New Here. General Questions

Discussion in 'Eligibility Questions' started by Tracy0504, Mar 7, 2015.

  1. Tracy0504

    Tracy0504 Newbie

    Hi everyone.

    I'm new here, new to all of this, confused, etc. and can't find the answer to what I'm asking. Please help.

    My father is an Army Veteran who served in the Korean War for 2 years. He is 86.

    My mother is 85, broke her pelvis a month ago and has been in a nursing home "temporarily" for rehabilitation since early Feb. She's (thank God) recovering slowly but it's looking like when she's completed therapy, she will most likely be going to a permanent personal care home or assisted living. There's no way my Dad can take care of her. He's in frail health himself (he can still drive, do minor day to day tasks but it's not easy for him). I live in another state (doing whatever I can to figure out how I can move back to take care of my parents).

    My Dad receives NO veterans benefits. From looking at the info on this site, I discovered that the gov't considers wartime veterans "disabled" if they are over 65.

    This is where I get lost.

    I have all the info regarding filing for the Aid and Attendance (A&A) Pension, what forms are needed, etc. What I'm not able to figure out:

    1) Is the AA benefit ONLY for him and not applicable to my mother? She is the one who cannot dress, bathe, care for herself. He's able to care for himself but barely -- and it's not getting any better. He's most likely going to need to be in assisted living in the next few years as well.

    2) If my mother's present condition "qualifies," as far as the AA benefit is concerned, is it only if he's deceased?

    3) Am I completely barking up the wrong tree, or going after the wrong Veterans Benefit since he's 86 and hasn't received ANY VA benefits EVER? I mean, should he/we be applying for something else instead?

    Much thanks in advance.
  2. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member


    You are not barking up the wrong tree, but think you need a better understanding of this pension.

    The age 65 classification of "disabled" is only for VA purposes, and essentially means the veteran is "eligible" for the "Basic" level of Improved Pension, which consists of "Basic", "Housebound", and "Aid and Attendance".

    It does not matter that your Dad has never filed for any benefits from the VA.

    In your Dad's situation, he could only file for A&A if Mom's care expenses completely deplete their combined monthly incomes being that he currently himself does not require assistance. In this case he would file as a veteran with ill spouse.

    Mom would have to actually receiving services either in the home or facility care before making applicaiton.

    The spouse benefits when both the veteran and spouse require assistance, or as the widow/widower surviving spouse.
  3. Tracy0504

    Tracy0504 Newbie

    I thought since he was over 65 and a veteran of war, he was eligible for at least some kind of pension or benefit. He receives nothing and they're on a fixed income.

    I completely misunderstood everything I've been reading on this site. :(
  4. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    He is eligible, but there is criteria that has to be met for the pension. Being eligible, and meeting the requirements are two different things.

    If their combined income for the month was below $1406.00, he could file for the "Basic" level to be brought up to that threshold as there is no requirement for assistance with daily living at the "Basic" level, which is the same amount of the award for a vet with ill spouse.

    The Basic level is really geared towards low income vet or veterans with spouse.

    The VA's wording is very confusing when they state the veteran must be totally disabled to be eligible, when in fact they are considered such by the VA at the age of 65, which is the "qualifyer".
  5. Tracy0504

    Tracy0504 Newbie

    Thank you, thank you for explaining this.
  6. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    You're welcome.
  7. vacc98

    vacc98 Newbie

    I also new here as well, and I want to apologize in advance, if this is long, I am very upset. My father is vet, but was only in the service a short time, 1942-1943, when his ear drums ruptured on the firing range, and he was honorably discharged. He has never collected any kind of benefits from the VA, and I am wondering if he is eligible. From what I have read I believe he is. My parents are 93 years old, and are still able to live in their own home. I don't think either one could live by themselves, but together, they are a unit. My mother fell a couple of weeks ago and broke her leg in 3 places. She had to go to rehab, and they allowed my dad to stay with her. But now that she is home, in a non weight bearing cast, he is the one responsible as her main care giver. I try and be over there everyday, but cannot be there 24 hours a day, our local Chapter of Council on Aging just informed me they can provide 2 hours a day. That may not be enough. I have read that they can receive home care, which in reality I think they both need. I have also read that applicants over 90 get priority. I don't want that to be an issue, because I believe many of our younger vets need as much assistance as my parents do. I just don't know exactly what to do, or where to start. They are on a fixed income, and I cannot afford private nursing for them. Any assistance and guidance anyone can provide would be greatly appreciated!
  8. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member


    Eligibility would be determined by his dates of service falling under an Approved Period of War. You can find those dates on the website.

