Payment for Nursing Homes: A Little-Known VA Disability Benefit

Many veterans have given their lives to military service, only to have to fight for their benefits after they have fallen on hard times. Hundreds of veterans are forced to spend their life savings on nursing home care, simply because they do not know that the Veterans Administration (VA) could be footing the bill for them.

Can You Get VA Disability Payments for the Costs of a Nursing Home?

Both veterans and the surviving spouses of veterans who need long-term care qualify for Aid and Attendance, a special benefit program through the VA. Aid and Attendance is a pension benefit, and is entirely separate from VA compensation payments.

You may be able to receive Aid and Attendance if you are:

  • Not-disabled. Veterans do not need to have service-related disabilities to qualify for pension benefits. However, they are required to have served at least 90 days in the military with at least one day during wartime.
  • A veteran’s spouse. Surviving spouses of veterans can get Aid and Attendance is they live in a nursing home, but also if they require help for daily activities, including bathing, getting dressed, feeding themselves, or going to the bathroom.
  • Under the income limit. To qualify for pension benefits, a veteran (or spouse) must not earn more than the allowable monthly income. This amount varies each year; in 2015, the allowable income for a veteran was $21,466, while the maximum income for a surviving spouse was $13,794. Welfare benefits, Supplemental Security Income, unreimbursed medical expenses, long-term care, and other monthly out-of-pocket costs will not be counted when calculating income.
  • Over the income limit. If a veteran’s or spouse’s income is above the legal limit, he or she may still qualify for a VA pension to cover a portion of care, as long as he or she has less than $80,000 in assets (not counting a home or vehicle). When you apply for a pension, the VA will total the amount of your income and subtract the amount you pay for home health care and insurance to estimate your countable income. The VA then pays the difference between your countable income and maximum allowed income.

What If I Need Help, But Can’t Afford a VA Disability Attorney?

At Cuddigan Law, we know that many veterans cannot afford to hire a lawyer to fight for their benefits. That is why our attorneys do not charge any upfront fees when we take your case, and we do not get paid unless we get your benefits approved. We also thoroughly review your case to see if you qualify for additional benefits, helping you to get monthly payments you never knew existed.

Email us today at [email protected] to tell us about the problems you have been having, or download a free copy of our book, The Essential Guide to VA Disability Claims, for more information.

 

Sean D. Cuddigan
SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska