Veterans Aid & Attendance


It is a privilege and an honor to recognize the sacrifice of service and to hopefully make a difference for you and your loved one.

Are you a veteran or surviving spouse applying for the Aid and Attendance pension benefit? Here are answers to frequently asked questions about this little known benefit available to veterans and spouses.

The Aid and Attendance (A&A) Pension provides benefits that reduce the cost of senior care for veterans and surviving spouses who require assisted living.

  • Benefits for veterans and surviving spouses who require the regular attendance of another person to assist in eating, bathing, dressing and undressing or taking care of the needs of nature.
  • It also includes individuals who are blind or a patient in a nursing home because of mental or physical incapacity. Assisted care in an assisted living facility also qualifies.

The foremost eligibility requirement is the service requirement. The
veteran must have served at least 1 day during wartime.

Under current law, VA recognizes the following wartime periods to determine eligibility for VA Pension benefits:

  • Mexican Border Period: May 9, 1916, through April 5, 1917, for veterans who served in Mexico, on its borders or in adjacent waters.
  • World War I: April 6, 1917, through Nov. 11, 1918; for veterans who served in Russia, April 6, 1917, through April 1, 1920; extended through July 1, 1921, for veterans who had at least one day of service between April 6, 1917, and Nov. 11, 1918.
  • World War II: Dec. 7, 1941, through Dec. 31, 1946.
  • Korean War: June 27, 1950, through Jan. 31, 1955.
  • Vietnam War: Aug. 5, 1964 (Feb. 28, 1961, for veterans who served “in country” before Aug. 5, 1964), through May 7, 1975.
  • Gulf War: Aug. 2, 1990, through a date to be set by law or Presidential Proclamation.
  • Aid and Attendance can help pay for care in the home, nursing home or assisted living facility.
  • A veteran may be eligible up to $1,794 per month
  • Surviving spouse of a veteran may be eligible for up to $1,153 per month.
  • If applying as a couple, they could be entitled up to $2,127 per month.
  • Veteran with a sick spouse may be eligible up to $1,410 per month.

Dates of service can be established from discharge papers. Copies of lost discharge papers can be requested from the National Archives, or by calling 314-801-0800.

There are three tiers of VA benefits for older wartime veterans and their dependents. Basic Pension can be considered the first tier, Housebound the second tier, and Aid and Attendance the third tier. Award amounts increase as the tier increases, and the tiers are based on the needs of the applicant:

  • Basic Pension: Basic Pension is designed to function as cash assistance for low income veterans and their dependents, so applicants may be healthy, but must have a very low income.
  • Housebound Benefit: For the second tier, Housebound, assistance with day to day activities must be needed "regular basis."
  • Aid and Attendance: Assistance must be required on a "daily basis."

Military service is classified either as wartime or peacetime service. This distinction is important because there are significant advantages specifically accruing only to veterans with wartime service. For example, only veterans with wartime service are eligible for non-service-connected disability pension benefits.

The following list sets out the periods of wartime designated by Congress for pension purposes. To be considered by the VA to have served during wartime, a veteran need not have served in a combat zone, but simply during one of these designated periods. All other times are considered peacetime.

Some veterans served part of their tour of duty during wartime and part during peacetime. Even if a majority of a veteran’s service occurred during peacetime, the service member would still meet the wartime service requirement for eligibility for pension benefits if he or she served ninety consecutive days, at least one day of which occurred during a period designated as wartime. All of the listed dates are inclusive.

  • Indian Wars: January 1, 1817, through December 31, 1898. The veteran must have served thirty days or more, or for the duration of such Indian War. Service must have been with the U.S. forces against Indian tribes or nations.
  • Spanish-American War: April 21, 1898, through July 4, 1902, including the Philippine Insurrection and the Boxer Rebellion. Also included are those individuals engaged in the Moro Province hostilities through July 15, 1903.
  • Mexican Border War: May 9, 1916, through April 5, 1917. The veteran must have served for one day or more in Mexico, on the borders thereof, or in the waters adjacent thereto.
  • World War I: April 6, 1917, through November 11, 1918, extended to April 1, 1920, for those who served in the Soviet Union. Service after November 11, 1918, through July 2, 1921, qualifies for benefits purposes if active duty was performed for any period during the basic World War I period.
  • World War II: December 7, 1941, through December 31, 1946, extended to July 25, 1947, where continuous with active duty on or before December 31, 1946
  • Korean Conflict: June 27, 1950, through January 31, 1955.
  • Vietnam Era: August 5, 1964, through May 7, 1975.90 However, February 28, 1961, through May 7, 1975, for a veteran who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period.
  • Persian Gulf War: August 2, 1990, through a date to be prescribed by Presidential proclamation or law.

