Aid and Attendance Benefit: Where to Find Free Help Applying
If you’re a veteran who needs help paying for home care—either for yourself or your spouse—you may be eligible for the little-known Aid and Attendance benefit.
Aid and Attendance provides money you can use to pay for various forms of long-term care, including home care. Maximum benefits range from about $14,000 to $25,000 annually.
Meeting the qualifications for this improved pension and getting approved for it are two different matters. The application process can be daunting. But there are people out there who will help you apply—for free.
To qualify, you must be 65 or older and have served at least 90 days of active duty, including one day period of war. There are also income and net worth requirements, and, of course, you have to need care. You don’t, however, have to have a service-related injury.
3 Guidelines for Applying for Aid and Attendance
1. Don’t pay for application help.
It’s illegal for people to charge veterans for this. Besides, there are organizations that will help you for free. But be careful when choosing one of those, some have ulterior motives, like upselling you on a service.
2. Get experienced help.
If you can, find someone who’s helped many people apply and knows the system well. People who aren’t as familiar with Aid and Attendance may not be of as much help or, worse, may give you wrong advice.
3. Start now.
You’ll want to file as soon as possible because benefits are retroactive and based on yourapplication date.
Where to Find Help Applying
Organizations that offer free help applying for Aid and Attendance include the following. You don’t have to be a member of any to get the assistance.
- The American Legion: Veterans Claims Assistance. (They also offer a free mobile app called the Claims Coach to help with the filing process. It’s for iPhone and Android users.)
- Disabled American Veterans: National Service Program.
- Veterans of Foreign Wars: National Veterans Service.
Alternately, you can contact a claims agent or attorney who’s accredited by the VA. Find one through the VA’s “Accreditation Search” page. (On the form you’ll find there, just choose your state; skip the name fields.) Not everyone listed will offer this assistance though.
The Department of Veterans Affairs offers direction. Just contact a VA regional office—the one where you applied for your pension if you know it. Even VA service officers have been known to give incorrect advice, so, as you would with any other organization, you may want to double-check the guidance.
One place to research more information yourself is VeteranAid.org, a nonprofit, educational website that focuses on Aid and Attendance. Here, for example, the site provides a few in-depth tips you may want to read before applying.
If you find that Aid and Attendance isn’t right for you, we may be able to help you find another resource that is. Please give us a call. We want to do everything we can to help you remain in your home for years to come.
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