I thought I'd share some of the misinformation we heard while researching and applying for A & A for my dad (who has Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia). Some of this misinformation would be funny, if the matter weren't so serious:
1) Your dad can't receive both military retirement and Aid and Attendance. He can only receive the greater of the two. If he chooses Aid and Attendance, he'll have to give up his military retirement.
WRONG! Military retirement is counted as income when determining eligibility, but a military retiree does not have to forfeit his/her military retirement to get A & A.
2) Your dad's medical expenses must exceed his income to get any A & A.
WRONG! An applicant's medical expenses are subtracted from his income. If the result is less than an amount set by law, the applicant could be eligible for some A & A, if he/she meets all the other requirements.
3) A & A is an all or nothing benefit. You either get the full amount or you get nothing. For a married veteran who needs attendance for himself, he would get $1949 (that was the full amount at that time) or nothing.
WRONG! My dad is receiving a partial award because his medical expenses don't quite zero out his income. What he's receiving is all he needs, so we're happy.
4) VA will not award A & A unless the applicant needs help with 1) bathing, 2) dressing, or 3) eating.
Correct answer: not necessarily. Applicant's with Alzehimer's disease can be eligible if they don't need help with those things because Alzheimer's patients often need the aid and attendance of another person to protect themselves from the hazards of their environment (that was one of the reasons the VA used to qualify my dad).
5) A veteran with a spouse is only eligible for up to $1644 (the amount at the time for a single veteran) in A & A if he only needs assistance for himself. He would only be eligible for the $1949 (the amount for veteran with spouse) if his spouse also needed assistance.
WRONG! A married veteran would be eligible for the veteran with spouse benefit of up to $1949 (now $2020) even if his spouse does not need assistance.
6) To apply for A & A, just send in form 21-2680, Examination for Housebound Status or Permanent Need For Regular Aid and Attendance.
WRONG! There are several forms needed to apply for this benefit. Form 21-2680 documents the medical necessity; other forms document the financial necessity.
In reviewing the rules myself, I don't believe they're so complicated that individuals certified by the VA should be giving out this much incorrect information. And VA employees, particularly those who handle the A & A claims should not be giving out this kind of invalid information.
Hopefully, some of this information will help others trying to get this benefit.