VA Aid and Attendance (A&A) Benefit Eligibility

VA Aid and Attendance (A&A) Benefit Eligibility

Are You Eligible for the A&A Benefit?

Determining eligibility isn’t always easy and each case is ultimately decided by the VA. Here are the general guidelines to help you decide whether to apply for Aid and Attendance.
Veterans who served on active duty for at least 90 consecutive days, including at least one full day during a time of war, may be eligible for Aid and Attendance if they also qualify for the basic Veterans Pension and meet the clinical and financial requirements.
Service in a combat zone is not a requirement. Widowed spouses of eligible veterans may also qualify if they meet the clinical and income requirements and have not remarried.

How Is Wartime Service Defined?

Congress defines the wartime dates that the VA uses to decide which veterans qualify for benefits like Aid and Attendance:

  • World War II: December 7, 1941 — December 31, 1946
  • Korean Conflict: June 27, 1950 — January 31, 1955
  • Vietnam Era: February 28, 1961 — May 7, 1975, for Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period; otherwise August 5, 1964 — May 7, 1975
  • Gulf War: August 2, 1990, through a future date to be set by Presidential proclamation or law (for VA benefits purposes, this time of war is still in effect)

Basic Veterans Pension Requirements

In addition to the active duty and wartime service requirements, eligible veterans must also meet at least one of these criteria to qualify for the basic pension:

  • Be 65 or older with no or limited income
  • Have a permanent and total disability
  • Receive Supplemental Security Income
  • Receive Social Security Disability Insurance
  • Reside in a nursing home
Veterans and surviving spouses who meet the eligibility requirements for the basic pension must also meet clinical and financial requirements to qualify for Aid and Attendance.

Clinical Requirements for A&A

Veterans or surviving spouses must meet at least one of these clinical criteria:

  • Be bedridden except for medical and therapy appointments and treatments
  • Have severe visual impairment (eyesight limited to a corrected 5/200 visual acuity OR less in both eyes OR concentric contraction of the visual field to five degrees or less)
  • Reside in a nursing home because of physical or mental incapacity, including Alzheimer’s and dementia
  • Require help with some activities of daily living (ADL's) such as, but not limited to: bathing, dressing, eating, using the bathroom, etc.

Financial Requirements for A&A

In December 2018, the VA set a clear upper limit for applicants’ net worth of $123,600 not including the applicant’s automobile, personal effects and residence. The VA also implemented a three-year lookback period to see if assets were sold below market value or gifted in a way that reduced net worth below the upper eligibility limit. If so, that may delay (but not necessarily prohibit) the start of VA pension benefit payments.

There’s also an upper limit on monthly countable income minus expenses such as unreimbursed medical bills, prescription out-of-pocket costs and Medicare and private health insurance premiums. (You can see a list of potential medical expenses here.) The VA pays benefit amounts that make up the difference between recipients’ countable income and the monthly upper limit.

VA A&A, Basic Pension, and Housebound Pension Rates

VA aid & attendance - rate update - Jan 2021 If you or your loved one meets the Basic Pension requirements and the clinical and financial requirements, you should apply for the Aid and Attendance program.

If you have eligibility questions that aren’t answered here, visit our FAQ page or visit the VA website.