Congress has not enacted legislation that would make the periods covering the 1983-1984 Lebanon crisis or the invasions of Grenada and Panama wartime service.

  • Any War Veteran with 90 days of active duty, 1 day beginning or ending during a period of War.
  • A surviving spouse of a War Veteran – marriage must have ended in death.
  • The individual must qualify both medically and financially.
  • Unsold primary residence or vehicle is not included as an asset, but once sold, it is considered income/part of net worth.
  • There is no set limit on how much net worth a Veteran and his dependents can have, but net worth cannot be “excessive”. The decision as to whether a claimant’s net worth is excessive depends on the facts of each individual case.
  • For further information regarding financial qualifications, consider seeking the professional advice of an attorney, veteran’s benefits professional, or financial planner; call us to help you connect to the right resources and professionals, locally.
  • We at Arizona Senior Options partner with companies and VA specialists that provide consulting to the veteran and their family throughout the entire application process. Call us so we can put you in touch with the right resources.
  • You may also apply by contacting your Regional Veteran’s Administration Office.
  • To locate the closest regional office to you, visit the VA website at

This is a difficult question to answer. Much depends on the VA regional office for your area. On average, 6 to 8 months seems to be the normal approval time at the moment. Some approvals come through in as little as 6 weeks, but these are the exception. We know of people still waiting for an approval 12 months from the date of filing.

Keep in mind that if the benefit is approved, it is applied retroactively to the date of application. Also, if the applicant is over 90 years old, include a letter requesting that the application be expedited. The VA is supposed to give priority to any application for benefits by a veteran age 90 or older.

You may phone the Veterans Administration Phoenix Regional Benefit Office at (800) 827-1000 for further information, or contact a Veterans Service Office located in each county.

You may also contact the Arizona Department of Veterans' Services at (602) 255-3373 or the US Veterans Affairs Department at (602) 277-5551.

  • Discharge/separation Papers (DD-214. If you need to request military records, please visit to get a copy.
  • Copy of Marriage Certificate (for surviving spouse or when filing for both the veteran and spouse).
  • Copy of current Social Security award letter (Letter that SS sends at the beginning of the year stating what your monthly amount will be for the following year).
  • Net worth information, including bank accounts, CD's, trust, stocks, bonds, annuities, etc.
  • Proof of all income from pensions, retirement, interest income from investments, annuities, etc.
  • Proof of insurance premiums, medications, medical bills or any other medical expenses that are not reimbursed by insurance or Medicare.
  • Physician statement that includes current diagnosis, medical status, prognosis, name and address, ability to care for self, ability to travel unattended, etc. If the applicant is in a nursing home or assisted living facility, you will need to submit a Nursing Home Status Form and a Statement of Occupancy from the facility (ask the facility for this Statement).
  • Banking information for direct deposit of monthly payments (include a voided check).
  • List of all doctors and hospitals visited in the last year.

Be sure to include VA form 21-0845 (Authorization to Disclose Personal Information to a Third Party) if you are filing for your loved one and need to oversee the application process. Without this authorization, the VA will not discuss the application with you.

Never send originals and ALWAYS send all correspondence via Certified Mail "Registered Return Receipt" as well as keeping a complete copy of everything for your own records. If you are in the process of completing an A&A claim, the VA states, "It is not necessary to request a duplicate copy of a veteran's discharge or separation papers solely for the purpose of filing a claim for VA Benefits. If complete information about the veteran's service is furnished on the application, the VA will obtain verification of service." In spite of what the VA says, we recommend including a copy to avoid any imposed delay.

Currently, there is no "look back" period, as with other government programs, such as Medicaid. The VA looks at the value of assets on hand at the time of Aid & Attendance application.

If the VA rules that the applicant is entitled to Aid & Attendance or Housebound benefits, then ALL costs are deductible. The VA's Operating Manual states: "Allow all reasonable fees paid to the facility as long as the facility provides some medical or nursing services for the disabled person. These services do not have to be furnished by a licensed health professional."

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