spouse would need to meet one of the above requirements and the Veteran would need to file as “Veteran with a sick spouse.”
Does A&A take the place of my existing pension?
No. The A&A pension is paid in addition to any monthly pension you may receive, including Social Security benefits.
How do I apply for A&A?
You can apply for the A&A pension benefit by writing to your state’s Pension Management Center (PMC). You can also visit a local regional benefit office and file your request there (locate the office nearest you by using the VA Facility Locator). In order to file, you’ll need to have some evidence, such as a physician’s report, that details why you need the benefit. For more information, contact your local VA office, your physician or connect with a community such as Bluegrass Senior Living who has experience dealing with Veterans benefits.
“Our Veterans deserve our utmost respect and gratitude and helping them receive the benefits they need in order to live the best quality of life is the very least we can do,” says Allison. “At Bluegrass Senior Living, we aim to empower senior Veterans with the proper amount of support they need in order to fully enjoy this time of their lives. We look forward to assisting you or your loved one with the caring, quality and affordable support you deserve.”
For more information about our personal care community that is coming soon to Somerset, please contact us at 859-474-7856.
Big on Commitment. Big on Community.
Ever since its founding, Kentucky Farm Bureau has served as the "Voice of Kentucky Agriculture," representing the interests of agricultural producers and rural communities and being an effective advocate for its members. When the organization discovered a severe lack of affordable, quality senior care available in the state, they acted – and thus, the vision Bluegrass Senior Living was born.
Bluegrass Senior Living, scheduled to open in the fall of 2019, is the culmination of three years of planning by KFB and its partners. Bluegrass Senior Living aims to empower residents with the right amount of support, free from the concerns of home upkeep and chores. Instead, residents can enjoy the social benefits of community living with the benefit of top-notch amenities and programs to ensure their future happiness.
Our Somerset location will be the first of several planned communities across the state that will provide Kentucky families with quality senior living options inspired by the familiar traditions and values on which our community thrives.
For more information, please call 859-474-7856.