Magnolia Crossing offers Veteran’s Aid & Attendance Pension Program

Benefits Consultant Michael Penney, discusses the Aid and Attendance Pension Program requirements for assisted living as a veteran at Magnolia Crossing on Saturday, March 16. PHOTO BY RON SUNDQUIST/CLOVIS ROUNDUP

As a veteran, are you aware of a benefit passed by Congress in 1952 called Aid and Attendance Pension Program? It is a benefit program aimed at allowing a veteran and/or a surviving spouse to remain in your own home and receive assistance with activities of daily living, as well as qualifying assisted living communities.

On Saturday, March 16, Retired Senior Officer of the Veterans Administration, and now consultant, Mike Penney spoke at a seminar hosted by Magnolia Crossing. Mr. Penney spoke about the changes made to the program as of Oct. 18, 2018, and an overview of the program.

The Aid and Attendance pension program provides benefits for veterans or surviving spouses who require the regular attendance of another person to assist with eating, bathing, dressing and undressing, or taking care of the needs of nature. It also includes individuals who are blind or are a patient in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity. Care in assisted living may also qualify.

The A&A Pension may provide up to $1,881 monthly to a single veteran, $1,209 monthly for a surviving spouse, or $2230 monthly for a married couple (income, assets and medical expenses are used to determine eligibility).

Effective October 2018, the VA now has a three-year look back. If you have hidden funds to help qualify for the benefit, the VA can deny your claim and a penalty period up to five years.

Any honorably discharged, wartime veteran with at least 90 days active duty, with at least one day of service during recognized wartime, is eligible to apply for the A&A Pension (service prior to 1980). A surviving spouse of a wartime veteran may also apply. The individual applying MUST qualify both medically and financially.

Information needs to be gathered and submitted when applying for the A&A Pension. The following is a list of needed documents:

  • Discharge/separation papers
  • Copy of marriage/divorce/death certificates (all marriages)
  • Documents showing gross income
  • Asset information (all assets including bank accounts, Cds, trusts, stock, annuities, etc)
  • Listing of all recurring medical expenses, including but not limited to, medical insurance premiums, medication, caregivers and any non-reimbursed medical expenses
  • Physician’s statement that includes current diagnosis, medical status, prognosis, name and address of physician, ability to care of one’s self, ability to travel unattended, need  for assistance with ADL’s, and at least one disability rated permanent and total. (VA Form 21-2680)
  • Banking information for direct deposit required

Each case is unique and carries its own set of challenges. Claims can be decided as soon as 100 days or as long as nine months. Fortunately, all benefits are paid from the first of the month after filing. In most cases, the claimant must be alive when the claim is granted. Payments are for the veteran/surviving spouse, not the caregivers or family members.

For more information about this, contact your VA for benefits, a consultant, or a qualifying assisted living facility.