Veterans: do you qualify for more than a pension?

Paying for healthcare and other needs related to old age and disability can be stressful, especially for veterans who may have limited resources. It is important for veterans to know that there are federal programs out there above and beyond the VA pension program.

Veterans who qualify for a VA pension may also be able to receive one of two other underused benefits. Aid and Attendance (A&A) is available to veterans in need of additional help, and disabled veterans can apply for Housebound benefits through the VA.

Aid and Attendance Benefits for Veterans

Aid and Attendance (A&A) is a benefit that can be paid to veterans already eligible for a monthly veterans pension, and is paid in addition to the pension. How do you know if you are eligible for A&A benefits? You might be eligible if:

  • You require the aid of another person to help you with daily personal care tasks like bathing, feeding, dressing, toiletry and other day-to-day activities, or
  • You are confined to a bed permanently (this does not include being temporarily bedridden for sickness or recovery from illness or surgery), or
  • You are a nursing home patient with a mental or physical incapacity, or
  • You are blind or nearly blind (corrected visual acuity of 5/200 or less in both eyes or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less).

Housebound Benefits for Veterans

Housebound benefits are also paid in addition to the monthly veterans pension, however veterans cannot receive both A&A and Housebound benefits at the same time. You might be eligible for Housebound benefits if:

  • You have a single, permanent 100 percent disabling disability and due to your disability you are permanently confined to your home or other living space, or
  • You have a single, permanent 100 percent disabling disability and another disability that is 60 percent or more disabling.

How can you apply for A&A or Housebound benefits?

If you believe that you qualify for either A&A or Housebound benefits then you must apply in writing to your local VA regional office. As a part of your application, you must include evidence of your disability. A detailed copy of a report from your doctor that validates your need for one of these benefits is preferable.

You will also have to provide information to show that you are confined to your home or other living space, including how you get around, where you go and what you do during a typical day. All of this information is used to help the VA determine if you qualify for A&A or Housebound benefits.