    The bigger issue here is that they are not paying anyone to act as their caregiver, and no outside services are coming. They would have to be paying someone in order to demonstrate a financial need for this pension to help pay for care.
  9. vacc98

    vacc98 Newbie

    Thank you for the reply.... his service dates do quality him... regarding the issue about them paying someone, I completely understand what you are saying, and I guess here is where the issue will be. They do have medicare, and they pay over $500.00 mth for their part D - insurance. Living on a fixed income, unfortunately does not leave a lot of extra to pay for anyone to come in. The reason my father was in the service for such a short time, he was out on the firing range, and when all the guns went off, it ruptured both of his eardrums. He was sent to the infirmary for 7 days, and then directly back out to the firing range again, when the guns went off, both ears started bleeding again, and this time causing irreversible damage. He was Honorably Discharged a short time later, but VA has never paid for a hearing aid, surgeries... anything. He has never asked for a dime from the VA. I really appreciate your reply, at least I know what I will be up against. Thank You again. :)
  10. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    Your Dad should have filed a claim for disability for the damage to his ears.

    I understand not having enough to pay for that outside care, but they have to have care expenses to show a need for the pension.
  11. vacc98

    vacc98 Newbie

    I totally agree! He did try and get help with his hearing aids when they lived in Florida, however he was denied, being told that they could not prove that being on the firing range and having the blood pouring out of his ears was enough evidence that the Army was responsible. He was so humbled by the whole situation, he refused to try again. :(
  12. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    Sad to hear that, but if they had to medically discharge him, there is a record of it somewhere. After all this time, it may be more of a hassle to fight for it.

    If their needs become such that you have to bring services in, or they pay you or another family member, you will want to move forward with application.

    I do highly suggest that you look at the list of necessary documents needed and pull those together to have on-hand rather than having to hunt them up during a crisis situation.
  13. vacc98

    vacc98 Newbie

    Thank you! where do I find those? I am not even sure what I am filing for....
  14. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

  15. TNCAT1

    TNCAT1 Newbie

    Thanks for this useful information. I am new to the A&A program as well...but my brother (Vietnam veteran) and I have been trying to understand it and if our parents would be eligible. Dad is 91, WWII vet and Mom is 86 and disabled. I think they would meet all the requirements (from what I've read). However, they are not currently receiving in home care on a daily basis. The way it is going, they will be needing this type of care but It appears that they will have to have that in place before applying? Is the A&A a reimbursement basis payment? I have printed out the application forms and will review all of them to help understand. Also, we have a great VA Benefit guy in our County who helps all Veterans with benefits. Glad I found this site and forum.
  16. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    Services do have to be in place at the time of application as you cannot claim anticipated expenses. The VA counts expenses for care from the date of application.
  17. OldHippy

    OldHippy Newbie

    It really amazes me at how so many Vets, have no idea how their benefits work and how to apply. I have been on a Pension for around 8 years, some off and on due to income ups and downs. I applied for A&A June 2014 when my VA Doc said I should and he filled the form out. I sent it to The Pension Mgmt. Bureau in Philly.. After 60 days of nothing, Call Senator BAM, approved in less than 30 days for A & A. Jan. 2015 I get a call from Philly, said I can get reimbursed for my daughter having to take care of me, He sent me the appropriate forms, Now been waiting 7 months for that money but it will be a larger lump sum for the longer they delay. I pay my daughter $500.00 month to tend to my needs and I should get most of that added to my current pension, along with other out of pocket med. expenses. I highly recommend the "ebenefits" website and forget lawyers, CALL YOUR CONGRESSMAN. They really do not like when a letter or phone call from Congress comes in. I am new to this site, will try to help in any way I can. I have definitely been through the BS with the VA. The medical is the hardest part for me. Trtying to get anywhere with the VA Hosp. in Dublin, Ga. is like pulling teeth, and I haven't got any. I have a GREAT Primary Doc. but the bureaucracy that F's up everything else. Most employees could care less about a Vet. just loving that killer job and benefits. The pharm. is well, I will leave that one alone. Someone from there might read this and my meds will be late for months. PURE EVIL. well i'll get out of here now. PS: LOVE the open letter. mind if I make copies and post at The Carl Vinson VA Med. Center?? Good Luck to All, SEABEE CAN DO!!
  18. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    This site and forums deal strictly with the need for A&A, so many here don't have the same issues regarding compensation or medical services through the VA.

    We know all too well the challenges that can be faced in dealing with them. Glad you called you Senator and they were able to help. As a suggestion, I would not wait much longer before making that call again on the accrued monies owed you.

    Thank you for the compliment on the "Open Letter to the VA", and please feel free to share wherever you chose.

    Your service to our country is greatly appreciated OldHippy, and I thank you for stepping up!

  19. Great suggestion!
    Kaylin likes this.

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