Many Veterans believe that they have to have
suffered an in-service disability to qualify for monetary benefits from the
Veterans Administration.  This is a
common misconception.  Depending on their
health status, their income, and their assets, many senior Veterans and their
dependent or surviving spouses can qualify for not only basic “Improved
Pensions” based on low income, but also supplemental benefits of up to $2053 per
month as of 2013.  The supplemental
benefits are called “Housebound Benefits” and “Aid & Attendance Benefits.” 

In order to qualify for any of these pension benefits,
the Veteran (or surviving spouse, based on the Veteran’s military service
record), must satisfy the following general criteria:

The Veteran must have served at least 90 days of
active duty.

At least one day out of the 90 days of active
duty must have been during war time (there are defined dates for the beginning
and end of World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam Conflict; the Gulf War,
which began on August 2, 1990, is not concluded yet, and its ending date will
be set by Presidential Proclamation at the appropriate time).

The Veteran must have received a discharge other
than dishonorable.

The claimant and household must have limited
income and assets.

The claimant must have a permanent and total
disability at the time of application (note that a surviving spouse can qualify
for a basic low income pension without being disabled, but the Veteran must be
disabled—although the disability does not have to be related to war time or
military service).

The disability must have been caused without the
willful misconduct of the claimant and must not have been due to the abuse of
alcohol or drugs.

As the name implies, Housebound Benefits are
payable where the claimant is substantially confined to his or her home because
of permanent disability.  In order to
qualify for Aid & Attendance benefits, the claimant must:

Require the aid of another person in order to
perform personal functions required for everyday living (such as bathing,
feeding, dressing, toileting, transferring from bed to a wheelchair, or dealing
with incontinence) OR

Be bedridden, in that he or she must remain in
bed apart from any prescribed course of convalescence or treatment OR

Be a patient in a nursing home due to mental or
physical capacity OR

Be blind or have very poor vision.

Applying for these supplemental benefits is not a
quick or simple process, and if you decide to apply, you may want to enlist the
help of a Veterans’ assistance organization or a specially-trained individual.  Note that whoever assists with the
application cannot charge a fee for that service.  However, if the individual or organization
performs other services, fees may be chargeable for those other services.

Post a Reply