The application process for the Aid and Attendance pension benefit involves 3 basic steps: gathering documents, completing the necessary VA forms, and mailing the completed application. The details on the qualifications and application process can be found below.

Eligibility for Aid and Attendance Pension

By answering a few simple questions we are able to determine your possible eligibility for the Aid and Attendance pension benefit by using our Veteran Aid and Attendance pension benefit questionnaire. To get started click here

Any wartime veteran with 90 days of active duty, 1 day beginning or ending during a period of war, is eligible to apply for the Aid & Attendance Improved Pension. A surviving spouse (marriage must have ended due to death of veteran) of a wartime veteran may also apply. The individual applying must qualify both medically and financially.

Medical Qualifications for Aid and Attendance Benefit:

  • A wartime veteran or surviving spouse must need the assistance of another person to perform daily tasks, such as eating, dressing, undressing, taking care of the needs of nature, etc. Blind individuals, patients in a nursing home for mental or physical incapacity, or residents in an assisted living facility also qualify.
  • This application will require a medical evaluation from a physician, current medical issues, net worth limitations, and net income, along with out-of-pocket medical expenses.

Financial Qualifications for Aid and Attendance Benefit:

  • An applicant must have on average less than $80,000 in assets, excluding their home and vehicles.

How to Apply for Aid and Attendance

How to Apply for Aid and Attendance: Step 1 - Gather necessary documents

Step 1: Gather the necessary documents

There is much information that needs to be gathered and prepared when applying for the Aid & Attendance Improved Pension. We have compiled a list of the documents you will need, as well as links to download some of the VA and Government Forms that you will need. While it may seem like a daunting task, we recommend that you read through this site to better your understanding of the application process so you are prepared before you speak with any Veterans' Affairs office.

*Note*: You can submit a one-page VA Form 21-0966 (INTENT TO FILE A CLAIM FOR COMPENSATION AND/OR PENSION, OR SURVIVORS PENSION AND/OR DIC) which will get the claim into the system before you send in the complete application. This is optional, but it will help establish a date for retroactive payments once the benefit is awarded. If submitting an Intent to File, the full application has to be submitted within one year to insure the validation of VA Form 21-0966.

To apply for the Aid & Attendance Improved Pension, you will need the following documents. Prepare these before making your filing.

  • Discharge/Separation Papers (DD-214). If you need to request military records, you can either fill out Standard Form 180 or, you can visit the National Archives website for further instructions on how to request military records.
  • Copy of Marriage Certificate and all marital information (unless applying for veteran only)
  • Copy of the Death Certificate (surviving spouses only).
  • Copy of current Social Security award letter (the letter that Social Security sends at the beginning of the year stating what your monthly amount will be for the following year).
  • Net worth information, including bank accounts, CDs, trusts, stocks, bonds, annuities, etc.
  • Proof of all income from pensions, retirement, interest income from investments, annuities, etc.
  • Physician statement that includes current diagnosis, medical status, prognosis, name and address, ability to care for self, ability to travel unattended, etc.
  • Nursing Home Status Statement. (If veteran and/or spouse is in nursing home or assisted living facility) and Statement of Occupancy from the facility (ask the facility for this document).
  • Proof of insurance premiums, medications, medical bills or any other medical expenses that are not reimbursed by insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid.
  • List of all doctors and hospitals visited in the last year. Here is a list of possible medical expenses. Here is a medical expense report (VA Form 21P-8416).
  • Banking information for direct deposit of A&A monthly payments (include a voided check).
  • If you are a court-appointed guardian of the veteran or surviving spouse, a certified copy of the court order of the appointment is required.
  • Employment history (does not apply if applicant is over 65).

How to apply for Aid and Attendance: Step 2 - Fill out necessary VA forms

Step 2: Complete the necessary VA Application Form for filing

Once you have this information compiled, you will need to obtain and complete VA Form 21-527EZ and/or VA Form 21-534EZ for Special Improved benefits with Aid & Attendance. These application forms can be downloaded in PDF format here:

Now that you have all your information, follow the instructions on Form 21-527EZ or Form 21-534EZ to file for your Aid & Attendance Improved Pension. If you need assistance with filing your paperwork, you can contact the VA or utilize our forums where you can ask questions about your application and read others’ questions and advice. We encourage you to explore all the available options and services provided through the VA and service agencies to find the option that's right for you and your circumstances.

How to Apply for Aid and Attendance: Step 3 - Mail the application

Step 3: Mail the application

In mailing your application, we highly recommend that you send your completed application via Certified Mail "Return Receipt" to help avoid the potential of the VA stating that the application was not received. Be certain to keep a copy of the entire application for your own records as well as any other correspondence to and from the VA.

The VA has established various processing center across the country that are solely dedicated to processing applications for Improved Pension. When mailing your application, you need to make certain that you send it to the appropriate center assigned for the state where the applicant resides (the applicant is the veteran or spouse). Listed below is the correct mailing address by state:

Department of Veterans Affairs
Claims Intake Center
Attention: Milwaukee Pension Center
PO Box 5192
Janesville, WI 53547-5192
Department of Veterans Affairs
Claims Intake Center
Attention: St. Paul Pension Center
PO Box 5365
Janesville, WI 53547-5365
Department of Veterans Affairs
Claims Intake Center
Attention: Philadelphia Pension Center
PO Box 5206
Janesville, WI 53547-5206

What to Expect after Filing for Aid & Attendance

It is hard to speculate on what you will experience while filing for the Aid & Attendance Pension. Each case is unique and carries its own set of challenges. It will also depend on which processing center will be handling the claim. For unknown reasons, some centers do a more efficient job than others. How complete the application package is will also impact the process.

One thing you can expect is that it will take between 6-8 months on average for your application to be processed and to receive a determination letter. Due to the current backlog of claims to be processed this timeframe can be much longer.

Many families can't afford to pay for care while waiting for the pension to be approved and funds to be released, which places an additional burden. Some assisted living facilities will work with you if they know the resident qualifies for A&A. Fortunately, all benefits are retro-dated back to the original filing date.

If you or your loved one is age 90 or older, you should request the application process be expedited. The VA's own law states that applications for benefits for a veteran/widow age 90 or older are to be given priority. It is advised that you include a cover letter with the application noting this request.

The Aid and Attendance pension benefit rates for 2017 can be found on our About page.

Additional Forms That May Be Needed When Filing

The following forms are not required when filing for Aid & Attendance on your own, but rather may help when you are using outside help to apply for Aid & Attendance.

If you are using a Fiduciary:

You can request to be appointed as Fiduciary. The VA does not recognize Power of Attorney (POA) or Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA). Please see our FAQ Section for more detailed information on this subject.

The VA will have to approve the individual who acts as the fiduciary as someone reputable to handle the financial affairs according to their guidelines. This will require a meeting with a Field Agent if you request to be appointed. Due to a lack of Field Agents, the wait time for this meeting to be scheduled can be several months. Be sure to include VA Form 21-0845 (Authorization to Disclose Personal Information to a Third Party), so that you will be able to call the VA on behalf of the claimant. Without this form the VA will not discuss the application with you.

As a special note: The person asking to be appointed as Fiduciary needs to be aware that a felony conviction or a filing of bankruptcy will make you an unacceptable candidate to hold this position. Note: only the VSO will be able to inquire about the status of the application and talk to the VA directly about the applicant’s claim if you choose to go this route.

If you would prefer to have a service organization assist you with your claim, you may use VA Form 21-22: Appointment of Veterans Service Organization As Claimant's Representative.


If you'd like to print out the information on this page, please click here: Download printable version of How to Apply