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Veteran's Benefits

The Department of Veterans Affairs or the VA offers a monthly benefit through their Veterans Pension and for Survivors Pension for their spouses to all US military veterans and their spouses after the Veteran has passed.

To qualify for a VA Pension, the Veteran must have a minimum of 90 days of active duty and have at least 1 of those days be during wartime.  Have a financial need of an income that falls below a yearly limit set by Congress.  Further, they must meet at least one of the following:

  • Be 65 or older with no or limited income.
  • Be partially or fully disabled.
  • Be a nursing home patient.
  • Be receiving SSI - Supplemental Security Income
  • Be receiving SSDI- Social Security Disability Insurance.

There are other benefits based on need and whether the Veteran is in their own home or in a nursing home.

Aid & Attendance

When the person who is eligible to receive a VA pension requires the assistance of another need the attendance of another person, they may be eligible for an additional monthly supplement.

To qualify for Aid and Attendance, the person must have had their 90 days of active duty with at least one day during wartime and they must have a medical requirement of at least one of the following:

  • Need Assistance with Performing Daily Activities
  • Are Bedridden Due to an Illness
  • Reside in a Senior Living Facility
  • Have Extremely Limited Eyesight

Housebound Benefits

To be housebound, the person is confined to their immediate home and unable to leave unless to receive medical assistance or doctor's appointments. They may also be only able to leave the home with the assistance of another person.

A Person cannot received Housebound Benefits at the same time that they are receiving Aid and Attendance Benefits.

Levels of Care

Note that when it comes to communities for seniors, the VA considers assisted living communities and nursing homes to be the same thing.  So, in most states, residents of an assisted living community would be considered for VA Benefits.

Independent Living:  Aid & Attendance cannot typically be used to pay for living in one of these communities.  However, it may be used to pay for personal care provided.

Assisted Living:  If a patient meets the clinical requirements for Aid and Attendance and the Assisted Living Community provides the personal care needs, they can be used to help pay.

Memory Care:  Most residents who need to reside in a memory care community qualify for Aid & Attendance clinically as a result of their dementia diagnosis.

Residential Care Homes:  As with assisted living, Aid & Attendance works well to help pay for residential care homes but typically only if the home is licensed by the state.

Nursing Homes:  Aid & Attendance can be used to help pay for a nursing home.  However, if the applicant is on the verge of qualifying for Medicaid, it may be best to simply use Medicaid.  However, if you are just able to afford private pay, the Aid & Attendance can help.

Adult Day Care:  Usually the amount paid for adult daycare can be subtracted from the countable income when applying for Homebound or Aid and Attendance.

War Time Service

The basic requirement is at least 90 days of active service, with at least one day during wartime.  This does not require that the person has served in actual combat, they could have held a stateside desk job during wartime.

Dates Considered being war Time

  • World War II:  12.07.1941 to 12.31.1946
  • Korean Conflict:  06.27.1950 to 01.31.1955
  • Vietnam War:  08.05.1964 to 05.07.1975*
  • Gulf War: 08.02.1990 to yet to be determined date**
  • Mexican Border War:  05.09.1916 to 04.05.1917
  • World War I:  04.06.1917 to 11.11.1918***

* Vietnam:  If a person served in Vietnam from 02.28.1961 to 08.05.1964, they may still qualify.

**Gulf War:  The Iraq and Afghanistan War have not been declared wartime by the US Congress, but some totally disabled veterans of these wars may qualify.

*** If you served in the Soviet Union after 11.11.1918 to 07.02.1921, may qualify.

Financial Eligibility


To be eligible financially, the person must have a countable income below the threshold set by Congress.

Countable Income includes income from disability and retirement plans, interest and dividends from annuities, net income from farming or a business, and will include income from eligible dependants.

When determining financial eligibility, there are some unreimbursed medical expenses that will reduce your countable income


As a general rule of thumb, an applicant can have up to $80,000 in assets outside of the house they live in and the car they drive.  If an applicant has more than $80,000 in liquid assets, cash savings, stocks, or a 401(k), they will typically be denied eligibility. However, if they have less than $80,000, it does not necessarily mean they will be approved.

The Home

When a VA Eligible applicant moves to a senior community, their house goes from being an excluded asset, unless their spouse is still residing in the home, so most homeowners who receive Aid & Attendance funds and then move to a senior community, will have to sell their home.

Getting Assistance with VA Banefits is a valuable resource when for those applying for Aid and Attendance benefits.

Veterans’ organizations like the VFW, American Legion and DAV (Disabled American Veterans) may be able to provide information about the benefit as well as free assistance in preparing an application.

Other Resources

  • Veterans Health Guide (a download)
  • Missouri Benefits & Resource Guide (a download)

We also have local experts who can help you with your VA Benefits.  If you would like a referral, just reach out through the orange button below.