For purposes of elderly veterans and their widows, the primary benefit utilized in paying for long-term care is the VA’s Aid & Attendance pension. It is a monthly pension available to wartime veterans and their surviving spouses. When at least one day of a ninety day or more active duty service was spent during wartime (as defined by the VA), the veteran or their surviving spouse may qualify for this pension. There are multiple qualifications which must be met, but the principal component is that the veteran or surviving spouse must be over age 65 or totally disabled and show medical need. There are asset limits for qualifying, but currently there is no look-back period. This has caused many people to transfer the bulk of their assets to their children in order to qualify for the benefit. However, much caution should be used since transferring assets can create problems with qualifying later for Medicaid. It is also best to utilize an irrevocable trust to avoid the children actually taking immediate individual ownership of the assets.
Maximum monthly amount received under Aid & Attendance pension benefit:
$1,732 – single
$2,054 – married
$1,113 – surviving spouse